How did Kimera Bartee die? Detroit Tigers mourn death of first base coach at 49
Bartee, who was an outfielder in Detroit from 1996 to 1999, had played the next two seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies
Kimera Bartee, a former Major League Baseball outfielder and Detroit Tigers first base coach, died aged 49 on Monday, December 20. The Tigers announced the tragic news a day after Bartee died. However, they did not reveal a cause of death.
While Bartee's cause of death is reportedly unknown, the Tigers were reportedly unaware of any illness he was battling. Tigers general manager Al Avila and manager AJ Hinch have spoken to Bartee's father, Jerry Bartee, and offered the family their support and condolences.
"We mourn the passing of Kimera Bartee, who played for the Tigers from 1996-99 and spent last season as the Tigers first base coach," Detroit Tigers tweeted. They also quoted Tigers general manager Al Avila as saying, "All of us in the Tigers baseball family were shocked and saddened. Throughout his time in our organization as both a player and coach, Kimera was known as a kind soul but intense competitor who did his best every day to elevate those around him to do great things. While Tigers fans got used to seeing him in the first base coach’s box, Kimera’s impact on our ballclub went far deeper and will be sorely missed. In speaking with Kimera’s father, Jerry Bartee, we offered our condolences and support to his family.”
We mourn the passing of Kimera Bartee, who played for the Tigers from 1996-99 and spent last season as the Tigers first base coach. pic.twitter.com/3Lg6G1anAQ— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) December 21, 2021
A statement from Tigers EVP/GM Al Avila: pic.twitter.com/4sy6TjnOZs— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) December 21, 2021
Bartee, who was an outfielder in Detroit from 1996 to 1999, had played the next two seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies. Hailing from Omaha, Nebraska, Bartee played for his hometown Creighton University Bluejays.
During the 2021 season, Bartee was promoted by the Tigers to first-base coach after he was the organization’s roving outfield and baserunning instructor. This is a role he had with Philadelphia Phillies in 2020. Previously, Bartee served as first-base coach for the Pirates Pirates, and was also an outfield and baserunning coordinator for their minor league teams.
“From the start of spring training last year, it was clear that KB was the epitome of a player’s coach, having an uncanny ability to build deep connections with anyone from a rookie to a 10-year veteran,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “I was proud of his selflessness and adaptability when he quickly shifted to the major league staff last season, and how excited he was about the bright future he had in both baseball and life. The sport has lost an amazing man, but more importantly his family has lost a loving fiance, father, and son.”
A statement from Tigers Manager A.J. Hinch: pic.twitter.com/92IgzQKQWr— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) December 21, 2021