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Former Phillie Rheal Cormier passes away at 53


Rheal Cormier was one of the best Phillies relievers of the 2000s. (Gary Rothstein/Icon SMI)

Former Phillie Rheal Cormier passed away at the age of 53 on Monday after a battle with cancer.

A 16-year major-league veteran, Cormier spent six seasons with the Phillies. His best season with the team came in 2003 when he posted a 1.70 ERA over 82 2/3 innings as a late-inning reliever.

He has a unique place in franchise history as the last Phillies pitcher to record a victory at Veterans Stadium (Sept. 27, 2003 against Atlanta) and the first Phillie to win a game at Citizens Bank Park (April 15, 2004 against Cincinnati).

“Rheal was one of the most vibrant people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing,” said Jim Thome, a teammate of Cormier’s for two seasons. “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.”

Cormier was beloved by his teammates during his playing career. Former Phillies pitchers Dan Plesac and Brett Myers were among those to pay tribute to Cormier on social media.

Ben Silver contributed to this report.

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