12/24/2004 3:44 PM ET
Former Texas Rangers manager Johnny Oates passes away
Club to retire Oates' No. 26 during 2005 season
Arlington, Tex. -- Former Texas Rangers manager Johnny Oates, who had been battling a brain tumor since 2001, passed away early this morning in Richmond, VA. He was 58.
"Johnny Oates personified courage, optimism, commitment and grace." Texas Rangers owner Thomas O. Hicks said. "He led the Texas Rangers to some of its most excellent moments. We will miss him."
The Rangers will recognize Oates' contributions and memory during the 2005 season by retiring his No. 26 prior to a game dedicated to his honor (specifics related to the game and ceremony will be announced at a later date). On-field players and staff will wear a commemorative patch on their jerseys during the 2005 season and the club will also place a "26" on the outfield wall both subject to the approval of Major League Baseball.
"His pro career speaks for itself," Rangers General Manager John Hart said. "His great strength was his passion for the sport. Words like winner, character and class all described Johnny. The Rangers, the game of baseball and I are all going to greatly miss him."
"Johnny impacted my pro career more than anyone," said Rangers manager Buck Showalter, who played on the first team Oates managed in Nashville in 1982. "There is not a day that goes by that I do not use some of the advice that he gave me over the years.
"Nobody epitomized more than Johnny what we want to do and how we should handle ourselves as professionals in this game. The manager's office here in Texas has his name on it and it will always be his. The rest of us are just passing through it. I can tell you there is one heckuva baseball game being played in Heaven today. I will miss him deeply and want to convey my condolences to Gloria and his family."
Oates managed the club from 1995-2001, leading the team to American League West Division titles in 1996, 1998 and 1999. The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and The Sporting News named him the American League Manager of the Year in 1996, after leading the Rangers to the postseason for the first time in franchise history.
He ranks second among Rangers managers in games (983), victories (506) and winning percentage (.515). He was also a member of the first class of inductees into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame in August 2003.
He began his major league managerial career with the Baltimore Orioles where he posted a 291-270 record from 1991-94. In parts of 11 seasons as a major league manager he was 797-746 (.517).
Oates is survived by his wife, Gloria and their daughters Lori Everhart, her husband John and their children Collin, Ethan and Emma Kate; Jenny Riggs and her husband Robbie; and son Andy and his wife Susannah and their children Johnny Lane II and Jackson.
Funeral service arraignments will be forthcoming as they become available.