In baseball terms, when a prospect’s stock begins to drop, he is referred to as a “flame out”. On Thursday, that term took on a sad and callous meaning when Michael Nolan, a pitching prospect in the Oakland A’s organization lost his life one month after being shot in the head in the New York City suburb of Yonkers.
Nolan, an 18th-round draft pick of the Oakland A’s in 2014 out of Oklahoma City University, was standing in the parking lot outside a local Burger King when a driver pulled out a gun and repeatedly shot the touted pitching prospect multiple times in the head and arm. WCBS-TV in New York reports that investigators believe the altercation was spurred on by a drag race.
Since the September 18th incident, Nolan had spent three weeks in Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx where doctors and specialists placed him in a medically induced coma. Nolan was officially declared brain-dead on Thursday afternoon, ending his career before it could get off the ground.
Upon learning the news and details his death, the Oakland A’s and general manager David Frost tweeted a statement of condolence towards Nolan and his family, expressing their thoughts, prayers, and sorrow.
The Oakland A’s today made the following statement regarding the passing of former draft pick Michael Nolan. pic.twitter.com/8zgjsQdXOJ
— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) October 8, 2015
The 23-year-old Nolan had previously been placed on the organization’s restricted list after being drafted citing eventual plans to retire and take a job closer to home. During his junior season at Oklahoma City University in 2014, the six-foot seven-inch southpaw compiled a 5-3 record, a 3.32 earned run average, and four complete games in 76 innings of work.
Despite initial plans to retire, Nolan’s dad stated that his son was in the midst of attempting a possible comeback after Tommy John Surgery. At the present time the shooting suspect remains at large and no arrests have made in connection with the tragedy. At a time where words such as “survival” and “death” serve as semantics for an end on the field, this tragedy like so many remind us one again remind us of the fragility of those statements and most importantly human life.