Detroit Tigers minor league catcher Chace Numata died on Monday due to injuries that he sustained in a skateboarding accident that occurred last week.
Numata, 27, was found by police early Friday morning in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania, bleeding from his head, and was taken to a hospital.
According to a review of surveillance video, Numata was riding his skateboard at around 2:00 am EST when his board made a sudden stop forcing Numata to fall forward, Erie police Sgt. David Stucke, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“It appears he just fell on the skateboard and landed headfirst on the ground,” Stucke said in the briefing. “It appears he was unconscious as soon as he fell. He was knocked out.”
Numata was referred to as the “heart and soul” of the Erie SeaWolves, which is the Detroit Tigers’ Double-A affiliate team.
“He’s a giver,” SeaWolves outfielder Cam Gibson said back on Sunday. Gibson shared an apartment with Numata.
“He’ll never ask for anything, but he’ll give. Even the small stuff. Me and him will go to Taco Bell at midnight and he forces himself in to pay for it. It’s little stuff like that. He refuses to take from people.
“He’s always dancing, always joking and making light of everything. He’s a bright light in everybody’s life. I can’t tell you the times he’s had heart-to-heart talks with me this year talking to me about what my future holds. Regardless if I’m doing well or doing bad, he’s always there. Numi is the heart and soul of this team. He has more heart and more soul than anybody in this entire organization.”
The Tigers released the following statement:
“Chace was beloved by many from our Major League club through all levels of our player development system,” the Tigers said in a statement Monday. “He had an engaging personality that quickly established him as a leader on and off the field, and his presence will be forever remembered in our organization and beyond. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, teammates and coaches.”