Sang Ho Baek—a pitcher at George Mason University—died suddenly after complications from Tommy John surgery on June 12, according to the university's athletic department. He was 20 years old.
Tommy John surgery is a relatively common procedure for pitchers to have on their elbow to reconstruct their ulnar collateral ligament. Baek had recently finished his freshman season at George Mason, appearing in seven games. He debuted against UMBC on March 12.
"Sang was an incredible teammate who was loved by everyone associated with Mason baseball. He will be missed and forever cherished in our hearts," George Mason baseball coach Bill Brown said in a statement. "Right now, our thoughts are with Sang's family at this unbearably difficult time."
Scott Morgan, one of his teammates, created a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $17,700 as of Saturday.
Baek partially grew up in Salisbury, Maryland, but was born in Seoul. Before attending George Mason, he graduated from James M. Bennett High School in 2020, helping the school win a Maryland State Championship in 2019.
Baek was also involved in the Korean Presbyterian Church youth group and worship band. He swam on the YMCA team for three years, played on the Aces and Canes travel baseball teams and helped build houses on a Nicaragua mission trip in 2018.
"Sang embodied everything you would want from a student-athlete. He was an excellent student, dedicated teammate and friend to so many," said George Mason Director of Athletics Brad Edwards. "We are committed to providing support and resources to Sang's teammates and all those in the Mason family who loved him."
Funeral arrangements at Holloway Funeral Home are set for 4 p.m. on June 26 in Salisbury.