Corey Phelan, Phillies Minor Leaguer, dies of cancer

October 13th, 2022

Corey Phelan, a left-handed pitcher in the Phillies’ Minor League system, passed away after a battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the Phillies announced Thursday. He was 20 years old.

“The Phillies family is extremely saddened by the tragic passing of Corey Phelan,” read a statement issued Thursday. “Corey’s positive presence and selflessness influenced everyone around him. While he was incredibly passionate about the game of baseball, his love for his family and his strong faith superseded everything else. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, as well as his teammates and staff who were by his side, providing emotional support throughout the course of his courageous battle with cancer.”

The Phillies signed Phelan as an undrafted free agent out of high school in 2020. In his first professional season, he gave up just one run over 9 2/3 relief innings in 2021 for the Rookie-level Phillies of the Florida Complex League. In April of this year, he was diagnosed with cancer.

The following month, Phelan, a native of New York, visited the Phillies when they played the Mets at Citi Field. It was an emotional day during which he and those in the Phillies’ clubhouse spent time together before the game.

“It was awesome. I can’t put into words how awesome it was,” Phelan said later that night. “Every time I can watch them on TV, depending on what channel they are playing on, I watch them and I root for them every game. I love watching them play. They bring my spirits up.”

Phelan’s presence uplifted the Phillies, too. Seeing how courageous he was in his fight, they saw things with a different perspective.

“He is going through some hard times right now,” Aaron Nola said after Phelan’s visit. “The hard times that we go through in baseball doesn’t compare to what he is going through. The positivity that he showed — his faith and belief that God has it under control. Obviously, it shows what kind of person that he is, what kind of man he is. The guys in the clubhouse saw that.”

“Corey is and will always be a special person,” said Phillies director of player development Preston Mattingly. “His smile lit up a room and anybody who came in contact with him cherished the interaction. His memory will live on, especially with the Phillies organization.”