Detroit Tigers first base coach Kimera Bartee dies suddenly at age 49

Bartee played for Tigers from 1996-1999

First base coach Kimera Bartee #18 of the Detroit Tigers looks on from the dugout during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park on August 1, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Mark Cunningham, 2021 Getty Images)

DETROITKimera Bartee, the first base coach and a former player for the Detroit Tigers, died suddenly Monday at the age of 49, the team revealed.

“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,” general manager Al Avila said in a statement. “While Tigers fans got used to seeing him in the first base coach’s box, Kimera’s impact on our ball club went far deeper and will be sorely missed.”

“Like many across baseball, I was devastated by the news of Kimera’s passing,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said in a statement. “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. 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 fiancé, father, and son.”

Bartee played outfield for the Tigers from 1996-1999, batting .227 with four home runs and 12 doubles across 220 games. He also had brief stints with the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies in 2000 and 2021, respectively.

Before joining Hinch’s staff in 2021, Bartee coached for three years with the Pittsburgh Pirates and one year with the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.