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March 09, 2021

Former Phillies pitcher Rhéal Cormier dies at 53

Canadian Hall of Famer, who spent six seasons in Philadelphia, succumbed to cancer

Obituaries Phillies
Rheal Cormier Phillies Akira Suwa/Philadelphia Inquirer/KRT/SIPA USA

Rhéal Cormier is pictured above at Phillies spring training for pitchers and catchers in Clearwater, Florida on February 17, 2006. Cormier, who spent six seasons with the Phillies, died on March 8, 2021 at the age of 53.

Former Philadelphia Phillies reliever Rhéal Cormier, affectionately known as Frenchie, died Monday at the age of 53 after a lengthy cancer battle, according to the team.

Cormier, a native of Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada, had a 16-year MLB career that included a six-year stint as a reliever with the Phillies from 2001-2006, appearing in 363 games for the team. Cormier also played for the Cardinals, Red Sox, Expos and Reds, posting a career ERA of 4.03 over 683 appearances, including 108 starts.

“Rhéal was one of the most vibrant people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing,” former teammate Jim Thome told MLB.com. “He loved baseball, but he always put his family first. Frenchy was the kind of guy who would do anything for you and I’m lucky to have called him my friend for many years. Our time spent together in Philadelphia as teammates was unforgettable. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.”

In 2003, Cormier's best season in Philadelphia, he went 8-0 with a 1.70 ERA. His 84 appearances the following year is a standing Phillies record for left-handers.

A member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Cormier played twice in the Olympics in 1988 and 2008. He also earned U.S. citizenship in 2004 while he was a member of the Phillies.

In January 2020, Cormier was diagnosed with a tumor in his lungs. He later died of pancreatic cancer.

Cormier is survived by his wife Lucienne, son Justin and daughter Morgan. Funeral arrangements are still pending.

Former teammates and friends remembered Cormier on social media. 


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