(12-21-21) Former Grand Lake Mariners Kimera Bartee passed away suddenly on Monday. Bartee was visiting his father in Omaha, Nebraska, for the holidays when he collapsed. His family is in the process of making funeral arrangements. He is survived by his father Jerry, his fiancé Terri and children Andrew, Amari and Taeja.

Bartee played for the Mariners in 1991, the second season for the Mariners organization. While in Celina during his one season he lived with the Grubaugh (Bob and Sue) and worked at OVISCO.

He played his college ball at Creighton.

Bartee was the current Detroit Tigers 1st base coach. His major career icluded stops at the Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies from 1996 to 2001. He coached starting in 2017 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies, before rejoining the Tigers organization in 2021.

Statement from Al Avila, Detroit Tigers Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager

All of us in the Tigers baseball family were shocked and saddened to learn that first base coach Kimera Bartee suddenly passed away on Monday at the age of 49. Throughout his time in our organization as both a player and coach, Kimera was known as a kind soul but intense competitor who did his best every day to elevate those around him to do great things. While Tigers fans got used to seeing him in the first base coach’s box, Kimera’s impact on our ballclub went far deeper and will be sorely missed. In speaking with Kimera’s father, Jerry Bartee, we offered our condolences and support to his family. The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the organization are with Kimera’s family and friends, and his memory and spirit will never be forgotten.

Statement from A.J. Hinch, Detroit Tigers Manager

Like many across baseball, I was devastated by the news of Kimera’s passing. From the start of spring training last year, it was clear that “KB” was the epitome of a player’s coach, having an uncanny ability to build deep connections with anyone from a rookie to a 10-year veteran. I was proud of his selflessness and adaptability when he quickly shifted to the Major League staff last season, and how excited he was about the bright future he had in both baseball and life. The sport has lost an amazing man, but more importantly his family has lost a loving fiancé, father, and son.