Baseball Canada's 2x Olympian, former big leaguer Rheal Cormier dies at 53

Baseball Canada's 2x Olympian, former big leaguer Rheal Cormier dies at 53
09/03/2021
The left-hander made the Canadian roster for the 1988 Seoul Games and was back 20 years later at Beijing 2008 as the oldest baseball player in those Games.

Former Baseball Canada National Team, Major League Baseball (MLB) and Olympic pitcher Rheal Cormier has passed away aged 53 in New Brunswick.

Cormier was of Acadian descent and was nicknamed Frenchie. He represented Canada for the first time in 1985. He was selected to Canada's U-18 National Team while attending the Community College of Rhode Island.

Cormier made his debut for the Canadian National Team at the 1987 Pan American Games. He starred at the WBSC Baseball Intercontinental Cup 1987, posting a 3-0 record and a 0.67 earned run average. He made the team again at the WBSC Baseball World Cup 1988 and the demonstration tournament of the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

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He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals after the Games and made his MLB debut in 1991. Originally a starting pitcher, he turned into a reliever and appeared in 683 MLB games over 16 seasons. After leaving St Louis, he played for the Boston Red Sox, the Montreal Expos, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cincinnati Reds. He played his final six MLB games in 2007.

He ranks second all-time amongst Canadian pitchers for most MLB games played, trailing only fellow reliever Paul Quantrill, who pitched in 841 games.

Cormier took a chance to represent Canada again at the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006. He also made the team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At age 41, he was the oldest baseball player in the Games.

Cormier was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012.