Kevin Towers

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Kevin Towers
Kevin Towers 2007.jpg
Towers in 2007
Born (1961-11-11)November 11, 1961
Medford, Oregon, U.S
Died January 30, 2018(2018-01-30) (aged 56)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Cause of death Thyroid cancer
Other names
Alma mater
Occupation General manager
Organization

Kevin Scott Towers (November 11, 1961 – January 30, 2018) was an American executive in Major League Baseball. He served as the general manager of the San Diego Padres from 1995 to 2009 and for the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2010 to 2014.

Early life and education[edit]

Towers attended North Medford High School in Medford, Oregon, where he played baseball, football, and basketball. He graduated in 1979.[2]

Playing career[edit]

Towers began his college baseball career for MiraCosta College.[3] He transferred to Brigham Young University (BYU), where he played for the BYU Cougars baseball team in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) for one year.[4] As a pitcher, Towers was selected to the All-WAC team.[5] The San Diego Padres selected him in the first round of the secondary phase of the 1982 Major League Baseball Draft,[6] and he was named a Texas League all-star in 1984.[5]

Towers pitched in Minor League Baseball in San Diego's farm system for seven years.[4] Overall, he had a 29–40 win-loss record and a 4.64 earned run average in 619 innings pitched, including 82 games started.[7]

Post-playing career[edit]

Continuing his career in baseball, Towers became a pitching coach for minor league Single-A Spokane Indians in 1989 and 1990.[5] He served as a scout for the Padres from 1989 through 1991 and for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1991 through 1993. Towers rejoined the Padres as scouting director in 1993.[4]

Towers became the Padres' seventh general manager in 1995, succeeding Randy Smith. As GM, Towers led the Padres to four division championships and an appearance in the 1998 World Series. In November 1998 after the Padres' World Series appearance, San Diego voters approved funding to build the team's new stadium, Petco Park.[8] The Padres also finished last in their division five times. Towers was known for his ability to find talented pitchers that many other teams had released.[9] On October 3, 2009, the Padres fired Towers after two disappointing seasons.[10] Towers joined the New York Yankees as a special assignment scout for the 2010 season.[11]

On September 22, 2010, the Arizona Diamondbacks hired Towers as their general manager.[12] In his first season at the helm of the Diamondbacks' baseball operations, the team won 94 games and the National League West Division title just one season after finishing in last place with 97 losses.[13]

Following the 2013 season, Towers fired his pitching coach, Charles Nagy, partly for refusing to instruct pitchers to hit players on opposing teams, saying, "while in the old days this was known, now you have to teach it." [14] It was duly noted by journalists that the Diamondbacks pitchers hit 60 batters last season, while their batters were hit only 43 times.[15]

On May 17, 2014, the Diamondbacks hired Tony La Russa to oversee Towers and all baseball operations. The Diamondbacks dismissed Towers from the general manager position on September 5, while offering him another position in the organization, which he declined.[16] In 2015, he joined the Cincinnati Reds as a scout and special assistant to the general manager, Walt Jocketty.[17]

Death[edit]

Towers was diagnosed with cancer in 2016.[18] He died of anaplastic thyroid cancer on January 30, 2018, at a hospital in San Diego.[19] He was elected posthumously into the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame, and was inducted on May 12, 2018, as part of a week-long celebration of the Padres' 1998 National League championship team.[8][20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gilbert, Steve. "Former D-backs, Padres GM Towers dies". MLB.com. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  2. ^ Don Hunt. "A dash to stardom". MailTribune.com. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  3. ^ News, Coast (January 26, 2018). "Jay Paris: Minus a sweet start, Towers occupies the hot seat". The Coast News Group. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Former BYU slugger pushes Padres to Series". BYU Magazine. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Catley, Ben. "Osprey Q & A - Kevin Towers". Milb.com. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "Ex-Padres GM Kevin Towers says he wasn't given reason for firing". ESPN. October 3, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "Kevin Towers Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Sanders, Jeff (March 20, 2018). "Kevin Towers to be inducted into Padres Hall of Fame". San Diego Union Tribune. Archived from the original on March 22, 2018.
  9. ^ "Thoughts drifting as Sheffield floats". SignOnSanDiego.com. April 2, 2009. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  10. ^ "Sources: San Diego Padres decide to fire general manage Kevin Towers - ESPN". Sports.espn.go.com. October 3, 2009. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  11. ^ Associated Press file photo (March 21, 2010). "Q&A: Former Padres GM Kevin Towers brings scouts' perspective to new role with NY Yankees". NJ.com. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  12. ^ "Arizona Diamondbacks name Kevin Towers general manager". Arizona Republic. September 22, 2010. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  13. ^ "Kevin Towers, former GM of Padres, Diamondbacks, dies at 56". ABC News. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  14. ^ Green, Adam (October 8, 2013). "Arizona Diamondacks GM: 'It's going to be an eye for an eye'". ArizonaSports. Phoenix AZ: Bonneville International. Archived from the original on October 9, 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  15. ^ "D-backs GM Kevin Towers wants his pitchers to hit more batters – and it sounds like that's why he fired his pitching coach". Sports.yahoo.com. October 9, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  16. ^ *"Ex-GM Kevin Towers leaving D-backs – ESPN". Espn.go.com. October 3, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  17. ^ "espn.com". Espn.go.com. November 25, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  18. ^ Rajan, Greg (October 29, 2017). "Astros manager A.J. Hinch stands up for friend Kevin Towers". Houston Chronicle.
  19. ^
  20. ^ https://www.mlb.com/padres/news/kevin-towers-inducted-into-padres-hall-of-fame/c-276456862

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Randy Smith
San Diego Padres General Manager
1995–2009
Succeeded by
Jed Hoyer
Preceded by
Jerry Dipoto
Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager
2010–2014
Succeeded by
Dave Stewart