Pirates mourn passing of Kimera Bartee

December 21st, 2021

The Pirates joined the baseball world in mourning the sudden passing of Kimera Bartee, who died on Monday at the age of 49.

“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the sudden passing of Kimera Bartee,” said Pirates chairman, Bob Nutting. “He was a great person, whose upbeat attitude and infectious smile would always lift the spirits of anyone who interacted with him.  Our hearts go out to his family, whom he loved so much.  He was much too young and will be dearly missed.”

Bartee, who most recently served as the Tigers’ first-base coach, spent 12 seasons in the Pirates organization, mostly in its farm system. He served nine years (2008-2016) serving the Pirates as their Minor League outfield/baserunning coordinator, in addition to managing State College in the New York-Penn League in ‘11, as he guided the likes of former Pittsburgh stars including Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte.

"I’m speechless," McCutchen wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. "We just talked 2 days ago. I’m so sad for his kids. Life is precious. Gonna miss you bro. This doesn’t even seem real."

The club promoted Bartee, a native of Omaha, Neb., to the big league staff in 2017 as the first-base and outfield coach, a position he held through ‘19 before moving to the Phillies then the Tigers.

Bartee, who had an upbeat personality and positive outlook, was immensely respected by the players he coached. After former Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson won the 2018 NL Gold Glove Award in left field, he presented one of his gold-accented Rawlings gloves to Bartee the following Spring Training as a tribute to his coach’s impact on his game.

“This one won’t be touched, by the way. I won’t be using this,” Bartee said at the time. “For him to just let me take this, I am extremely humbled to accept this.”

As a player, Bartee was selected in the 14th round of the 1993 Draft by the Orioles. He spent time at all three outfield positions during his 12-year career, playing in 243 Major League games over six seasons with Detroit (1996-99), Cincinnati (2000) and Colorado (2001).

Bartee is survived by his father Jerry, his fiancé Terri and his children Andrew, Amari and Taeja.