At 42, former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu, who police believe hanged himself in his home in suburban Los Angeles, where his body was found on July 27. A onetime star in his native Japan—where his fastball was clocked at 98 mph—Irabu arrived in New York to much fanfare in 1997, generating a near sellout of Yankee Stadium when he made his midseason debut. Irabu peaked during New York's '98 championship run with 13 wins and a 4.06 ERA, but inconsistency and poor conditioning kept fans from embracing him. In '99 his work ethic drew the ire of owner George Steinbrenner, who dealt him to the Expos. Irabu ended his big league career as a closer for the Rangers in 2002. He returned to Japan for two seasons but attempted a U.S. comeback in '09, pitching in an independent league. Irabu's personal life, meanwhile, grew troubled. He was arrested on a drunk driving charge in Gardena, Calif., last year, and his wife reportedly left him recently, taking their two children.
After 20 NHL seasons, Kris Draper, who won four Stanley Cup championships in his 17 years with the Red Wings and became a model for the modern defensive forward. Drafted by the Jets in 1989, Draper played only 20 games for the club in three seasons before Detroit paid $1 for his rights in 1993. He came into his own in 1996--97, when, along with wingers—and fellow castoffs—Joe Kocur and Kirk Maltby, he centered the Red Wings' Grind Line, a physical, defensive-minded checking line that helped the club to its first Cup title in 42 years. In 2003--04 Draper scored a career-high 24 goals and won the Selke Trophy as the league's top defensive forward. An exceptional face-off man, he was still logging significant playoff minutes and taking defensive-zone draws at the age of 39 in last spring's Stanley Cup playoffs. The Toronto native played for Team Canada at the '06 Olympics.
To three years in prison, 23-year-old Guerdwich Montimere, who in 2009 posed as a ninth-grader named Jerry Joseph in order to play basketball at Permian High in Odessa, Texas. Montimere, who used a fake birth certificate from Haiti to carry out his fraud, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault—he was accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl—and three counts of tampering with government records. The 6'5" center-forward helped the Panthers make the state playoffs, but suspicions arose when AAU coaches from Florida spotted the former Fort Lauderdale high school player at a postseason tournament in Arkansas. Montimere confessed after immigration and school officials discovered his true identity. The Panthers forfeited 16 wins from the '09--10 season, and Montimere will be registered as a sex offender upon his release.
From the NFL after 13 seasons, wide receiver Randy Moss, whose 153 receiving touchdowns are tied for second most in NFL history. Picked 21st out of Marshall by the Vikings in 1998, the fast and athletic Moss (above, right), made an instant impact, leading the league with 17 receiving TDs as Minnesota went 15--1. He helped the Patriots go 16--0 and reach the Super Bowl in 2007, when he led the NFL with 23 TDs. But he never shed his penchant for getting into trouble. In '02 he was arrested for pushing a Minneapolis traffic officer with his car (he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors); in January '05 he angered Vikings teammates when he left the field while they were attempting an onside kick late in a loss to the Redskins; and a week later, in a playoff win over the Packers, he pretended to moon the Lambeau Field crowd after scoring a touchdown. In 2010 he wore out his welcome in New England and wound up playing for three teams, and enduring his worst season (28 catches, five TDs).
At 29, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on July 25, Olympic freestyle skier Jeret Peterson. He earned a silver medal at the 2010 Winter Games in the men's aerials competition by landing his trademark Hurricane move, a jump with three backflips and five twists—the move also helped Peterson to seven victories on the World Cup circuit in his career. He placed seventh at the '06 Games in Turin but was sent home for getting into a drunken bar fight with a friend from his hometown of Boise. Peterson, who had made earlier suicide attempts, endured a troubled life that included sexual abuse as a child and severe depression. Days before his death he was cited for drunken driving but pleaded not guilty. "It was the stuff he did for other people that was incredible to me," said Matt Christensen, Peterson's coach. "A lot of people saw his story and said he must be a wild jackass and a cowboy. He was just the opposite."