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Former Cardinals pitcher José DeLeón dies at 63

A Cardinals hat on a glove

Sep 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; A detailed view of the hat and glove of St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Nolan Gorman (not pictured) before a game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

13-year MLB veteran pitcher José DeLeón has died at the age of 63 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Dominican sports radio host Tenchy Rodriguez reported the news on X.

DeLeón played for five different teams in the majors from 1983 to 1995. DeLeón’s most notable stop was during his 5-year stint with the St. Louis Cardinals.

DeLeón debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1983 after being selected by the team in the third round of the 1979 draft. He had a standout rookie campaign with a 7-3 record and an ERA of 2.83 across 15 games. He finished seventh in National League Rookie of the Year voting.

Arguably DeLeón’s best year came as a member of the Cardinals in 1989 when he tallied 16 wins with a 3.05 ERA and WHIP of 1.03. The Dominican led the NL in strikeouts that year with 201. In five years with the Cardinals, DeLeón had an ERA of 3.59 in 159 games pitched (145 starts).

DeLeón also had a pair of 19-loss seasons, which both tied for the NL lead in 1985 and 1990.

DeLeón had a lifetime record of 86-119 with a career ERA of 3.76 and 1,594 strikeouts across nearly 1,900 innings pitched.

Despite playing for over a decade, DeLeón only saw playoff action twice. Both appearances came during the 1993 ALCS as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. DeLeón gave up just one earned run in 4.2 postseason innings pitched.


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