Danny Tartabull was in his prime as a professional baseball player during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The right fielder played for a string of teams, including the New York Yankees. The athlete retired from Major League Baseball in 1997 and dropped from public notice until recently.

The one-time All Star is now 50 and in trouble with the law for failing to pay child support for his two sons. According to Los Angeles County records, the delinquent dad is a fugitive from justice with a past-due child support bill of over $276,000.

The non-custodial parent answered non-payment charges with a no contest plea in 2011. A judge later determined Tartabull violated probation terms and ordered the parent to jail for 180 days. An arrest warrant was issued when the ex-pro ballplayer failed to show up to fulfil the sentence.

Tartabull earned $33 million as a Major League Baseball player. One of the former athlete’s sons is high school age. The other son is a graduate who now works as a model.

Reports neglected to relay details of Tartabull’s support payment history. It is unclear when the former right fielder first fell behind on his parental obligations. Tartabull’s financial situation since leaving baseball also was unreported.

The child support debt seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the ex-Yankees’ career salary. It would be easy to assume that the non-custodial parent stubbornly refused to pay support, but other factors could be at play. Failed business deals or long-term joblessness may have drained the retired athlete’s resources.

A family law attorney would advise a non-custodial parent to work within the law rather than run from it. Courts realize parents’ financial circumstances can change, sometimes dramatically. A support modification petition can be used to restructure a payment agreement to reflect alterations in a parent’s ability to pay and children’s needs.

nbclosangeles.com, “Ex-Major League Baseball Player Tops Child Support “Most Wanted” List” Dan Stamm, Jul. 12, 2013