On Monday afternoon, the family of Erie SeaWolves catcher Chace Numata announced the heartbreaking news that the 27-year-old minor-leaguer had passed away.
Numata had experienced head injuries following a fall while skateboarding on Friday, and his teammates from the SeaWolves and all through the Tigers organization had rallied around him, praying for a speedy recovery.
His family released the following statement regarding his tragic passing:
“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”
It is not believed that an automobile was involved in Chace’s accident, as nearby security camera footage showed him falling from his board in the early morning hours. The SeaWolves had just played their last home game on Thursday evening.
SeaWolves owner Fernando Aguirre released a statement on behalf of the Double-A club.
“The Erie SeaWolves are heartbroken and deeply saddened by the passing of Chace Numata. Chace was a leader, an outstanding teammate, a friend to many, and his personality was positive and infectious. He made everyone he met feel welcome, and he had a very positive impact throughout the SeaWolves organization and the Erie community. We extend our sympathies to the Numata Ohana and have them in our thoughts and prayers. RIP Chace.”
The Detroit Tigers, who signed Numata to a minor league deal last November, issued the following statement upon learning of his passing.
“The Detroit Tigers are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Chace Numata, who was a catcher for our Double A affiliate in Erie. Though this was his first year with our organization, Chace was beloved by many from our Major League club through all levels of our player development system. 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.”
We at Bless You Boys echo these sentiments, sending our thoughts and prayers to the Numata family, Chace’s friends and fellow players, and everyone touched by this tragic loss.
There is a GoFundMe that was established to help with Chace’s medical bills, and the funds raised will go towards helping the Numata family during this difficult time. Consider donating here.