Rheal Cormier, a journey MLB pitcher who played for five teams between 1991 and 2007, died Monday after a battle with cancer. He was 53.
The former reliever passed away at his home in New Brunswick, Canada. The Philadelphia Phillies released a statement announcing the pitcher’s death.
“Rheal was one of the most vibrant people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing,” Cormier’s former teammate Jim Thome said in the Phillies’ statement. “He loved baseball, but he always put his family first.”
“Frenchy was the kind of guy who would do anything for you and I’m lucky to have called him my friend for many years. Our time spent together in Philadelphia as teammates was unforgettable. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.”
Dan Plesac, a former pitcher and current MLB Network analyst, added in a tweet: “RIP “Frenchy” … Rheal Cormier lost his battle with cancer. One of my all time favorite teammates. Big heart, spent 2yrs sitting next to him in the @Phillies bullpen (2002-2003)… he made everyone he played with better…keep throwing that 3-2 splitter in heaven. RIP my friend.”
Cormier, who became a U.S. citizen in 2004, played for the Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos over the course of his career. He pitched in 683 games and had a 4.03 ERA.
He was the winning pitcher in the Phillies’ final game at Veterans Stadium in 2003 and was the winner in the first game the team played at Citizens Bank Park in 2004.
He is survived by his wife, Lucienne, son Justin and daughter Morgan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.