Baseball peers react to Lima's passing
Former Major League pitcher made lasting impression
With the untimely passing of former Major Leaguer Jose Lima on Sunday, emotional reaction flowed from around the league, from his former teammates, competitors and managers alike.
Here's a rundown of some of the response from the Majors:
Brandon Inge, former Tigers teammate:
"I have a lot of great memories. He was one of the good guys in the game, a lot of character, good for baseball. He was just an all-around good guy, a great teammate. He was just fun to be around. He's going to be badly missed in baseball."
Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt:
"We are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic loss of Jose Lima. Though he was taken from us way too soon, he truly lived his life to the fullest and his personality was simply unforgettable. He had the ability to light up a room and that's exactly what he did every time I saw him. His memorable contributions to the Dodgers in 2004 and throughout baseball will always be remembered. Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to his family during this extremely difficult time."
Tal Smith, Astros president of baseball operations:
"Jose was one of the memorable and will be one of the most unforgettable characters we ever had that played for the Astros. He just had a great flare and enthusiasm for life and for pitching and singing and dancing. He was a great performer, and for two years he was a very successful pitcher. He was one of our seven 20-game winners in the history of the franchise, won 37 games over those two years and really was a fan favorite because of his enthusiasm. As long as you're performing, that's great. He and Derek Bell both -- Derek had several good years and when they're performing well and had the flare and a little bit of show biz, that was great. Now when you can't back it up with performance sometimes now it becomes not as well accepted by other players in our dugout or the opposing dugout and so on. Lima Time was a special time, and Lima Time was whenever he was pitching, or at any event or club function or civic function that he was at, he would get up and sing and dance and was very, very good. He was a real entertainer."
Drayton McLane, Astros owner:
"It saddened me greatly to hear of Jose's passing. He had an outstanding career with the Astros and won 21 games in 1999 on one of our greatest teams ever. He was truly a gifted person both on the field and off of it. He could dance, he could sing, but his best gift of all was that he was an extremely happy person. He just lit up our clubhouse with his personality, which was his greatest asset. Jose was not shortchanged in life in any way. He lived life to the fullest every day."
Ramon Santiago, former Tigers teammate:
"I played with him in 2002 when he was here, and he was like a dad for me here. He was the one to take care of me. It's very sad. I played with his brother, too. We'd always keep in touch. ... He was a guy who enjoyed life. I can remember always seeing Lima happy. Even if he was pitching, he enjoyed it. You saw him the other night here at Dodger Stadium, and they gave an ovation for him because he pitched here. You see the people liked him wherever he was."
Lance Berkman, former Astros teammate:
"Obviously, it's shocking. He was a great teammate. He had a lot of energy and he had such a good run here for those three or four years and was entertaining on and off the field. Just a great guy to have around. ... Everybody you talked to from other teams, they'd be like, 'Man, what's this guy's problem?' They didn't like him. But in here, he was awesome. You couldn't ask for a better teammate and a guy that brought a lot of energy to the clubhouse every day and was fun to be around."
Alex Avila, Tigers catcher:
"He just loved the game. That was the kind of guy he was, or at least the impression that I got. When we faced him, he'd talk to everybody. I'm out there warming up, and he ran over to me and said hi. My impression was he was doing it because he loved playing baseball. I mean, he was still enjoying it like he was a kid out there. It was great to see. ... He knew my grandfather [Ralph Avila] really well, and him and my dad [Al Avila] knew each other. So this last winter was the first time I actually met him, but he's known my family for a while, especially my grandfather. It was definitely shocking news."
Craig Biggio, former Astros teammate:
"A lot of people remember him for his actions on the mound, but he was a great teammate. He wanted everybody to be successful. He wanted to win and do his job, which we did, but he wanted everybody to as successful as he was. He was very genuine. The baseball family lost a good guy."
Magglio Ordonez, who faced Lima when with the White Sox many times:
"My first home run was against him. He was funny. He could make you laugh. It's sad."
Bruce Bochy, Giants manager:
"He was a great competitor. He had a real love for the game, with the way he played and the enthusiasm he showed. Sometimes he didn't have his best stuff, but you liked the way he battled and competed."
Jose Guillen, friend and Royals designated hitter:
"He was a good friend of mine, we were real close. I talk to him every year and when I go there [to the Dominican Republic] I see him and we always talked," Guillen said. "This is a shock."
Manny Ramirez, Dodgers outfielder:
"I said hi to him [on Friday]. In the Dominican, he would stop by the house and say hi to my dad all the time. He was crazy [he said affectionately]."
Jeff Weaver, former teammate with Dodgers and Tigers:
"I actually just saw him Friday at the game, he congratulated me on my little boy. Every time he's been here at games, we've always talked to each other. We gave each other a high five and a hug. We were pretty close. Just kind of takes you a second to figure out how quick things can change, especially at his age."
James Loney, Dodgers first baseman:
"I don't even know what to say. You haven't seen a guy in a while, I've seen him twice in the past year ... You really can't describe it. That's rough, you know."
Brad Ausmus, former teammate in Detroit and Houston:
"I just found that out in the elevator, it was awful, just shocking. I didn't talk to him this time, usually when he is here I do talk to him and say Hello. ... First year I played with him was in '96. We got traded together to Houston in '98 we were there. He might've been in Houston again. High energy, always in a good mood, loved to sing. We had to listen to his demo tape all the time in the locker room. Now, it's a fond memory, back then it was annoying."
Raul Ibanez, Phillies left fielder:
"He was a very positive guy to be around. A very good, kind hearted person. I was shocked. He was full of life, you know?"
Joe Torre, Dodgers manager:
"Even though I just casually knew him professionally, it's a big loss for everybody around him as far as what i know about him. Wow. ... You don't know if he had confidence in himself or if he was trying to convince himself and everybody else that he did. He was a showman, hot dog, but he'd win games."
Mitch Poole, Dodgers clubhouse manager:
"It's just shocking. I talked to him for awhile, he's actually coaching at a high school. He's helping out a phenom at a high school in Pasadena. He was over there, he's helping him throw a changeup."
Tony Pena, Yankees bench coach, managed Lima with Royals:
"We played together in winter ball, and then I got to manage him. A great guy. A great kid. I'm very sad. He was a great, great friend. ... What a character; what a human being. Everybody that was around Lima should remember him. He was the type of guy that had so much fun. This guy came into the clubhouse and everybody had to laugh, because he would make jokes about anything. He kept everyone so happy around him."
Jerry Manuel, Mets manager:
"He was one of those character's that baseball needed, definitely. He was fun, he had the kind of joy for the game that you see in the children and I appreciated that about him, and it was a great loss in that sense for baseball."
Alex Cora, who played with Lima in LA:
"He was a very happy person, very upbeat, really enjoyed the game, he brought a really great vibe to the clubhouse. Especially in '04, I had a blast playing with him. We play this game for a living, but you have to enjoy it, and he did, he actually did."
Bailey Stephens is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.