Tuesday, April 23, 2024
spot_img

José DeLeón, 1989 National League strikeout leader, dies at 63, per report

deleon-getty.png
Getty Images

Former big-league pitcher José DeLeón, who appeared in parts of 13 seasons, died on Sunday night, according to the Associated Press. He was 63 years old. DeLeón’s cause of death remains unknown, though the AP reports he had been dealing with health issues.

DeLeón made 415 appearances, including 264 starts, over the course of his career. He amassed a 3.76 ERA (102 ERA+) and a 1.90 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He led the National League in strikeouts as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1989, a year after finishing third in that category, in 1988. 

In addition to DeLeón’s time spent with the Cardinals, he also suited up for the Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, and Montreal Expos. He wrapped up his career with a seven-game stretch for the Expos to close out the 1995 season.

DeLeón was once described as the “best losing pitcher in baseball,” according to his SABR biography. That moniker, meant as a compliment, was inspired by the disconnect between his own statistics and his oft-poor records. For his career, he finished with an 86-119 mark — that despite, as evidenced by the numbers above — being an above-average starter when it came to keeping earned runs off of the board. On three separate occasions (1984, 1985, and 1990) he ranked in the top 10 of his league in losses. Alas, it wasn’t until after he retired that pitcher wins and losses became demystified as an evaluative tool for individual performances. 

DeLeón was traded for other notable players on several occasions. The Pittsburgh Pirates swapped him for Bobby Bonilla in 1986; the White Sox shipped him out for Lance Johnson (and others) in 1988; and he was traded on separate occasions for closers Bobby Thigpen and Jeff Shaw.

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles

Newsletter

Subscribe to stay updated.