Former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu has been found dead at his home near Los Angeles. The Yankees confirmed the death this afternoon. Police are investigating whether it was a suicide by hanging. He was 42.

Irabu was one of the top pitchers in Japan from 1988 to 1996, and was considered the greatest strikeout pitcher in his league at that time. He was drafted by the San Diego Padres in 1997, but was traded to the Yankees that year. Irabu unfortunately got off to a bad start with the team that year, with a 7.09 ERA in nine starts and four relief appearances. He won two World Series rings with the team in 1998 and 1999, and ended up with a decent 24-16 record and a 4.44 ERA, before he was traded to the Expos after the 1999 season, and his career in America fizzled out quietly.

But Irabu became a pop culture reference after George Steinbrenner called him a "fat, pussy toad" for not covering first base during an exhibition game in 1999. Even though The Boss apologized two days later, the damage was done; to this day, if you look up "fat toad" in Google, Irabu is one of the first hits you'll get. Irabu''s name even popped up in the Seinfeld finale, when Frank Costanza got up in the courtroom to yell at Steinbrenner for giving him $12 million contract: