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Former Pirates Pitcher Jose DeLeon Dies of Cancer at 63



Pittsburgh Pirates, Jose DeLeon

Jose DeLeon, who spent the first four seasons of his 13-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1983-86, has died after a long battle with cancer in his native Dominican Republic. DeLeon was 63.

The right-handed pitcher was the Pirates’ third-round pick in the 1979 amateur draft after graduating from high school in Perth Amboy, N.J.

DeLeon made his major-league debut on July 23, 1983, and went on to post a 7-3 record and 2.83 ERA in 15 starts. However, he never pitched as well for the Pirates again and was traded to the Chicago White Sox during the 1986 season after going 2-19 the previous year.

The trade turned out to be a good one for the Pirates as they acquired young slugger Bobby Bonilla after losing him in the Rule 5 Draft at the 1985 Winter Meetings. Bonilla went on to appear in four straight All-Star Games from 1988-91 with the Pirates.

DeLeon eventually went on to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos before his career ended in 1995. He finished with an 86-119 lifetime record and 3.76 ERA in 415 games (264 starts) and he led the National League with 201 strikeouts in 1989 while with the Cardinals.

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