Jose Lima died today of an apparent heart attack, according to several sources.
A lot of fans who had to watch him pitch weren’t fond of him, and with good reason: he wasn’t a great pitcher, except for a few outlier seasons. But his charisma and love of the game exuded from every pore. It was hard not to like him.
Dodger fans loved him. In 2004, he became a personality for a disembodied franchise. He became the Dodgers identity. They were fun, hilarious, care-free (even with Milton Bradley on the team). He sang the National Anthem. He stared with a huge grin on his face into the camera and proclaimed it “Lima Time” when he pitched. It was a little frightening, but how could you not like him?
The Dodgers made the playoffs that year and promptly lost to the Cardinals in the NLDS in four games. Lima Time earned the Dodgers their only playoff victory in the series and their first playoff win since 1988.
I’m thankful for Lima Time for that, and for reminding us that baseball is a glorious, fun game.
Thank you, Jose. You will be missed.