Jose Lima, one of the most entertaining characters in recent Dodgers history, died early this morning of a heart attack at his home in Los Angeles, according to a report in ESPN Deportes. He was 37.
Lima had not pitched in the majors since going 0-4 for the New York Mets in 2006. As recently as last summer, he was pitching for the Long Beach Armada and hoping for a comeback.
His bid was profiled in Sports Illustrated last summer:
Root for Lima. He deserves it, if only because he is so relentlessly upbeat, embracing the small stage even as he yearns to return to the big one. “Everywhere I go it's Lima Time,” he says. “Time to party, time to feel good. Doesn't matter if it's here or Dodger Stadium.”
Lima's best moment as a Dodger was when he shut out the Cardinals in the 2004 National League Division Series.
ESPN Deportes reports that Lima had recently founded a youth baseball academy in Los Angeles.