A World Series champion is dead at the age of 45, according to reports.
Julio Lugo’s family confirmed that the beloved former Boston Red Sox shortstop died from a heart attack.
A successful MLB career
The Dominican Republic-born athlete helped his team beat the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 World Series. He had a .237 batting average during the regular season but boosted that number to .385 during the championship series.
Upon his retirement in 2011, his record included 80 home runs, 198 stolen bases, and an overall batting average of .269.
Lugo’s professional baseball career began in 2000 with the Houston Astros, which picked him up in the 43rd round of the 1994 MLB Draft. He was playing at Connors State College in Oklahoma at the time he was drafted. The Astros dropped him from the lineup in 2003 and he went on to join the Tampa Bay Rays.
In addition to the Red Sox, he also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, and Atlanta Braves.
His death prompted an outpouring of sympathy from fellow athletes and fans alike, many of whom shared their favorite memories of the player.
A lasting legacy
Former third baseman Will Middlebrooks recalled receiving infield lessons from Lugo, tweeting: “Back in 2008 I was in extended spring training getting ready for my first season with the Lowell Spinners. He spent some time with us young kids in Ft. Myers during a rehab assignment. He taught us a lot about infield routines and how to be a professional.”
Outfielder Josh Reddick shared a similar moment, noting that Lugo provided him with helpful advice when he was a young ballplayer.
“The Red Sox mourn the loss of former shortstop and 2007 World Series Champion Julio Lugo,” the franchise tweeted. “We send our thoughts and love to the Lugo family.
In its statement on the matter, the Rays tweeted: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of former Devil Rays shortstop Julio Lugo. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”