Baseball loses a character in Lima

Jose Lima is remembered for winning 21 games for the Houston Astros in 1999, earning him All-Star honors while finishing fourth in the AL Cy Young voting.

Just as famously, he’s remembered for the following season, when he posted a 7-16 record with a 6.65 ERA.

But he’s probably best remembered for the phrase, "It’s Lima Time."

Lima passed away Sunday morning at the age of 37. His wife said the cause of death was a heart attack.

I always thought Lima seemed like one of the more entertaining characters in the game, someone who seemed a little out of place during the present era, when professional athletes utter cliches and anything else agents tell them.

And I think he really loved the game. Of course, the money was great. But here was a guy that just last season was pitching for Long Beach and Edmonton in the Golden Baseball League. You won’t find too many former 20-game winners willing to do that.

The funniest Lima story I came across was in a blog post from Sports Illustrated columnist and former Kansas City Star columnist Joe Posnanski.

Posnanski covered Lima when he was with the Kansas City Royals in 2003. The Royals, if you remember, were leading the AL Central through the first half of the season. Lima posted an 8-3 record for the upstart Royals that year.

Here’s the excerpt:

And of course, being Jose Lima, he was awesome, he’s still one of my three favorite kooks in sports. The next year, one Royals employee went to the Dominican to scout some games or whatever. And in the middle of the day, he hears someone call his name. He turns around and it’s Jose Lima … WEARING A FULL ROYALS UNIFORM. Everything. Pants. Socks. The whole bit. During the offseason. In the middle of the day. In the Dominican Republic.

Hilarious stuff. Rest in peace, Jose Lima.

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