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    Brad Lesley, Major League Baseball Star Turned Actor, Dead at 54

    Brad Lesley B Bennett/Getty Images

    Former major league baseball player turned Hollywood actor Brad Lesley died this weekend in Marina del Rey, Calif. He was 54.

    Nicknamed "The Animal," Lesley hit the big leagues in 1982 as a relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. Two years later, he would move to the Milwaukee Brewers before participating in a Japanese professional league.

    After stepping away from the pitcher's mound, the 6-foot-6-inch athlete went on to explore Hollywood with several roles in major sports films.

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    His first movie role came in 1992's Mr. Baseball, where he starred alongside Tom Selleck. Lesley would later obtain roles in Space Jam with Michael Jordan and Little Big League, in which he played an angry baseball pitcher.

    "I can never repay baseball enough for the doors it's opened for me," Lesley told the Los Angeles Times back in 1997. "I've been truly blessed. As much as I try to give back to the game, it's never enough."

    Lesley's ex-wife, Chiho Svimonoff, told TMZ he passed away from kidney failure after living in a nursing home for several months.

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