Former major leaguer Jim Piersall, who had a public battle with bipolar disorder during his MLB career, passed away Saturday after a long illness. He was 87.
While playing for the Red Sox organization in 1952, Piersall was admitted to a mental health facility after a nervous breakdown. He underwent treatment and counseling and was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He returned to the Red Sox the next season and went public with his issues to help combat the public's perception of mental illness. He later detailed his highly publicized struggles in his book "Fear Strikes Out," which was later made into a movie starring Anthony Perkins.
One of the most notable moments in Piersall's career was when he hit his 100th homer and celebrated the milestone in fashion, circling the bases (in order) while running backwards.
Piersall played eight of his 17 major-league seasons for the Boston Red Sox and was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2010. He also played for the Cleveland Indians (1959-61), Washington Senators (1962-63), New York Mets (1963) and Los Angeles/California Angels (1963-67).
A two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner, Piersall finished his career with a lifetime .272 batting average, 104 home runs and 591 RBI. He still holds the Red Sox club record for most hits in a nine-inning game, as he went 6-for-6 against the St. Louis Browns on June 10, 1953.