Mark Foley

Jim Piersall, one of the first pro athletes to openly discuss mental illness, dies at 87

Jim Piersall, one of the first pro athletes to openly discuss mental illness, dies at 87

Former major leaguer Jim Piersall, who bared his soul about his struggles with mental illness in his book “Fear Strikes Out,” has died. He was 87.

Piersall died Saturday at a care facility in Wheaton, Ill., after a months-long illness, according to the Boston Red Sox, for whom Piersall played for seven of his 17 seasons in the majors.

Piersall's on-field antics when he first broke into the majors with the Red Sox full-time in 1952 cracked up fans and provided fodder for newspaper columnists. In one game against the St. Louis Browns, he made pig noises and mocked the odd throwing motion of aging Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige.

But Piersall also had furious arguments...

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