Former major league outfielder Jimmy Piersall, who battled mental health issues throughout his 17-year career, died Saturday at the age of 87.
Piersall died at a care facility in Wheaton, Ill, according to the Boston Red Sox. He had been battling an illness for multiple months.
Piersall was a two-time All-Star with the Red Sox (1950, 1952-58) and also played for the Cleveland Indians (1959-61), Washington Senators (1962-63), New York Mets (1963) and California Angels (1963-67).
His mental health issues first came to light in 1952 when he suffered a nervous breakdown. Piersall's autobiography "Fear Strikes Out" was published in 1955 and made into a movie in 1957.
Piersall was doing unusual things on the field after reaching the majors, like making pig noises in a game against the St. Louis Browns and mocking the throwing motion of legendary Satchel Paige.
He once got into a fistfight with New York Yankees second baseman Billy Martin. Shortly after it concluded, he began fighting a teammate.
His high level of arguing with umpires also was a sight to see.
"Almost everybody except the umpires and the Red Sox thought I was a riot," Piersall wrote in the 1955 autobiography, later made into a movie starring Anthony Perkins and Karl Malden. "My wife knew I was sick, yet she was helpless to stop my mad rush towards a mental collapse. The Red Sox couldn't figure out how to handle me. I was a problem child."
After being admitted to a mental hospital, Piersall was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Even after the diagnosis, Piersall still did wacky things.
As a member of the Senators in 1962, he was arrested after going into the stands to confront a heckler.
The following season, Piersall hit his 100th career homer as a member of the Mets and ran the bases backward.
Piersall finished his career with a .272 career average with 104 homers and 115 stolen bases. He was considered one of the top defensive outfielders of his era.