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Thomas J "Tommy" Hanson[1] (August 28, 1986 – November 9, 2015) was a Major League Baseball starting pitcher. Hanson was considered by Baseball America to be the top prospect in the Braves farm system going into the 2009 season. That was affirmed by Minor League News, which tapped Hanson as the number one prospect to mid-season in the MLN FAB50 Baseball 2009 rankings.[2] He was called up to the majors on June 3, 2009.[3]

Early life

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After moving to California at a very young age, Hanson graduated from Redlands East Valley High School in June 2004, electing to continue his post-secondary education at Riverside Community College. He played for the Corvallis Knights in the West Coast League, an independent summer collegiate baseball league. In 2005, he was selected in the 22nd round (677th overall pick) by the Atlanta Braves as a draft-and-follow pick.[4]

Minor league career

The following year, in 2006, Hanson began playing for the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League. In Danville, he began the season as the league's fourth-best prospect according to Baseball America. That season, Hanson ended up starting Game 2 of the Appalachian League Championship Series, finishing the season 4-1 with three wins coming in relief.[5] He also had a 2.09 ERA with a 0.99 WHIP.[6]


Before the 2007 season began, Hanson was named the best pitching prospect in the South Atlantic League and the ninth-best prospect in the Braves system.[7] Hanson began the 2007 season in Class A, playing for the Rome Braves. When in Rome, Hanson amassed a 2-6 record with a 2.59 ERA in 14 starts (and one relief appearance). Midway through the season, Hanson was called up to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, also a Class A team for the Atlanta Braves. He ended up finishing the season at 3-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 11 starts.


Hanson began the 2008 season in Myrtle Beach. In his first start, Hanson pitched five no-hit innings and recorded a then career-best 13 strikeouts (later broken in Double-A that year). Over his seven starts with the Pelicans, he allowed 15 hits in 40 innings. That stat, along with his 3-1 record and 0.90 ERA, earned him a promotion to the Braves' Double-A affiliate, the Mississippi Braves. At Mississippi, Hanson threw a no-hitter in his ninth start while also setting a new career high for strikeouts with 14. Hanson finished the 2008 season with Mississippi. He finished 8-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 18 starts. Following the Minor League season, Hanson won the MiLBY for Class A Advanced Single Game Performance. He won this award for his performance with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.[8] Hanson was named the Atlanta Braves Pitcher of the Year and also placed on Baseball America's Minor League Team of the Year.[9] Hanson was invited to the Arizona Fall League to showcase his pitching. He compiled a 5-0 record with a 0.63 ERA while racking up 49 strikeouts in 28.2 innings. Hanson was named the Arizona Fall League's MVP, the first pitcher to receive this award.[10]


In the 2008 offseason, the Atlanta Braves were one of multiple teams that were interested in trading for San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy. Hanson's name was mentioned throughout the proceedings, but a trade for Peavy did not take place.[11] Hanson began the 2009 season with the Braves' Triple-A affiliate, the Gwinnett Braves. [6] He was named the number one prospect in MiLB by Minor League News in the MLN FAB50 Baseball 2009 rankings.

Major league career

2009: Rookie Year

Hanson was called up by the Atlanta Braves on June 3, 2009 after the team cut Tom Glavine.[12] He made his debut on June 7, 2009 against the Milwaukee Brewers, pitching 6 innings, striking out 5, giving up 6 earned runs, 3 home runs, and receiving a no decision.[13] He gave up two home runs to Ryan Braun, the first being the first hit allowed in Hanson’s major league career.[1]

File:Tommy Hanson.jpg

Hanson with the Braves in 2009.

On June 12, 2009, Hanson earned his first win against the Baltimore Orioles.[14] On June 28, 2009, he threw six scoreless innings against the Boston Red Sox, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks to improve his career major league record to 4-0 and lowered his ERA to 2.48. In his first 4 major league victories, his combined ERA was 0.78. At one point in the season he had thrown 22 consecutive shutout innings and also became the first National League rookie pitcher to win consecutive starts against the Yankees and the Red Sox. For his efforts, Hanson was named June's NL Rookie of the Month. In his final 10 starts, Hanson pitched 60.2 innings and allowed just 17 earned runs in that span. Hanson finished third in voting for the National League Rookie of the Year award.


As of August 16, 2010 Hanson is 8-8 with a 3.51 ERA and 134 strikeouts [15]

Pitching style

A tall right-hander with great mound presence, Hanson has four main pitches: a mid-90s fastball with good movement, an above-average changeup, an effective slider, as well as a 12-6 curveball which is his best pitch. His curveball is one of the best in the majors and frequently draws called 3rd strikes. His slider, Hanson throws it like a fastball aiming for the middle of the plate with a different grip and lets the pitch break over the outside corner, he gets strikeouts with every pitch. However, Hanson has also had some control issues in the past.


On November 9, 2015, Hanson died at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, after falling into a coma with catastrophic organ failure.


  1. Rasmussen, Patty (2009-09-02). ChopTalk: Talking with Tommy Hanson. Retrieved on 2010-07-31.
  2. Bump, Lary. MLN FAB50 Baseball 2009 Rankings. Retrieved on 2009-07-15.
  3. Ballew, Bill. Prospects: Rankings: Organization Top 10 Prospects: Atlanta Braves Top 10 Prospects. Retrieved on 2008-12-26.
  4. 2005 First-Year Player Draft Tracker. Major League Baseball. Retrieved on 2008-12-26.
  5. Roster. Retrieved on 2008-12-26.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Who is Braves Prospect Tommy Hanson?. (2008-11-16). Retrieved on 2008-12-29.
  7. Minor League Baseball: Stats: Player. Retrieved on 2008-12-26.
  8. By Lisa Winston / Hits hard to come by against Hanson | News. Retrieved on 2008-12-26.
  9. Riverside Community College — The Official Athletic Site. Retrieved on 2008-12-26.
  10. Who Is Braves Prospect Tommy Hanson? | Bleacher Report. (November 16, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-12-26.
  11. Dierkes, Tim. Tommy Hanson Rumors: MLB Rumors — Retrieved on 2008-12-26.
  12. Hanson to make Braves debut
  13. Hanson's debut marred by long balls
  14. Hanson dodges trouble to notch first win Retrieved 2009-6-12
  15. Tommy Hanson Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights

External links

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