José Lima was a legendary pitcher who spent 13 seasons in the MLB. He was a part of the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, and Los Angeles Dodgers during his career.
Those around in 1999 will likely remember Lima while he was on the Astros. That year he won 21 games for the team and moved on to his one and only All-Star Game. His career was 89-102 during his 13 seasons, a miraculous record.
Beyond owning the pitching mound, Lima knew how to work it. He was animated and emotional while pitching, always the free spirit. In fact, he dubbed his time pitching as Lima Time. His facial expressions and extravagance made him an all-around fan favorite. He’d laugh, jump over foul lines, had exuberant overconfidence, and would put the entire stadium in a good mood (besides the opposing team, of course).
When he wasn’t pitching, Lima was passionate about music. He said he would pursue a career as a singer, specifically the genre of bachata. At one point he even released a salsa CD.
Unfortunately, José Lima never got the chance to really pursue his second passion in life to the extent he would have dreamed of. He died when he was only 37 years old very suddenly. He passed away on May 23, 2010.
According to ESPN, he was found in full cardiac arrest in his home in Pasadena, California. He was taken to the hospital and immediately pronounced dead. His wife, Dorca Astacio, shared that the ruled cause of death was a heart attack.
“José was complaining while sleeping and I just thought he was having a nightmare. I called the paramedics, but they couldn’t help him,” she told the news outlet.
José Lima Was Loved By The MLB Community
At the time of his death, Lima was playing for the Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Republic. He had not returned to the MLB after the Mets released him in the 2006 season. The baseball player was married twice and had five children.
“He could dance, he could sing, but his best gift of all was that he was an extremely happy person. He just lit up our clubhouse with his personality, which was his greatest asset. Jose was not shortchanged in life in any way. He lived life to the fullest every day,” Drayton McLane, the owner of the Astros at the time, said.
Lima had plans to open a youth baseball academy that summer in Los Angeles. He said he wanted to “help teach the game he loved to youngsters.” He also had plans for a musical performance at a Viva Los Dodgers event over the summer.
The MLB community, with which Lima had spent over a decade alongside, was incredibly devastated by his early and unexpected death. Several players had tributes for him on the field, whether it was his initials on a helmet or wearing a specific jersey.