Former Tampa Bay shortstop Julio Lugo, who starred for the team just prior to their ascendance in the American League East, has died according to a report from ESPN’s Enrique Rojas at the age of 45.
Julio Lugo’s family told me of the death of the former MLB player, presumably due to a heart attack.
Lugo was 45 years old.#RIP
— Enrique Rojas/ESPN (@Enrique_Rojas1) November 15, 2021
Lugo joined the then-Devil Rays as a free agent in 2003 after being released by the Houston Astros, and became a mainstay in the Tampa Bay infield for four seasons, missing just nine games total in the two full years he played with the Rays. He played 505 games in a Tampa Bay uniform, amassing a slash line of .287/.350/.421 with 40 home runs, 212 RBI and 88 stolen bases. He was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline in 2006 before signing a four year, $36 million contract with the Boston Red Sox.
He helped Boston win the 2007 World Series by hitting .385 in their four-game sweep over the Colorado Rockies, but played in just 82 games in 2008, and was traded to St. Louis in the middle of the 2009 season. He finished the year with the Cardinals, then played for the Baltimore Orioles in 2010 and wrapped up his major league career with 22 games as an Atlanta Brave in 2011.
The Rays expressed their condolences on Lugo’s death on social media.
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. pic.twitter.com/7EiQkxTe9T
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) November 15, 2021