Authorities in Virginia said on Monday that Mark Budzinski, first base coach for the Toronto Blue Jays, lost his 17-year-old daughter in a boating accident over the weekend.
Paige Pearson, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, said that Julia Budzinski was one of two girls who fell off a tube being pulled behind a boat on the James River in Richmond on Saturday.
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Daughter of Blue Jays 1B Coach Mark Budzinski Died
When the boat’s operator went back to retrieve the girls, a wave pushed the vessel onto Budzinski, Pearson said, and she was struck by the propeller. Budzinski, who was later pronounced dead at a hospital, was rescued by the boat’s driver and the operator of another boat that happened to be nearby.
Pearson stated, “there is no suspicion of foul play, and alcohol was not a contributing factor. It was a terrible accident.”
Budzinski was a rising senior at Glen Allen High School, where he played soccer and other sports, and a vigil was held Sunday night after news of the accident spread.
Monica Budzinski, the mother, said at the vigil, “It was a very happy, fun last day on Earth for her.”She was happy, laughing, having a good time, and that’s how I remember her.”
Mark Budzinski left Saturday’s doubleheader between the Blue Jays and the Rays in the third inning after learning of his daughter’s death.
#BlueJays manager Charlie Montoyo, following the death of Mark Budzinski’s daughter, Julia, on Saturday: pic.twitter.com/UHE9l5o3Uv
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) July 3, 2022
The Blue Jays announced later that he would be taking time away from the team to be with his family during their time of grief.
On Sunday, before the season finale, there was a moment of silence in memory of Julia Budzinski.
“My heart breaks for Bud,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said after the game. “There’s good men and great men. He’s a great man. He’s a special kind of person. His family is great. The only thing I can share about what happened is that he left a note for the team. He did this while going through a tragedy, which tells you everything about him.”
Mark Budzinski, a 2003 graduate of the University of Richmond and former member of the Cincinnati Reds, retired in 2005. He worked as a minor league manager for Cleveland before being promoted in 2017. Toronto hired Budzinski in November 2018.
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