Tampa Bay Rays Player Jean Ramirez Dies Suddenly at 28

Jean Ramirez, a bullpen catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays, died suddenly on Monday, the team announced. He was 28 years old. The cause of death was not announced, and the team had no further details about Ramirez's passing. 

"We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Jean's family," Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander said in a statement, per the Rays official website. "He was a caring teammate and friend. He exuded so much joy in all he did, and his kind heart was truly a gift to all. As we process this unexpected and difficult loss, we are grateful for the times we shared with Jean."  

Ramirez was selected by the Rays in the 28th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. He spent three seasons in the Rays' Minor League system before being released as a player. In 2019, Ramirez joined the Rays Major League staff as a bullpen catcher. Last year, Ramirez told The Athletic he would like to be a manager, bench coach or coordinator with a Major League team in the future. 

"Jean was an incredible teammate and friend," Rays manager Kevin Cash said in a statement. "He brought so much passion and energy each day to our clubhouse and bullpen, and his love for the Rays and baseball was evident to all who interacted with him. He had the biggest heart and most infectious smile. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Jean will be deeply missed."  

Ramirez played college baseball at the University of Arkansas, Grayson County College and Illinois State University. He was from Puerto Rico and attended high school in the Fort Worth, Texas area. When the Rays played in the World Series in 2020, it was a homecoming for Ramirez as it was played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. 

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"Everybody has been thrilled by what Jean is going to provide," Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder told The Athletic in 2019. "There's a lot more that he brings to the table in terms of feedback given the fact that he's right out of his playing days. He's going to be a tremendous asset to this pitching staff." Ramirez was looking to follow in the footsteps of his father, Carols, a coach who is currently an assistant at Hawaii Pacific University.