‘Dearly loved’ baseball player dies after collapsing at match

Herts Raptors' baseball player Kal Dimitrov
Herts Raptors' baseball player Kal Dimitrov
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Family and friends have paid tribute to Herts Baseball Club member Kal Dimitrov, who died suddenly during a match on Sunday.

Essex and Herts Air Ambulance and East of England Ambulance Service were called to Townmead Leisure Park, in Waltham Abbey at 2.10pm after Mr Dimitrov, 43, collapsed during a match between the Essex Archers and Hemel side Herts Raptors.

After receiving treatment at the scene Mr Dimitrov was taken by ground ambulance to The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, but died that afternoon.

For more than a decade Mr Dimitrov, co-manager of the Herts Raptors, was a catcher, coach, umpire and manager for Herts Baseball Club.

He was well known for being one of the cornerstones for the sport and his death has led to an outpouring of tributes.

His brother Aspi, who is club president of Herts Raptors, said: “My family will find it difficult to recover from this, but all the messages of support give us great comfort.

“I also want to thank everyone at the Essex Archers, my Herts Raptors team mates and the ambulance crew who did everything they could to help Kal on Sunday, and members of Herts Baseball Club who have been coming every day to our home to check on us.

“My family is grateful to you all. I miss my brother.”

Rob Jones, of Herts Baseball Club, added:“Kal Dimitrov was a dearly-loved friend to us.

“His character, humour and spirit lifted every baseball occasion, and he inspired and encouraged countless players. We will miss him dreadfully.

“Our thoughts are with Kal’s family, including his brothers Aspi and Ilya who also have such a place at the heart of our baseball club.”

A memorial service for Mr Dimitrov will be held on Saturday (July 11) at Herts Baseball Club at Grovehill Ballpark.

Well-wishers are asked to bring baseball shirts to be laid out in the shape of a diamond.

As a mark of respect on Sunday a minute’s silence will be observed before the start matches in memory of Mr Dimitrov.