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Monday, October 07, 2019

‘I was OK with not living’: What happens when an All-Star pitcher suffers from depression

Danny Graves knew how he ended up on the side of the road, but he couldn’t answer why.

Graves was only four years removed from signing a three-year, $17.25 million contract extension with the Cincinnati Reds. Three years earlier, he had made his second All-Star team.

Now, none of the 30 Major League Baseball teams would give him a spot in their organizations.

Here he was: 30 pounds overweight and living paycheck to paycheck making $2,000 a month in an independent league. He was recently divorced. He was drinking heavily after games, doing recreational drugs and addicted to sleeping pills. He was battling depression and anxiety.

The money he had made from his playing days was long gone. He once owned an 11,000-square-foot house, eight cars and a couple of motorcycles. But by the time he waspitching for the Long Island Ducks in 2007, Graves had hit rock bottom.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 07:53 AM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: danny graves

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   1. ajnrules Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:22 PM (#5887361)
What a harrowing article. It seems like we have to many of these tales of former ballplayers grasping with depression and anxiety while self-medicating with alcohol. I'm glad things turned out well for Danny Graves, but too often we see players end up like Ryan Freel or Enzo Hernandez. I hope the stigma of mental illness is going down so that players can seek the help they need.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:26 PM (#5887362)
Graves was only four years removed from signing a three-year, $17.25 million contract extension

Here he was: 30 pounds overweight and living paycheck to paycheck making $2,000 a month in an independent league.

Man, how do you blow that much money in four years?
   3. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5887364)
I'll now read this after reading about 'What happened to Fred Osborne?' an 1890s player who pretty much vanished after a pot of coffee or so during one season in (NL) Pittsburgh, and died in a Mental asylum. (in an effort to credit this reference, I think this was in The Hardball Times). recently).
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 01:34 PM (#5887368)
Man, how do you blow that much money in four years?
From TFA, what is implied to be a messy divorce was a major factor.
   5. The Good Face Posted: October 07, 2019 at 02:19 PM (#5887403)
Man, how do you blow that much money in four years?


11k square foot house. 8 cars. 2 motorcycles. A divorce. Throw in booze/drugs and the bad decisions that come along with them, and it's not hard to see how it happened.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 02:28 PM (#5887407)
11k square foot house.

That doesn't depreciate very rapidly. If he had spent $10M on a house, he'd be in damn good shape, beacuse odds are it's still worth at least $7M.

As Brewster's millions showed, it's hard to blow millions of dollars without accumulating assets.
   7. The Good Face Posted: October 07, 2019 at 02:41 PM (#5887414)
11k square foot house.

That doesn't depreciate very rapidly. If he had spent $10M on a house, he'd be in damn good shape, beacuse odds are it's still worth at least $7M.

As Brewster's millions showed, it's hard to blow millions of dollars without accumulating assets.


Depends when and where he bought it. History has shown us that professional athletes on average don't tend to make great real estate investments.

Anyway, figure he made roughly $24M over his pitching career. Figure approximately half of that went to the tax man, his agent, etc. $12M is a lot of money IF you invest prudently and spend carefully. But it doesn't sound like he did either of things. 8 cars? And I'm pretty confident they weren't a fleet of Toyota Corollas. Throw in a messy divorce and a drug habit and that money goes quick.

Also remember that young men with millions can blow through money ridiculously fast. Lavish vacations. Jewelry. Nights out on the town with buddies. Gambling. Drugs. Women. And perhaps the most dangerous, "investment opportunities" from friends and hangers on.
   8. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 02:50 PM (#5887417)
Very good article and well worth a read.

I hope that teams do a better job today with players suffering from these type of issues. Choosing a psychiatrist can be a very personal decision, but MLB/teams/MLBPA should make sure someone who is getting mental health treatment finds a competent doctor and continues taking his medication after he moves teams/cities.

11k square foot house. 8 cars. 2 motorcycles. A divorce. Throw in booze/drugs and the bad decisions that come along with them, and it's not hard to see how it happened.

Yep, child support on 3 kids based on his prior salary, plus it was 2007 so everything they owned had probably taken a nosedive in value. It sounds like his ex-wife and kids were living in the house so even if it had retained its value he couldn't easily monetize it. (Not clear whether the house was in Cinci or Florida from TFA. If the latter it was probably expensive and had lost a lot of its value.)
   9. . Posted: October 07, 2019 at 02:53 PM (#5887420)
Man, how do you blow that much money in four years?


Wide swaths of these guys aren't equipped or socialized to be able to handle this kind of money, which we should always keep in mind when whining about the players not getting a big enough cut of the pie. Better to have libraries and charities and hospitals and museums endowed than things like strippers and Lamborghini dealers.
   10. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:00 PM (#5887424)
I have it on good authority that getting over depression is easy as pie. Just take a nice walk.
   11. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:25 PM (#5887447)
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:32 PM (#5887453)

That doesn't depreciate very rapidly. If he had spent $10M on a house, he'd be in damn good shape, beacuse odds are it's still worth at least $7M.


He sold his $10 million house for $3.25M according to this site

The market for mansions like that is so limited, plus it seems like ballplayers customize it silly add-ons like bowling alley and shooting ranges. IIRC, Brad Penny had a mansion in an exurb in KC that sat for years because how many people in KC want a $7-10M mansion in a rural area that has an indoor shooting range?
   13. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:40 PM (#5887456)
Cal Ripken's house near Baltimore that could only conceivably be owned by another star Orioles player decreased in value by about 3/4 before it was finally bought by Adam Jones, shortly before he left the team.
   14. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:46 PM (#5887458)
I live on $100,000 a year. I'd know how the hell to make $12,000,000 last.
   15. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:50 PM (#5887461)

He sold his $10 million house for $3.25M according to this site


That site doesn't say he bought it for $10 million. I would find that price very hard to believe.

That being said, he is probably lucky to have sold it when he did, in July 2007 just as the housing crisis was getting underway. The current owners have been trying to sell it on-and-off for 4 years according to Zillow. The last listing was at $2.995 million while Zillow gives an estimated value of $2.04 million.
   16. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:55 PM (#5887463)
The $24 million he made throughout his MLB career, before taxes, was gone. After a messy divorce, and all the financial confusion that entailed, he was paying for a giant house that he didn't live in, cars he no longer drove and child support.

   17. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 07, 2019 at 03:55 PM (#5887465)
And he was addicted to multiple drugs. And the expectation as a MLBer is that you spend $1000 or $5000 on a night out like it is nothing.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 07, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5887480)
ow many people in KC want a $7-10M mansion in a rural area that has an indoor shooting range?
Eh, I doubt Aroldis Chapman will ever end up on the Royals.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 04:09 PM (#5887483)
The market for mansions like that is so limited, plus it seems like ballplayers customize it silly add-ons like bowling alley and shooting ranges. IIRC, Brad Penny had a mansion in an exurb in KC that sat for years because how many people in KC want a $7-10M mansion in a rural area that has an indoor shooting range?

You can't really buy a $10M mansion in a rural place to begin with. Houses that cost $10M+ do so because of the land cost.
   20. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 04:11 PM (#5887484)
Cal Ripken's house near Baltimore that could only conceivably be owned by another star Orioles player decreased in value by about 3/4 before it was finally bought by Adam Jones, shortly before he left the team.

It didn't lose 3/4 of its value, they had to drop 3/4 off the asking price but "the Ripken family...bought the land in 1984 and built the house in 1987. They didn't pay $12.5 million for it.

Real estate reporting is often very sloppy.
   21. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 04:44 PM (#5887499)

You can't really buy a $10M mansion in a rural place to begin with. Houses that cost $10M+ do so because of the land cost.

Right. I was looking at properties in the Cincinnati area online earlier and a 10,000 sq ft house that was obviously Barry Larkin's old home ("built by a former MLB Hall of Famer" and had some U of Michigan decorations in the photos) was valued at like $1.5-$2 million.

Orlando might be a bit more expensive but there are probably only a handful of completely over-the-top homes that you could buy for $10 million.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 04:49 PM (#5887501)
Right. I was looking at properties in the Cincinnati area online earlier and a 10,000 sq ft house that was obviously Barry Larkin's old home ("built by a former MLB Hall of Famer" and had some U of Michigan decorations in the photos) was valued at like $1.5-$2 million.

Orlando might be a bit more expensive but there are probably only a handful of completely over-the-top homes that you could buy for $10 million.


Well, the average cost per sq foot on new construction seems to be about $150. In a rural area it's not going to be more than average. So, if you can build the house for $1.5M and the land is cheap, your re-sale price is going to be capped.
   23. Zach Posted: October 07, 2019 at 05:15 PM (#5887531)
"Like, I could tell you what's happening. But I don't know if that would tell you what's happening."

Jeremy Davies, Solaris.

I suppose if you showed me the receipts, I could understand how that much money disappeared that quickly. But I still don't think I would understand how that much money disappeared that quickly.
   24. geonose Posted: October 07, 2019 at 05:58 PM (#5887554)
Brad Penny had a mansion in an exurb in KC that sat for years because how many people in KC want a $7-10M mansion in a rural area that has an indoor shooting range?

Brad Penny is not from Kansas City, was signed by the Royals in January 2014 and released less than two months later, during early spring training and before ever throwing a pitch for them, and he took the time and money to buy a $10M mansion in the area?

(On a side note, I have a cousin in the KC area who might be interested, if it's still available...)
   25. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 07, 2019 at 06:14 PM (#5887559)

Brad Penny is not from Kansas City, was signed by the Royals in January 2014 and released less than two months later, during early spring training and before ever throwing a pitch for them, and he took the time and money to buy a $10M mansion in the area?

This is another one where I doubt the $10 million number but for context:

Nevertheless, 2013 still proved to be an important year in his life, because Penny married a woman who grew up in Hays, Kan., and the couple settled in the Kansas City area in July. In September, he began working with Joe Potts at TopSpeed Strength and Conditioning in Lenexa.

   26. depletion Posted: October 07, 2019 at 11:01 PM (#5887741)
If he bought a $10M house outside Orlando - that's insane. It's hard to find a $10M house in Bethesda. The highest I've ever seen advertised was $15M and that was an over-the-top palace.
Also, no offense to anyone, but Danny Graves has been fairly lucky with his depression. For about 20% of us, the "cure" never comes. "Getting help" does not guarantee that said help works.
   27. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: October 08, 2019 at 07:22 AM (#5887816)
too often we see players end up like Ryan Freel or Enzo Hernandez

Poor Enzo; I had no idea. To me, he was just the guy with 12 RBI in 618 PA. It's not easy to get 122 hits and drive in only a dozen runs. (Then again, Luis Castillo managed only 17 ribbies on 180 hits in 2000!)
   28. ajnrules Posted: October 08, 2019 at 04:45 PM (#5888046)
I'll now read this after reading about 'What happened to Fred Osborne?' an 1890s player who pretty much vanished after a pot of coffee or so during one season in (NL) Pittsburgh, and died in a Mental asylum. (in an effort to credit this reference, I think this was in The Hardball Times). recently).

I read that article too! It was a harrowing look at the difficulties of life in the turn of the 20th century. Unfortunately he wasn't the only person to end up in a mental asylum due to tragic circumstances after their playing career ended. I know that was where John Clarkson ended up before he died of pneumonia in 1909. The practice of psychiatry has really come a long way in the past 110 years.
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: October 08, 2019 at 08:07 PM (#5888103)
Enzo Hernandez:

as a youngster, I was fascinated by the fervor with the PA announcer would triumphantly state: "NUMBER ELEVEN EN-ZO..... Hernandez!" as he reached the plate.

I think even as a kid, I knew he sucked.

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