Hector Ortiz, Rangers coach and former MLB catcher, dead at 54


Hector Ortiz, a former MLB catcher and coach in the Texas Rangers organization, has died after a battle with cancer, the team announced on Wednesday. He was 54.

The Rangers released a statement on Ortiz’s passing. He served as a coach on the Rangers’ minor league player development staff and served on the MLB staff from 2015 to 2020 in various roles, including first base coach, bullpen coach and catching coordinator.

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Texas Rangers first base coach Hector Ortiz, #4, walks through the dugout talking with players during a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

“Mr. Ortiz was a beloved member of the Texas Rangers organization who had an enormous impact as a teacher of the game, a mentor to players and staff, and a loyal friend to so many,” the team said. “He brought a positive attitude and spirit to the ballpark each and every day, and his influence on the Rangers’ baseball operations department will not soon be forgotten.

“His courageous fight of more than three years against cancer inspired Rangers coach Bobby Wilson to design a blue hoodie with a Texas-inspired catcher’s mask and ‘Hector Strong’ on the sleeve with proceeds of the hoodie sales going to support families battling cancer.”

Hector Ortiz vs Twins

Hector Ortiz, #4 of the Texas Rangers, looks on during the game against the Minnesota Twins on Aug. 3, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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Ortiz made his MLB debut in 1998 with the Kansas City Royals. He played four games that season and scored one run in four plate appearances.

He resurfaced with the Royals in 2000 and 2001, receiving more playing time. He hit .293 with 16 RBI in 86 games.

He was with the Rangers in 2002 but was released in July of that year. He was a part of a few different organizations after that before he retired from the sport.

Hector Ortiz remembered

Fans stand for a moment of silence for Héctor Ortiz, a former coach in the Texas Rangers organization who died Wednesday due to cancer, before a spring training baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Rangers on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Surprise, Arizona. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

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“The Rangers send their thoughts and prayers to Hector’s wife Elaine, children Christian, Rian, and Logan, and all his friends and family at their loss. He will not be forgotten,” the team said.



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