Former Dodgers pitcher Lima diesLOS ANGELES - Jose Lima, a 20-game winner who also earned All-Star honors in a 13-year Major League Baseball pitching career, died suddenly Sunday at the age of 37, the Los Angeles Dodgers said.
Lima, who won 13 games with the Dodgers in 2004, died of an apparent heart attack, officials of the Aguilas Cibaenas, a winter ball team that Lima had played for in the Dominican Republic, told Spanish-language sports Web site ESPNdeportes.com. Lima played with the Kia Tigers in the 2008 season.
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt recalled Lima’s exuberant personality with fondness.
“He had the ability to light up a room and that’s exactly what he did every time I saw him,” McCourt said in a statement Sunday.
Referring to his often colorful outings as “Lima Time,” the Dominican Republic native notched his best Major League season in 1999 when he was selected to the All-Star game as a Houston Astro.
He went 21-10 in 35 starts with a 3.58 ERA for the National League Central division champion Astros.
In 13 major league seasons Lima was 89-102 with a 5.26 ERA. He hadn’t pitched in the major leagues since a four-game stop with the New York Mets in 2006.
“He was a man full of life, without apparent physical problems and with many plans and projects on the agenda,” his wife, Dorca Astacio, told ESPNdeportes.com. With the Dodgers in 2004 and 2005, Lima had a record of 13-5, with a 4.07 ERA.
In the first round of the 2004 National League playoffs, Lima pitched a 5-hit shutout against St. Louis to give the Dodgers their first postseason victory since game five of the 1988 World Series.
Former Dodgers teammate Guillermo Mota said Lima loved to spend time with fans. “He would sign autographs all the time and ask the kids, ‘What time is it?’ They would answer ‘Lima Time!’ I can see it right now.” said Mota, now a Giants reliever.