Jean Ramirez DEAD By Suicide: Rays Bullpen Catcher Dies At 28

Rays bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez died by suicide, according to his wife Karen.

She posted on Facebook that he shot himself Friday night in front of family members at their home in Davenport, Fla., near Orlando. He was 28. The Rays did not immediately offer comment or confirmation of the death. Ramirez left behind two young sons, ages 4 and 6.

Karen Ramirez wrote that she had become concerned when her husband did not come to pick up their kids Friday evening after his day job at the Rays’ spring training facility in Port Charlotte, Fla., where he also ran a baseball clinic for children every weekend. Her brother-in-law went looking for Jean at his mother’s house. He found Ramirez in the garage with a gunshot wound to the head. Jean was taken to a hospital in nearby Leesburg, Fla., but died early Saturday.

“He loved being around kids,” Karen wrote in her post. “He would always help anyone that needed help or ask if he could pray for them.”

Karen Ramirez wrote that her husband had been battling depression recently. “He was so full of life, love, and always ready to help anyone in need,” she said. “He was a happy-go-lucky and an amazing man.”

Jean Ramirez spent the past five seasons as a bullpen catcher for the Rays. Before that, he worked with the Astros, Cubs, and Marlins organizations. The Washington Nationals released him in 2012 during spring training, though the team issued a statement calling it “a terrible accident.” Police told Karen Ramirez that Jean had accidentally shot himself while handling his gun.

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Jean was born in Miami to Cuban parents before they moved back to the island when he was 6 years old. He returned to the U.S. at 16, graduated from high school in Dade City, Fla., and went on to study at St Petersburg College.

He played catcher for his hometown Pasco High School Terriers, where he also coached before being signed professionally by the Astros out of college. He began working as a bullpen catcher with Houston in 2009. He had his own baseball training business called J/R Baseball on Facebook.

“Jean was a great guy,” former Astros coach Alex Cintron told the Tampa Bay Times . “He’s worked with me for four years, so I knew him for five years and he always did his job professionally.”

A Pasco High graduate told the Times that Ramirez helped her improve her swing when she was a pitcher in high school, giving up softball after she graduated to focus on his own training company.

“He taught me how to do so many things,” said Tanner English, who is now a junior at Florida State. “I know he worked with kids because he had two little boys. He was amazing, always smiling and laughing.”

“I remember how much he loved my kids,” Karen Ramirez wrote in her Facebook post. “His boys were his world. He was a great father and an amazing husband.”

Cintron told the newspaper that Jean also loved to fish and spend time with his wife, their two children and his mother, who he lived with.

“He was a positive person,” Cintron said .”It’s hard to believe what happened.”

Karen Ramirez wrote that she has set up a Gofundme account to raise funds for her husband’s funeral. A memorial service is planned for Saturday night at Pasco High.

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