Loek van Mil, tallest pro baseball player ever, dies at 34

Loek van Mil, the 7-foot-1 Dutch pitcher who spent a decade in the minor leagues, died on Sunday at age 34. The Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association KNBSB announced Monday morning that van Mil died from a “fatal accident,” but would not release any additional details about his death at the request of his family.

The pro career of van Mil, a righty, started with the Minnesota Twins in 2006, and he made it up to Double-A in 2010. He was traded to the Los Angeles Angels in 2010, and spent time with the Cleveland Indians in 2012 and the Cincinnati Reds in 2013.

Van Mil spent a year with Japan’s Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2014, and in 2015 played for Curaçao Neptunus Rotterdam, a team in the Dutch Honkbal Hoofdklasse — the highest level of pro baseball in the Netherlands. He got one more try in American baseball, signing with the Twins in August 2015, but was released from the Twins’ Triple-A team the following April. Van Mil spent the next two years pitching in Australia’s pro baseball league, and also spent time pitching for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017.

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Loek Van Mil, tallest player in pro baseball history
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Loek Van Mil, tallest player in pro baseball history
TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 08: Pitcher Loek Van Mil # 51 of Netherlands and his team mates celebrate victory over Cuba in the World Baseball Classic Second Round Pool 1 game between the Netherlands and Cuba at Tokyo Dome on March 8, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
TAICHUNG, TAIWAN - MARCH 05: Loek Van Mil of Netherlands reacts after victory against Australia during the World Baseball Classic First Round Group B match between Australia and the Netherlands at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on March 5, 2013 in Taichung, Taiwan. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 08: Pitcher Loek Van Mil #51 of the Netherlands pitchers during the World Baseball Classic Second Round Pool 1 game between the Netherland and Cuba at Tokyo Dome on March 8, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 18: Loek Van Mil #51 of the Netherlands pitches against the Dominican Republic during the semifinal of the World Baseball Classic at AT&T Park on March 18, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 8: Curt Smith #18 and Loek Van Mil #51 of Team Netherlands celebrate after a win over Cuba during Pool 1, Game 1 in the second round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic at the Tokyo Dome on March 8, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Yuki Taguchi/WBCI/MLB via Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 12: Pitcher Loek van Mil #46 of the Netherlands throws in the top of the tenth inning during the World Baseball Classic Pool E Game Two between Japan and Netherlands at the Tokyo Dome on March 12, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
SEOUL, KOREA - MARCH 7: Loek Van Mil #46 and Dashenko Ricardo of Team Netherlands celebrate after winning Game 3 of Pool A against Team Korea at Gocheok Sky Dome on Monday, March 6, 2017 in Seoul, Korea. (Photo by Shugo Takemi/WBCI/MLB via Getty Images)
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At over 7 feet tall, van Mil is the tallest man to have ever played professional baseball, tied with former Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Ryan Doherty.

Van Mil was in a serious hiking accident Canberra, Australia in December 2018. He was left unconscious in nature for 24 hours after hitting his head on rocks. He was admitted to the hospital and received treatment for multiple fractures, hemorrhages, and bleeding of the brain.

Van Mil announced his retirement from baseball just a week ago as he continued to recover from the head injury he sustained in the hiking accident.

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