The Los Angeles Dodgers will pay tribute to the life of the late pitcher Jose Lima today at Viva Los Dodgers Day prior to the game against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium.
Lima's longtime friend and bandleader Johnny Polanco will perform a set with his Latin band Conjunto Amistad in Lima's honor at 12:15 p.m. in Lot 6. Several of Lima's friends and family members will recount stories of his life while fans will be encouraged to sign a book of memories for his family.
Lima's son, Jose Jr., will throw an honorary first pitch and there will also be an in-game video tribute to Lima, who pitched the Dodgers to their first postseason victory since 1988 with a five-hitter in a 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Oct. 9, 2004.
Lima performed the national anthem and "God Bless America'' at a Dodger game in 2004. Lima's anthem rendition will be shown on DodgerVision before today's game and his version of "God Bless America'' will run during the middle of the seventh inning.
Lima had been planning to perform at a Viva Los Dodgers Day this summer, much like he did at the Viva Los Dodgers festival in 2004 when he pitched for the team.
Lima, who had a 13-5 record for the Dodgers during his lone season with the team in 2004, died May 23 from a heart attack. He was 37.
Lima attended a game at Dodger Stadium two days before his death and received a rousing ovation from the crowd when he was introduced between innings.
Lima had rejoined the Dodger organization in May as a member of the Dodger Alumni Association and was preparing to open a youth baseball academy this summer in Los Angeles to help teach the game to youngsters.
Lima pitched 13 seasons in the major leagues with Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, the Dodgers and the New York Mets. Although his major league career ended in 2006, he continued to pitch professionally until last season, ending his career with the Edmonton Capitals of the independent Golden Baseball League.
"He truly lived his life to the fullest and his personality was simply unforgettable,'' Dodger owner Frank McCourt said upon learning of Lima's death. "He had the ability to light up a room and that's exactly what he did every time I saw him.''