Ex-MLB Pitcher, Played for Pirates & Cardinals, Passes Away at 63

Tragic Loss: Baseball Mourns the Passing of a Legend.

by Nouman Rasool
Ex-MLB Pitcher, Played for Pirates & Cardinals, Passes Away at 63
© Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The sports world mourns the loss of a remarkable talent as former Major League Baseball pitcher José DeLeón has passed away at the age of 63. This somber news was confirmed by The Associated Press and further announced by the Leones del Escogido, a team in the Dominican Winter League, late Sunday evening.

José DeLeón, a distinguished name in baseball, not to be confused with the contemporary free agent who recently played for the Twins, graced the major leagues with his presence from 1983 to 1995. Born in the Dominican Republic, DeLeón's journey to baseball prominence began in 1979 when he was chosen in the third round of the draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Standing tall at 6-foot-3, this right-handed pitcher made his mark in the minor leagues for four seasons before making his much-anticipated debut with Pittsburgh. His inaugural season was nothing short of stellar, boasting a 2.83 ERA and securing 118 strikeouts across 108 innings in just 15 starts, which positioned him seventh in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.

DeLeón's Career Shift

DeLeón continued to be a reliable presence in the Pirates' rotation for several seasons, demonstrating his prowess on the mound with a commendable 3.74 ERA over 192 1/3 innings in his second major league season.

Despite facing challenges, including leading the MLB with 19 losses one season, his career took a significant turn when he was traded to the Chicago White Sox in 1986. This move was part of a deal that saw Bobby Bonilla, a future MVP finalist, join Pittsburgh.

During his tenure with the White Sox, DeLeón delivered solid performances, highlighting his skills and dedication to the game. His journey didn't stop there; he was later traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, where he became a key player, contributing significantly over five seasons.

DeLeón's best year came in 1989 when he led the National League with 201 strikeouts and maintained a 3.05 ERA across 36 starts, showcasing his exceptional talent and resilience. Throughout his 13-season career, DeLeón accumulated nearly 1900 innings, striking out almost 1600 batters, and recording an 86-119 win-loss record.

His ability to consistently perform, evidenced by surpassing 150 innings in seven seasons and wearing five different major league uniforms, speaks volumes of his dedication and impact on the game. José DeLeón's legacy will be remembered not only for his remarkable achievements on the field but also for his spirit and passion for baseball.

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