Twins' Ingram loses battle with brain cancer

Popular Minor League instructor, manager was 48; served Minnesota organization for 17 years

Twins' Ingram loses battle with brain cancer

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Longtime Twins Minor League instructor and manager Riccardo Ingram died from complications from brain cancer, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Wednesday. Ingram was 48.

Ingram was originally diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2009, but he underwent radiation therapy for six weeks to beat the first round of the disease and returned to coaching. But the brain cancer returned last year.

"It's very sad news," Ryan said. "He was a good member of this organization for about 17 years. He's been all over the map with us in the Minor Leagues and was a player. He's one of those guys where it would be very difficult for me to find somebody who had a bad thing to say about Riccardo Ingram."

A two-sport athlete at Georgia Tech, playing baseball and football, Ingram played 10 seasons as an outfielder in the Minors after being drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round of the 1987 First-Year Player Draft. He played parts of two seasons in the Majors, appearing in 12 games with the Tigers in 1994 and four games with the Twins in '95.

After his playing career ended, Ingram began coaching in the Twins' organization in 1998 before becoming the manager of the Gulf Coast League Twins in 2004. He was also the manager of Class A Advanced Fort Myers in '05, and the manager of Double-A New Britain in '06. He was coaching with Triple-A Rochester in '09 when he was diagnosed with the brain tumor.

But Ingram returned after his initial battle with brain cancer, serving as a roving hitting instructor for New Britain and Rochester. He was slated to be the hitting coach for the club's Gulf Coast League team this year, which would've been his 18th in the Twins' organization.

Several current and former Twins players took to Twitter to express their condolences, including Pat Neshek, Brian Duensing, Denard Span and Drew Butera.

"It's a sad day for me about Riccardo, obviously," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I've known Riccardo for a long time. I had the chance to spend a lot of time with him in Spring Training and throughout the player development days. He was just a courageous man, who fought through that.

"I think we were all blessed we were able to get those five or six years with him after the original diagnosis. But it's not easy."

Ingram is survived by his wife, Allison, and daughters Kacey and Kristen. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.