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Loek van Mil, believed to be the tallest professional baseball player ever at 7-foot-1, dies at 34

Loek van Mil, believed to be the tallest professional baseball player ever at 7-foot-1, dies aged 34 – eight months after hitting his head on rocks while hiking

  • Dutch pitcher Loek van Mil, believed to be the tallest baseball player ever at 7foot1, has died from injuries he sustained while hiking in Australia in December
  • A spokesman for the Dutch baseball federation told media that there will be no further explanation about the cause of death ‘at the request of the family’
  • Van Mil had been hiking alone when fell onto some rocks and fractured his skull
  • He was left unconscious for 24 hours before being discovered by another hiker
  • Van Mil was found to be suffering from a fractured skull, bleeding of the brain, a ruptured ear drum and four hemorrhages when he was taken to the hospital  
  • Brisbane Bandits chief executive Mark Ready told reporters after the accident that van Mil was ‘talking and managed a smile and a joke’
  • Van Mil reportedly made two appearances for Brisbane after the fall 
  • Van Mil never reached the majors, but did play in the minors for 10 seasons 
  • In addition to pitching for the Dutch in the World Baseball Classic, van Mil also played professionally in Japan and Australia 

Dutch pitcher Loek van Mil, believed to be the tallest professional baseball player ever at 7-foot-1, has died from injuries he sustained while hiking in Australia last December.

The Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association (Koninklijke Nederlandse Baseball en Softball Bond) announced the news on Monday. Van Mil was 34.

‘The KNBSB  is very grateful to Mil for what he has done in his career for Dutch baseball and wishes the surviving relatives strength to cope with this major loss,’ the association said in the statement.

Tjerk Smeets, a director for the KNBSB association, told Dutch media that there will be no further explanation about the cause of death ‘at the request of the family.’

He never reached the Major Leagues, but did play 10 minor league seasons for affiliates of the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels, Cleveland Indians, and Cincinnati Reds. 

Van Mil had been hiking alone near Canberra, Australia last December when he fell onto some rocks and suffered a significant head injury, according to multiple reports. He was left unconscious for 24 hours before being discovered by another hiker, who drove the disoriented right-hander to the hospital. 

His exact cause of death has not been reported publicly. Van Mil had recently retired, but was moving towards recovery, according to USA Today. Remarkably, van Mil even returned to pitch 4 2/3 innings over two playoff games in January, according to MLB.com. 

Mil never reached the Major Leagues, but did play 10 minor league seasons for affiliates of the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels, Cleveland Indians, and Cincinnati Reds 

When he was taken to the hospital in December, Van Mil was found to be suffering from a fractured skull, bleeding of the brain, a ruptured ear drum and four hemorrhages.  

He made 48 international appearances for the Netherlands and appeared in the 2007 Baseball World Cup as well as the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017

He made 48 international appearances for the Netherlands and appeared in the 2007 Baseball World Cup as well as the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017

‘He lay unconscious for 24 hours in bushland until he was found by a hiker,’ Brisbane Bandits chief executive Mark Ready was quoted as saying in December. ‘But he has gone from gravely injured to critical but stable. He’s talking and managed a smile and a joke today.’  

Along with former Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Ryan Doherty, van Mil is believed to be the tallest player in baseball history.

Van Mil pitched professionally in Japan before signing with Adelaide Bite of the Australian Baseball League in 2016 and, in 2018, the Brisbane Bandits. 

He made 48 international appearances for the Netherlands and appeared in the 2007 Baseball World Cup as well as the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017.

The closer helped the Dutch win a European title in 2016.

He retired with an impressive 3.12 earned-run average over 516 1/3 innings pitched. 

Van Mil (right) made 48 international appearances for the Netherlands and appeared in the 2007 Baseball World Cup as well as the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017. The closer helped the Dutch win a European title in 2016. He retired with an impressive 3.12 earned-run average over 516 1/3 innings pitched

Van Mil (right) made 48 international appearances for the Netherlands and appeared in the 2007 Baseball World Cup as well as the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017. The closer helped the Dutch win a European title in 2016. He retired with an impressive 3.12 earned-run average over 516 1/3 innings pitched

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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