Rheal Cormier Dies at Age 53 from Cancer; Pitched 16 Years in MLB

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2021

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Rheal Cormier pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during a spring training baseball game, Sunday, March 4, 2007, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Al Behrman/Associated Press

Former MLB pitcher Rheal Cormier died Monday at the age of 53 from cancer, the Philadelphia Phillies announced

Hall of Famer Jim Thome was teammates with Cormier in Philadelphia. He reflected on his time with the southpaw:

"Rheal was one of the most vibrant people I've had the pleasure of knowing. He loved baseball, but he always put his family first. Frenchy was the kind of guy who would do anything for you and I'm lucky to have called him my friend for many years. Our time spent together in Philadelphia as teammates was unforgettable. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten."

Others mourned Cormier on social media:

Dan Plesac @Plesac19

RIP “Frenchy” ... Rheal Cormier lost his battle with cancer. One of my all time favorite teammates. Big heart, spent 2yrs sitting next to him in the @Phillies bullpen (2002-2003)... he made everyone he played with better...keep throwing that 3-2 splitter in heaven. RIP my friend. https://t.co/lGDGBCm8T2

Doug Glanville @dougglanville

It is so hard to process losing a teammate from a journey you shared that depended on your youth. You want to hold on to the hope that we are forever young and timeless. So sorry to hear this news. Rheal always kept it real. #RIPFrenchy #Phillies https://t.co/XJk20lqoG7

Gregor Chisholm @GregorChisholm

New Brunswick isn't known for producing professional athletes, but when I was growing up there we had the MLB trio of Rheal Cormier, Matt Stairs and Jason Dickson to call our own, and man were the locals proud of that. They inspired an entire generation of kids. RIP Rheal. https://t.co/ubAsqQJmE5

Jerry Crasnick @jcrasnick

Such tragic news. Everyone loved Rheal Cormier when he was with the #Phillies (and in his other career stops with the #STLCards, #RedSox, #Expos and #Reds). He was funny, humble, always approachable, and had a way of putting everyone at ease. Such a loss. https://t.co/2teiw3qNVx

A native of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, Cormier spent 16 seasons in MLB with five teams. He debuted with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1991 and had stints with the Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Montreal Expos and Cincinnati Reds.

Cormier's longest spell was in Philadelphia, where his 363 appearances are seventh-most in franchise history for a pitcher.

He finished with a 71-64 record and a 4.03 ERA over 683 career appearances. His best season came in 2003, when he was a perfect 8-0 and posted a 1.70 ERA over 84.2 innings. 

Cormier also represented Canada in the 1988 and 2008 Summer Olympics, as well as the 2006 World Baseball Classic. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.