Several years ago after cutting him for the umpteenth time off countless rotisserie baseball squads over my career, I was certain that I would never miss Jose Lima.

But I was wrong.

The 37-year-old former big league pitcher died in his sleep after a “massive” heart attack sometime Sunday morning.

The eccentric thrower, who often referred to his pitching appearances as “Lima Time,” always drew me in with his charisma and passion for his craft.

But what got me to appreciate him even more is when he would go seven strong innings without surrendering a run and striking out eight in the process. I couldn’t click “Add This Player” fast enough on my league’s waiver wire to get him on my team.

And then less then a week later I would always be racing to a computer to drop him off my roster after two consecutive starts where he would give up a dozen runs and not make it out of the third inning, crippling my ERA and WHIP in the process.

Fantasy analysis aside, Lima was one of the great characters on the mound in the line of Mark “The Bird” Fidrych and Roger McDowell. And that’s what I–and baseball people everywhere–will miss most about him.

Lima was the spice of the sport. He’s what made us turn the channel to the ballgame. He’s what made us click the turnstiles. He’s the one that always had us rooting for his cause.

It’s tough for an athlete to be self-promoting and flamboyant and still capture the appreciation of fans everywhere. But Lima excelled at it.

So for a guy who I never thought I’d miss, I find myself wishing he could come back and pitch just a few more games.

After all, baseball can never have enough Lima Time.

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