Damaso Garcia, former MLB All-Star, dead at 63

Damaso Garcia, former MLB All-Star, dead at 63

Damaso Garcia, a two-time All-Star and former Yankees second baseman, died Wednesday at 63, in his native Dominican Republic.

Garcia, who was signed by the Yankees in 1975 as an amateur free agent and began his 11-year major league career began in The Bronx in 1978, played in just 29 games with the Yankees before being traded to Toronto. Garcia finished fourth in the 1980 A.L. Rookie of the Year voting and spent seven seasons with the Blue Jays, earning All-Star honors in 1984 and 1985.

After finishing his career with the Expos in 1989, Garcia was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was told he may have only six months to live. He underwent surgery and chemotherapy, and encountered speech and mobility issues, but later ran a baseball camp in the Dominican Republic serving children suffering from hemophilia, a disorder affecting his son.

The cause of the elder Garcia’s death was not disclosed.

“It is a sad day for the Dominican baseball community,” Erick Almonte, the president of the Dominican national player federation, told ESPN.

In addition to winning an A.L. Silver Slugger award in 1982, Garcia — who was a .career 283 hitter in 3,914 at-bats — helped the Blue Jays clinch their first playoff berth in 1985, alongside Dominican shortstop Tony Fernandez, who died of pneumonia in February.

“In this short span of time, we have suffered the loss of our greatest double-play combination of the ’80s,” said Domingo Pichardo, president of the Dominican winter ball club. “We are very sad.”

The Yankees traded Garcia, along with Chris Chambliss and Paul Mirabella, to the Blue Jays for Tom Underwood, Rick Cerone and Ted Wilborn.

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