Jerry Remy, who started his career in Major League Baseball as a scrappy second baseman before becoming the voice of the Boston Red Sox, has died of cancer. He would have turned 69 next week.
WCVB television in Boston reported he died Saturday night amid his seventh battle with cancer. He first was diagnosed in 2008.
Remy was diagnosed with lung cancer after he experienced shortness of breath during Boston’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on June 4. The former Boston infielder left his role as the color analyst for Red Sox games on NESN on Aug. 4 to seek treatment.
On Oct. 5, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch in the American League wild-card game between the Red Sox and New York Yankees in his final appearance at Fenway Park.
“We are saddened by the loss of a beloved player, broadcaster and 13-year cancer warrior,” Red Sox owner John Henry said in a statement. “Jerry’s love and connection to baseball didn’t allow anything to stand between the game and him, including for many years cancer. He devoted his entire career to baseball and whether from his seat in the clubhouse or his perch above the field in the broadcast booth, he took generations of rising Red Sox stars and a multitude of fans along for the ride with him.”
A Massachusetts native, Remy played baseball at Somerset High School. The Washington Senators selected him in the 19th round of the MLB draft in 1970 but he didn’t sign. The California Angels picked him in the 1971 MLB January draft-secondary phase when he was attending Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.
He debuted with the Angels in 1975, and although he didn’t hit for power, he gave a spark to a franchise in the doldrums. He spent three seasons in Anaheim, hitting .258 with 50 doubles, five home runs and 118 RBIs.
The Angels traded Remy to his hometown Red Sox in December 1977 for pitcher Don Aase and cash, and he was an All-Star in his first season in Boston in 1978.
In all, he spent seven seasons with the Red Sox, batting .286 with two homers and 211 RBIs. A knee injury limited him to 30 games in 1984, and the Red Sox released him in 1985. He ended his career having played 1,154 games with a career average of .275 and 208 stolen bases.
NESN hired Remy in 1988 as a color analyst, and in his post-MLB days, he also became a local restaurant owner.
Remy was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2006.
Fans and former teammates paid tribute Sunday on social media.
“I lost a great teammate and friend today,” tweeted former American League MVP Fred Lynn, who played with Remy in Boston. “A true gamer and important part of all of Red Sox Nation. R.I.P. Remdog.”
Tom Caron, who worked with Remy at NESN, said he was “having trouble finding the words to describe what the loss of Jerry means to me, and to all of us who love the Red Sox.”
“He was insightful, funny, and courageous,” Caron tweeted. “It was an honor to call him my friend. We will miss him terribly.”
Remy is survived by his wife, Phoebe, and three children.