|Former Atlanta pitcher dies
Following the 1998 season, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays selected LeRoy in the Major League Expansion draft. Soon thereafter, he experienced his first blood clot in his pitching arm. On May 14th, 1999 LeRoy left the Devil Rays organization to rehabilitate his arm. He began his comeback in 2000 with the New Jersey Jackals in the Northern League East, where his performance (3.34 ERA, .200 opponent batting average) convinced the Cincinnati Reds to purchase his contract and give him a late-season trial at Class AA Chattanooga. Following his release from the Reds, the Explorers acquired his rights from the Jackals and had designs on the right-hander anchoring the pitching staff.
LeRoy looked dominant in Spring Training for the X’s. In six innings pitched, he allowed one run and fanned six while yielding just three hits. That dominance spilled over into his X’s regular season debut on May 26th vs. Lincoln, when he struck out eight in 5.2 innings.
After that outing, however, he developed muscular pain. He made one more appearance for the Explorers, a relief stint on June 6th, and complained of numbness in his pitching arm. After visiting a circulation specialist, LeRoy felt comfortable and chose to have corrective surgery performed here in Sioux City at Mercy Medical Center. From doctors’ reports, the Explorers expected LeRoy to return to the team in a month.
On Friday June 22nd, LeRoy experienced what was originally believed to be a fatal aneurysm. An aneurysm occurs when a weakness in a vessel or artery causes a rupture, which leads to bleeding. Aneurysms are spontaneous events which occur without prior notice. His aneurysm was completely unrelated to his previous circulatory condition. LeRoy passed away Monday afternoon.
John Michael LeRoy was born on April 19, 1975 in Bellevue, Washington and made his off-season residence in Lake Havasu, Arizona. He is survived by his wife, Aleata, two young children and his parents. The funeral will be in the state of Washington, where Explorers representatives will be on hand for services.
The Explorers have set up a Memorial Fund in John LeRoy’s name for his family. Donations to the fund may be sent to either the Sioux City or Sergeant Bluff locations of Pioneer Bank in the name of LeRoy’s family.