Wednesday, April 17

Ex-MLB pitcher Odalis Pérez, 44, found dead at Dominican Republic home after ‘falling off stairs’


Former MLB pitcher Odalis Pérez died Thursday night at the age of 44 after falling down a flight of stairs at his home in the Dominican Republic.

Pérez was reportedly found in his Santo Domingo residence by his brother, Cristián Pérez, several neighbors and a business associate named Ramón Caridad, with whom Pérez had been running a local youth baseball academy.

Caridad told DailyMail.com on Friday that Pérez was apparently walking up from the first floor of his home to a terrace area when he suffered the fatal fall. 

Several American outlets reported that Pérez fell off a ladder, which may have been a discrepancy in a direct translation, Caridad said.

Erick Almonte, who also played in the majors and is now the president of the Dominican Federation of Professional Baseball Players, told Diario Libre that Pérez had suffered a heart attack.

An autopsy report is still pending, Pérez’s lawyer, Walin Batista, told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.

‘This is unfortunate,’ Batista said.

Pérez had a 72-82 record in 252 appearances, including 211 starts during his 10-year career. 

Former major leaguer Odalis Pérez died Thursday at his home in the Dominican Republic after he reportedly suffered a heart attack and fell off a ladder.

Former major leaguer Odalis Pérez died Thursday at his home in the Dominican Republic after he reportedly suffered a heart attack and fell off a ladder.

Footage showed neighbors surrounding the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic home of Odalis Pérez after he was found dead Thursday evening

Footage showed neighbors surrounding the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic home of Odalis Pérez after he was found dead Thursday evening

Above, Odalis Pérez starts the first game in Nationals Park history for the Washington Nationals

Above, Odalis Pérez starts the first game in Nationals Park history for the Washington Nationals

He made his Major League Baseball debut at the age of 20 with the Atlanta Braves in September 1998.

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The lefty became the first pitcher in MLB history to earn his first career win in the postseason against the Chicago Cubs in Game 2 of the 1998 National League Division Series.  

Pérez was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in January 2002 for Gary Sheffield.

He was selected to his first and only All-Star game in his first season with the Dodgers.

‘Deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Odalis Perez at just 44, a fun guy & heck of a pitcher,’ former Dodgers general manager Dan Evans tweeted. ‘Enjoyed getting to know him when we were (with the) @Dodgers together after someone traded for him.’

Odalis Pérez made his lone All-Star game appearance as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002

Odalis Pérez made his lone All-Star game appearance as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002

Former Dodgers GM Dan Evans traded for the late Odalis Pérez prior to the 2002 season

Former Dodgers GM Dan Evans traded for the late Odalis Pérez prior to the 2002 season

In 2006, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals before the trade July 31 deadline and became a free agent following the 2007 season.

Pérez signed with the Washington Nationals ahead of the 2008 season and started the first ever game at Nationals Park.

Following the season, the veteran pitcher declined a one-year offer from the Nationals. He deemed the incentive-laden offer an insult and never pitched again in the majors.  

Odalis Pérez (foreground center) founded a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic following his 10-year career in the majors

Odalis Pérez (foreground center) founded a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic following his 10-year career in the majors

Pérez did not pitch during the 2009 season and returned to the mound with the Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League. He appeared in nine games, making five starts, during the 2010-2011 and 2011-12 seasons.

Caridad told DailyMail.com that he and Pérez founded the Odalis Pérez and Ramon Caridad Baseball Academy about eight years after the big leaguer was approached about working with two teenage pitchers from San Francisco de Macoris.

‘Odalis was a leader of life for the youngsters of the sport. A warrior, fighter of the youth,’ Caridad said.

He was involved with the academy until his death Thursday. 

Baseball Hall of Fame president Josh Rawitch, who was a member of the Dodgers communications staff during Pérez’s time with the team, lamented his friend’s sudden passing. 

‘Another joyous ballplayer gone too soon. Odalis Pérez was always kind to me, as we were close in age coming up at the Dodgers,’ Rawitch tweeted. ‘I randomly ran into him at this restaurant in the DR in 2013 and never thought it would be the last time I’d see him. Prayers to his family and friends.’ 

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