Former 16-year major league relief pitcher Rheal Cormier died of cancer on Monday, the Philadelphia Phillies announced. He was 53.
Cormier pitched for five different teams but spent the most time -- six seasons -- with the Phillies. Cormier was drafted by the Cardinals in 1988 and spent his first four major league seasons in St. Louis.
Cormier appeared in 363 games out of the bullpen for Philadelphia, more than any other left-handed reliever in the history of the franchise except Tug McGraw.
He went 71-64 with a 4.03 ERA in 683 games (108 starts) for the Cardinals (1991-94), Boston Red Sox (1995, 1999-2000), Montreal Expos (1996-97), Phillies (2001-2006) and Cincinnati Reds (2006-07).
"Rheal was one of the most vibrant people I've had the pleasure of knowing," said friend and former teammate Jim Thome. "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."
Cormier was born in Moncton, Canada and was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. He became a U.S. citizen in 2004.
Cormier is survived by his wife, Lucienne, son, Justin, and daughter, Morgan.
-Field Level Media