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Former MLB Catcher Héctor Ortiz Passes Away At 54

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Former Texas Rangers catcher and coach Hector Ortiz died at age 54 after a three-year battle with stomach cancer.

The Texas Rangers said in a statement, “Mr. Ortiz was a beloved member of the Texas Rangers organization who had an enormous impact as a teacher of the game, a mentor to players and staff, and a loyal friend to so many.”

They continued, “He brought a positive attitude and spirit to the ballpark each and every day, and his influence on the Rangers’ baseball operations department will not soon be forgotten.”

“His courageous fight of more than three years against cancer inspired Rangers coach Bobby Wilson to design a blue hoodie with a Texas-inspired catcher’s mask and ‘Hector Strong’ on the sleeve with proceeds of the hoodie sales going to support families battling cancer,” wrote the Rangers.

The team concluded, “The Rangers send their thoughts and prayers to Hector’s wife Elaine, children Christian, Rian, and Logan, and all his friends and family at their loss. He will not be forgotten.”

Ortiz played parts of three seasons in the major leagues for the Kansas City Royals and Rangers from 1998-2001, hitting .293 in 86 games.

He later coached in the Rangers minor league system from 2015-2020, helping to develop young players.

Ortiz was beloved within the Rangers organization for his positive attitude and influence as both a player and coach.

Following his cancer diagnosis, a Rangers coach designed a hoodie in his honor to support families battling the disease.

Ortiz is survived by his wife and three children.

Tributes poured in from his former teams, highlighting his impact both on and off the field.

The Royals’ triple-A affiliate said in a statement, “We mourn the loss of former Omaha Royals and Golden Spikes catcher Héctor Ortiz, who recently loss his battle with cancer. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.”

Former teammate Bob File said, “RIP Hector Ortiz. He was the first batter I faced in my MLB debut. Will never forget him.”

Ranger College said, “Ortiz played for Ranger College and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 35th round of the 1988 MLB Draft. Your family is in our hearts and prayers.”

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