Former NL Strikeout Leader Jose DeLeon Dead At 63

Pittsburgh Pirates Jose DeLeon

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Former Major League Baseball pitcher José DeLeón, who led the National League with 201 strikeouts as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1989 season, has died at the age of 63 following a battle with cancer, MLB Insider Hector Gomez reported, citing Spanish language journalist Tenchy Rodriguez, on Sunday (February 25).

DeLeón, a Dominican native, compiled an 86-119 win-loss record and 3.76 ERA while recording 1,594 strikeouts in 415 appearances for five MLB teams in 13 seasons including the Cardinals (1988-92), Pittsburgh Pirates (1983-86), Chicago White Sox (1986-87, 1993-95), Philadelphia Phillies (1992-93) and then-Montreal Expos (1995).

DeLeón had an up and down career, initially being selected by the Pirates in the third-round of the 1979 MLB Draft and making his MLB debut during 1983 season. The Dominican native went 7-3 in 15 starts, which included three complete games and finishing seventh among NL Rookie of the Year voting.

DeLeón then led the league in losses with a 2-19 record as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1985, which he matched again as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1990. The right-hander recorded more than 150 strikeouts five ties during his career, which included recording a career-best 208 strikeouts in 1988, one year before his league-leading 201-strikeout season.

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