Monday, April 15, 2024
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Hector Ortiz, longtime Rangers coach and former MLB catcher, dies at 54 after cancer battle

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Hector Ortiz, a fixture of the Texas Rangers organization, died on Wednesday after a prolonged battle with cancer, the team announced. He was 54 years old.

The Rangers released the following:

Mr. Ortiz was a beloved member of the Texas Rangers organization who had an enormous impact as a teacher of the game, a mentor to players and staff, and a loyal friend to so many. He brought a positive attitude and spirit to the ballpark each and every day, and his influence on the Rangers’ baseball operations department will not soon be forgotten.

His courageous fight of more than three years against cancer inspired Rangers coach Bobby Wilson to design a blue hoodie with a Texas-inspired catcher’s mask and “Hector Strong” on the sleeve with proceeds of the hoodie sales going to support families battling cancer.

The Rangers send their thoughts and prayers to Hector’s wife Elaine, children Christian, Rian, and Logan, and all his friends and family at their loss. He will not be forgotten.

Ortiz had been on the Rangers’ player development staff the last three seasons. He was previously a part of Texas’ big-league coaching staff from 2015-20, serving under former managers Chris Woodward and Jeff Banister. He occupied a variety of roles, including stints as the club’s first-base coach, bullpen coach, and catching coordinator. He had also served as a coach and manager in the Rangers’ farm system.

Prior to becoming a coach, Ortiz enjoyed a lengthy career as a catcher that stretched from 1988 through the 2005 campaign. He even appeared in parts of four big-league seasons, batting .288/.339/.358 (79 OPS+) in 284 plate appearances split between the Kansas City Royals and Rangers. Ortiz’s final big-league trip to the plate, back in May 2002, saw him drive in a run with a single to center field.

The Rangers will observe a moment of silence for Ortiz on Thursday before their scheduled contest against the Milwaukee Brewers.

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