Southern Brooklyn

Julio Lugo, Fort Hamilton alum and World Series champ, dies at 45

November 17, 2021 Jaime DeJesus
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Former Major League Baseball player Julio Lugo died in the Dominican Republic Nov. 15, two days before his 46th birthday.

Lugo’s death was presumably due to a heart attack, according to ESPN.

The speedy shortstop grew up in Sunset Park and attended Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge. He was selected in the 43rd round of the 1994 amateur draft by the Houston Astros, for whom he played from 2000 to 2003. He also spent time with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves. He won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2007. 

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The Dominican Republic’s Julio Lugo celebrates after hitting a double during a Caribbean Series baseball game against Venezuela at Quisqueya Stadium in Santo Domingo in 2012. AP photo/Fernando Llano

In 1,352 major league games from 2000 to 2011, Lugo hit .269 with 80 home runs, 688 runs scored, 475 RBIs and 198 stolen bases.

Lugo’s brother Ruddy, who pitched for Xaverian H.S., was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1999. He and Julio both played for Tampa Bay in 2006.

Vincent Laino, a former physical education teacher and football coach at Fort Hamilton, said Lugo was “class all the way.”

“A kind, friendly, respectful young man blessed with outstanding athletic ability,” Laino said. “I wish he played football. It would have been a joy to have coached him. We at Tiger football are saddened by this tragedy and deeply mourn his passing.”

Former Fort Hamilton teammate Stephen Florio said, “Dude was a stud in high school … I just knew there was something special about him. He was different and knew he was going somewhere. There were always scouts at our games.”

Fort Hamilton High School Eagle Urban Media/file photo

“As a fellow graduate of Fort Hamilton High School, I am deeply saddened by the recent death of Major League Baseball player Julio Lugo,” said Ted General, public relations director for the school’s alumni association. “It was shocking to learn this superb ballplayer, perhaps one of the school’s best, died at such a young age.”

“We are very sorry to learn about the loss of Julio Lugo,” the school told this paper. “We celebrate his success at Fort Hamilton in the early 1990s followed by his success in college and Major League Baseball. He made the most of his talents and opportunities. Our condolences to the Lugo family and sorrow that his life was cut short.”

Sports journalist Héctor Gómez tweeted that the day before Lugo died, he gave advice to young baseball players at La Javilla Academy in the Dominican Republic

“You must have discipline, work hard, make an effort, respect older people, go to school, behave well and give 100 percent to get to MLB with the help of God,” Lugo told the players.

Julio Lugo, left, with Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora before an alumni game in Fenway Park in 2018. AP photo/Michael Dwyer

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