Former MLB reliever Rheal Cormier dies at 53

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Former MLB relief pitcher Rheal Cormier lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 53 on Monday.

The southpaw played for five teams, the St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Montreal Expos, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds, over 16 seasons in the majors from 1991-2007.

Cormier, whom many players referred to as “Frenchy,” is best known for his time with the Phillies, where he pitched for six seasons and made 363 appearances, going 28-21 and pitching to a 3.63 ERA.

In 2003, he went 8-0 and posted a 1.70 ERA while striking out 67 batters in 84.2 innings pitched.

Cormier was drafted in the sixth round of the 1988 MLB Draft by the Cardinals and made his MLB debut against the Mets on Aug. 15, 1991, pitching six innings of one-run ball while striking out two.

He was traded to Boston in 1995 where he was primarily used as a reliever before being traded to the Montreal Expos the next year.

Cormier spent two seasons playing in his native country before returning to Boston in free agency in 1999 where he was key cog in a Red Sox bullpen that was playoff-bound in each season.

He signed with the Phillies in 2000 and was traded to the Reds in 2006 where he spent the last two years of his career.

Following his final season in the majors, Cormier represented Canada at the Beijing Olympics to close out his career.

Former teammate Jim Thome called Cormier “one of the most vibrant people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.”

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