Jose DeLeon MLB pitcher from 1983 95 dies at 63

Jose DeLeon, MLB pitcher from 1983-95, dies at 63

Former major league pitcher Jose DeLeon has died at age 63, according to a report by The Associated Press. His death was announced last night by the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Winter League. DeLeón, not to be confused with the free agent pitcher who played for the Twins last season, played in the Major Leagues between 1983 and 1995.

A native of the Dominican Republic, DeLeón entered the professional team in 1979 as a third-round pick of the Pirates. The 6-foot-11 right-hander pitched in four minor league seasons before reaching Pittsburgh. He had an impressive debut season, posting a 2.83 ERA and striking out 118 hitters in 108 innings and 15 starts. He finished seventh in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.

DeLeón would maintain a spot in the Pirates' rotation for a few seasons. During his second big league season, he posted a 3.74 ERA over 192 1/3 innings. The next season he struggled, posting a 4.70 ERA with an MLB-leading 19 losses. Midway through the 1986 season, Pittsburgh dealt him to the White Sox in a one-sided trade that netted him a future MVP finalist Bobby Bonilla.

Chicago added DeLeón to its roster for the next year and a half. While he wasn't nearly as influential as Bonilla was in Pittsburgh, he performed solidly on the South Side. DeLeón posted a 2.96 ERA in 13 starts after the 1986 trade and recorded 206 frames of 4.02 balls in 1987.

During the 1987-88 offseason, Chicago sent DeLeón to the Cardinals as a reserve player Ricky Horton and young outfielder Lance Johnson. In St. Louis, he was an integral part of the rotation for five seasons. DeLeón topped 225 innings in each of his first two years with the Redbirds. The best year of his career was 1989, when he pitched to a National League-leading 3.05 ERA with 201 strikeouts in 36 starts. DeLeón again lost an MLB-worst 19 games in 1990, but bounced back in 1991 with a personal-low 2.71 ERA in 28 appearances.

The Cardinals released him in August of the following season. DeLeón signed with the Phillies and remained in Philadelphia the next year. He moved to the bullpen in 1993. The White Sox brought him back as a reliever Bobby Thigpen next August. DeLeón reached the postseason for the only time in his career with Chicago and played two relief games in the ALCS eventual loss to the Blue Jays. He pitched for two more seasons and worked for the Sox and Expos until 1995. DeLeón did not return to the majors after that, although he pitched in Taiwan until his age-37 season in 1998.

In parts of 13 seasons, DeLeón pitched nearly 1,900 innings and allowed 3.76 earned runs per nine. He struck out nearly 1,600 batters with a record of 86-119. He exceeded the 150-frame mark seven times and wore five major league jerseys. MLBTR extends our condolences to DeLeón's family, loved ones, friends and former teammates.