Former Pittsburgh Pirates first base coach Kimera Bartee has died at the age of 49, the Detroit Tigers announced on Tuesday.
Bartee spent the 2021 season as the Tigers’ first base coach, in the organization where he started his MLB playing career. He was the Pirates’ first base coach from 2017-19.
A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Bartee attended Creighton University and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 14th round of the 1993 MLB Draft. The Tigers claimed him on waivers in 1996, and he spent four seasons in Detroit, playing 220 games and hitting .227 with a .601 OPS as a centerfielder.
Bartee also played with Cincinnati and Colorado in the majors. His 12 games with the Rockies were where he formed a relationship with Clint Hurdle, then the Rockies’ hitting coach, who later hired Bartee as a coach in Pittsburgh.
Bartee worked in the Baltimore and Pittsburgh minor-league systems and was the manager of the State College Spikes before getting his first coaching job in the majors under Hurdle in 2017. He spent 2020 with the Philadelphia Phillies before re-joining the Tigers organization under A.J. Hinch this past season.
“Like many, I was devastated by the news of Kimera’s passing,” Hinch said in a statement. “From the start of spring training last year, it was clear that KB was the epitome of a players coach, having the uncanny ability to build deep connections with anyone from a rookie to a 10-year veteran.”
A statement from Tigers Manager A.J. Hinch: pic.twitter.com/92IgzQKQWr
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) December 21, 2021