FEBRUARY 10: The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner/Coroner’s Office has ruled Giambi’s death a suicide, reports Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to the M.E.’s Office, he died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Barry Zito, Giambi’s former teammate in Oakland, told the Chronicle Giambi was “an incredibly loving human being with a very soft heart and it was evident to us as his teammates that he had some deeper battles going on. I hope this can be a wake-up call for people out there to not go at it alone and for families and friends to trust their intuition when they feel somebody close to them needs help. God bless Jeremy and his family in this difficult time.”
FEBRUARY 9: Former major league outfielder Jeremy Giambi passed away today, agent Joel Wolfe informed reporters (including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). He was 47 years old.
Giambi began his professional career in 1996, when the Royals selected him out of Cal State Fullerton. The lefty-hitting outfielder reached the big leagues as a September call-up just two years later. After appearing in 18 games down the stretch, he ranked among Baseball America’s top 100 prospects entering the 1999 season. Giambi played in a bit more than half of Kansas City’s games that year. That offseason, the A’s — for whom his older brother Jason Giambi was already an established star — acquired him in a deal that sent Brett Laxton to Kansas City.
The younger Giambi would spend the next two and a half seasons in Oakland, developing into a productive hitter. After putting up league average offensive numbers in 2000, the California native emerged as a key on-base threat by 2001. He hit .283/.391/.450 over 443 plate appearances that year, then began the following season with a .274/.390/.471 showing. Midway through the year, he was dealt to the Phillies for John Mabry. Giambi continued to produce in Philadelphia, posting a .244/.435/.538 mark with the Phils.
Philadelphia traded Giambi to the Red Sox over the 2002-03 offseason. He appeared in 50 games with Boston the following season, though his numbers dipped to a .197/.342/.354 line. That proved to be his final big league experience, as subsequent stints in the Dodgers and White Sox farm systems didn’t result in another MLB look.
Giambi is likely best remembered for his run with the A’s. The Oakland organization released a statement (via Twitter): We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of a member of our Green and Gold family, Jeremy Giambi. We offer our condolences to Jeanne, Jason, and his family and friends. MLBTR joins countless others around the game in sending our condolences to Giambi’s family, friends, former teammates and loved ones.