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Former MLB Pitcher José DeLeón Dead at 63

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The baseball community is in mourning.

Former Major League Baseball player José DeLeón died Feb. 25, his former team in the Dominican Republic, Los Leones del Escogido, confirmed. He was 63.

The team—for which DeLeón played at different times throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s—noted in a statement on their website that he died after a battle with unnamed health issues.

The number he wore with Los Leones, 41, was retired by the franchise in his honor, and in 2011 he was inducted to the Dominican Republic’s Sports Hall of Fame.

In 1979, DeLeón joined the MLB when he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in the third round. He ultimately made his major league debut for the team four years later. 

A few years later in 1989, DeLeón, then a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, led the National League in strikeouts. Throughout his 13-season career, he also played on the Chicago White Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Montreal Expos. He finished his career in 1995 with a total of 1,594 strike outs in 415 appearances. 

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Dan Evans, who worked as part of the White Sox organization while DeLeón was on the team, reflected on their time together.

“Saddened to learn of former @MLB RHP Jose DeLeon’s passing over the weekend at age 63over the weekend at age 63,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter, Feb. 26. “We were together for five years with the @WhiteSox. He was consistently a kind person with a great smile. Oh my, he had plus-plus fastball life and was so versatile.”

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He further elaborated on DeLeón’s impact on the team, telling the Chicago Sun-Times, “José was a terrific teammate and passionate about people. He had an above average repertoire, and helped us when we badly needed a starter in the mid-1980s and then contributed a lot from the bullpen in the 1990s.” 

Gene Lamont, the White Sox’s manager in the early ‘90s during DeLeón’s second stint with the team also shared his memories with the former player. “I’m saddened to hear of José’s passing,” he told the Sun-Times. “That’s too bad. He was a really good pitcher for a lot of years and a super guy. He was always ready to pitch.”

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Source: Eonline

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