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DeLeón, who led NL in K's in 1989, dies at 63

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Published in Baseball
Monday, 26 February 2024 13:09

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- José DeLeón, a major league pitcher for 13 seasons who led the National League in strikeouts for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1989, has died. He was 63.

Los Leones del Escogido, DeLeón's team in the Dominican Winter League, said he died Sunday evening at a hospital in Santo Domingo. The team said DeLeón had health issues; it did not give further information.

DeLeón was 86-119 with a 3.76 ERA in 264 starts and 151 relief appearances for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1983-86), Chicago White Sox (1986-87, 1993-95), St. Louis (1988-92), Philadelphia Phillies (1992-93) and Montreal Expos (1995). The right-hander struck out 1,594 in 1,897 innings.

He topped the NL with 201 strikeouts in 1989 and tied for the NL lead with 19 losses in 1985 and 1990.

Selected by the Pirates in the third round of the 1979 amateur draft, DeLeón made his major league debut on July 23, 1983, striking out nine over eight innings in a 5-2 win over visiting San Francisco.

DeLeón finished 7-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 15 starts and was seventh in voting for NL Rookie of the Year, an award won by the New York Mets' Darryl Strawberry.

DeLeón was traded to the White Sox in July 1986 for Bobby Bonilla, who earned four consecutive All-Star Game selections with Pittsburgh from 1988 to 1991.

DeLeón made his only postseason appearances in 1993, allowing one run over 4 innings in a pair of AL Championship Series relief appearances against the Toronto Blue Jays.

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