4 Red Sox players whose careers were impacted by mental health struggles

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Major League Baseball players are not insulated and immune from issues that plague far too many in society. Drug use, alcoholism, depression, etc. have a big impact on society, and some former Boston Red Sox players have been unfortunately affected.

As the years have gone by, the league has adapted to addressing the struggles of their employees. Support personnel and counseling are available, and MLB and MiLB have a network set up to help those in need.

Andrelton Simmons represents the new age of openness, and fans applaud his willingness to talk about depression and battle with suicidal thoughts.

As it pertains to the Red Sox in the modern era, Jarren Duran opened up about his issues with mental health, which was somewhat cryptic and had fans and management concerned about his well-being.

The Red Sox have a storied history, so there have been other instances of former players going through mental troubles.

4 Red Sox players whose careers were impacted by mental health struggles

Chick Stahl

The mystery surrounding the suicide of Chick Stahl has never been resolved and is drenched in speculation.

Stahl was part of the great intercity baseball diaspora in 1901 as the Boston Americans (Red Sox) pilfered players from the Boston Beaneaters (Braves). Stahl was among those who switched allegiance. The lefty-hitting outfielder was a talented all-around player with a skilled batting eye, above-average speed, and a sure-handed glove on defense. Stahl was part of the 1903 team that captured the first modern World Series, with his .303 average being part of that success.

Stahl knew the game and was appointed manager of the Red Sox when Jimmy Collins — a close friend — was suspended during the 1906 season. Stahl remained manager for the 1907 season and, in spring training, swallowed carbolic acid and died at 34 years of age.

Previously, Stahl had a previous failed suicide attempt that teammates stopped. It was unclear what drove him to such an act. Stahl was married yet was a "fun lover" and noted lothario, but it's unclear if that had any effect.

As a strange sidebar to Stahl's death, his widow died just over a year and a half later under bizarre circumstances.

Jim Piersall

The trail of personal destruction in the early career of Jim Piersall is rather extensive, eventually having Piersall committed to a state hospital for treatment. Piersall grew up during the Great Depression and his mother required regular inpatient treatment for her struggles with mental illness. He was diagnosed as manic depressive and underwent electroshock therapy in 1952 after suffering a "serious breakdown."

Fistfights with teammates and the opposition — especially Billy Martin — as well as suspensions were all part of the detritus in his wake.

The issues confronting Piersall are documented in a book and movie titled "Fear Strikes Out." Just how much dramatization took place is open for debate, but what is not is Piersall's treatment at a time when it was not so open.

Piersall was a defensive magician in the outfield, first in right field and then in center field. He was no gloveman with a rubber bat but a threat at the plate, especially at Fenway Park, where the left field wall was an inviting target for the right-handed hitting Piersall.

He was a two-time All-Star, a two-time Gold Glove winner, and a career .272 hitter. Piersall remained a baseball character throughout his MLB career, even running the bases backward after hitting his 100th career home run.

Roger Moret

In 1975, Moret went 14-3 with a 3.60 ERA. Moret combined for a 22-12 record as a starter and reliever the previous two seasons. He maintained an ERA in the 3.00s, and the youthful Moret appeared on the fast track for the Boston rotation.

In that 1975 season, Moret had the best winning percentage in the AL, but he also had a noted incident involving a car crash in which he suffered minor injuries. Moret was also displeased over not receiving a start in the 1975 World Series. A combination of issues may have facilitated trading Moret to the Atlanta Braves, and the pitcher left with a 41-18 record and 3.43 ERA. Then it fell apart.

The Braves traded Moret to the Rangers, and with Texas, his mental health issues surfaced. His teammates reported intense confrontations and near-fistfights, but there was never any concrete source of Moret's anger. In the Rangers locker room during the 1978 season, Moret was in an unresponsive catatonic state and was brought to a psychiatric facility and released after a week.

Moret returned briefly and then was out of MLB, never realizing his pitching potential despite several MLB attempts with the Rangers and Cleveland and two years in the Mexican League.

Tony Horton

Tony Horton would've been a terrific long-term addition to the Red Sox. Horton was what Red Sox fans dream about — a right-handed power hitter. It never happened, and by age 25, he had left baseball.

Horton arrived in Boston as a 19-year-old in 1964 and was overmatched, hitting just .222, but this was a dreadful period in Red Sox history, so Horton was back in 1965 when the team traded defensively deficient Dick Stuart. After a sojourn in the minors, Horton took over at first, hitting .294 and slamming seven home runs in 60 games.

In 1967, the Red Sox experienced a youthful logjam, and Horton was traded to the Indians for pitching. With the Tribe, Horton showed his power, slamming 68 home runs in almost four seasons, but emotionally, he was crumbling.

Horton was a perfectionist who took his failures personally, putting extreme pressure on himself. In 1972, he told the Indians he was unprepared to return and never did. The year prior during spring training, the team announced Horton would miss all of the 1971 campaign with an emotional disorder after being hospitalized since September of 1970. According to a Cleveland hotel owner during Horton's time with the Indians, the former player attempted suicide, which may have snowballed what happened in the following years.

Horton has never been open about the issues that caused him to forgo his baseball career. His post-baseball career has been one of accomplishment and peace of mind.

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