Former Phillies reliever Rheal Cormier passes away at 53

Rheal Cormier #33, formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Rheal Cormier #33, formerly of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

Former reliever Rheal Cormier — who was the first Philadelphia Phillies pitcher to record a win in Citizens Bank Park history on April 15, 2004, against the Cincinnati Reds — has passed away following a battle with cancer at the age of 53.

Remembering former Phillies left-handed reliever Rheal Cormier.

Cormier, a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, pitched in parts of six seasons with the Phillies from 2001 to 2006. Spanning 363 relief appearances, 68 of which finished a game, the Moncton, Canada, native went 28-21 with a 3.62 ERA, 1.245 WHIP, and 246-129 strikeouts-to-walks ratio spanning 358 1/3 innings.

The Phillies dealt Cormier at the July 2006 trade deadline to the Reds in exchange for fellow reliever Justin Germano. Cormier finished his career for the National League Central team, posting a 5.29 ERA and 1.765 WHIP over his final 27 appearances through 2007.

The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Cormier in the sixth round of the 1988 draft out of the Community College of Rhode Island. He went on to debut for them three years later, beginning his 16-year career, and pitched there through 1994. Cormier later appeared for the Boston Red Sox (1995, 1999-2000) and Montreal Expos (1996-97), before signing witht the Phillies in November 2000.

As’s Jordan Cohn notes, Cormier is just one of three pitchers in Major League Baseball history to win at least eight games, lose none, and post a sub-2.00 ERA in the same season — joining fellow former Phillies relievers Arthur Rhodes (2001) and Grant Jackson (1973). Cormier accomplished this impressive feat in 2003 with the Phillies, the final season of Veterans Stadium. That year, he went 8-0 with a 1.70 ERA, 0.933 WHIP, and 67-25 strikeouts-to-walks ratio through 65 appearances and 84 23/ innings.

The Phils family has lost several of its members this past year, including the legendary Dick Allen. On Monday, what would have been Allen’s 79th birthday, the organization announced that its major-league players will wear a patch on their uniforms to honor his memory throughout the entire 2021 season.

Rest in peace, Rheal Cormier and Dick Allen.

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