|Gone too soon; Chace Numata (left) w/ the late Roy Halladay, image- Jay Floyd|
Numata, a switch-hitting Hawaii native, was originally a 14th round draft selection by the Phillies in 2010. He was named an All-Star with Class A Lakewood in 2013 and with Class A Advanced Clearwater in 2016. He would play in the Phils organization through the 2017 and left to free agency, later playing in the Yankees system and then this year with the Tigers organization.
In 77 combined games this season at Triple-A and Double-A, the 27-year-old has tallied a .244 average with four home runs and 28 RBI.
Per a release from the Erie Seawolves, Numata's family issued the following statement: It is with deep sorrow that the Numata Ohana announces that Chace Kekoa Kenji Numata, our beloved son, brother, and a friend to all, has passed away on September 2nd, 2019. Chace was a 27 year old, switch-hitting catcher from Pearl City, Hawaii that was blessed with the opportunity to professionally play the sport he loved for the Phillies, Yankees, and Tigers organizations for over ten seasons. Everyone who was around Chace knew there was never a stranger in the room when he was there. It didn't matter if you were a professional athlete or young child, he made sure to make everyone feel comfortable and welcomed. His smile was contagious, unrelenting, and never ending, while his personality could light up any environment he would be in. Our family would like to say Mahalo nui loa to everyone who prayed for, thought of, and acknowledged Chace during this difficult time. We heard you and we appreciate you all from the bottom of our hearts! #FORNUMI
During my time covering Chace, I know that the men lucky enough to be his teammates were very fond of him. I feel that in dealing with me, he was always among the most respectful guys I would talk with.
I exchanged text messages with Chace's manager with Lakewood, former Phillies All-Star Mickey Morandini. On Chace, Morandini had the following to say: Great kid. Hard worker. We thought he has a chance to be a big league catcher. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see him play much due to injuries.
I also heard from one of Chace's many battery mates, Phils minor league pitcher Tyler Viza, who shared this: He genuinely lived the life he wanted to live. He loved everybody he came across on and off the field and he was the best teammate to have in the clubhouse. I’m incredibly saddened that he has passed away but he certainly has left his mark with me and will always be a part of my life.
|Numata (center), embraces Tyler Viza, image- Jay Floyd|
The ballpark was always a better place to be because of Chace.
Chace Numata will be missed.
To read a 2017 interview I did with Chace where he talks about leading the Phillies in batting average during spring training and the time he caught the late Roy Halladay in a rehab appearance, click this link and check out the media player below for video of a chat I had with Chace when he and the BlueClaws hosted the 2013 Sally League All-Star Game.
Greatest player to be around on and off the field. Made sure everyone around him was as happy as he was. Love you brother https://t.co/1Z4Ctua9li— Jeff Singer (@Gunsinger12) September 2, 2019
Chace Numata I love you bro. I’ll never forget the value and the positive energy u shared. I’ll never forget the value you brought to the people around you. I still remember the convo we had that helped turned things around for the both of us... 😢Mahalo brotha rip 🤙🏾 #numi— ZEKE (@colli_zach) September 2, 2019
Thankful to have known you Chace. There was never a dull moment and never a time you didn’t have us all laughing. You will be greatly missed by anyone who knew you! RIP Numi! #ForNumi pic.twitter.com/9fuavyZR6h— Addison Russ (@RadAdd18) September 2, 2019
As simple as you can put it, Chace was one of the good ones. Always positive, always energetic, and without a doubt would brighten your day every time you had the opportunity to interact with him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. RIP Numi🙏🏼 https://t.co/FgxT0QrSi9— Mickey Moniak (@MickeyMoniak) September 2, 2019
The Yankees are saddened to learn of the sudden passing of former Yankee Chace Numata. Chace was beloved by his teammates and coaches throughout our system. We offer our condolences to the Numata family. pic.twitter.com/2u5gipMqpN— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 2, 2019
The Trenton Thunder are saddened to learn of the passing of catcher Chace Numata.— Trenton Thunder (@TrentonThunder) September 2, 2019
Please consider supporting the Numata family: https://t.co/9grOAvqPAH
Statement: https://t.co/nQV3ZUQvYl pic.twitter.com/Ra2gYPxuHr
Man such a sad day for the baseball world 😞😞 Chace was an amazing person and brought such a great vibe wherever he was at. Truly will be missed. Prayers out to the Numata family during this tough time🙏🏽🙏🏽 https://t.co/g44Ypw3LnU— Jojo Romero (@jojothejet6) September 2, 2019
Chace you were one of the best teammates I’ve had. You were one of the nicest human beings. Rest In Peace 😔🙏🏽 https://t.co/W9kIlg40k2— jp crawford (@jp_crawford) September 2, 2019