Kevin Towers, who spent more than 20 years as a general manager between stints with the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks, has died at the age of 56.
Towers served as GM of the Padres from 1995 to 2009 and of the Diamondbacks from 2010 to 2014.
Towers had been battling thyroid cancer for a little more than a year.
His battle with cancer hadn’t been known to most people outside of baseball’s inner circle until Game 4 of last year’s World Series.
During a between-innings tribute to those afflicted with cancer, Astros manager A.J. Hinch held a card with Towers’ name on it. For many, Hinch’s sign was the first they learned of Towers’ illness.
Kevin Towers kept his fight with cancer private until #Astros manager AJ Hinch revealed it during the World Series.
Towers was one of most respected men in baseball. People around Towers idolized him, loved working for him and considered him family. Tough day for baseball. pic.twitter.com/r4QdAKATh1
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) January 30, 2018
Hinch was fired as manager of the Diamondbacks in July 2010, prior to the team hiring Towers as general manager a few months later.
The Padres have been around since 1969. They’ve made the playoffs 5 times. 4 of those were with Kevin Towers as GM. Yeah. #RIPKT
— Ben Higgins (@BenHigginsSD) January 30, 2018
Towers had a 35-year career in professional baseball.
A pitcher in college, Towers was a first-round draft pick of the Padres in 1982. Arm injuries limited his career as a player, and he retired after eight seasons without ever making it into the big leagues.
Kevin Towers, one of the greatest people this game has ever known, and the ultimate fighter, has passed away from cancer. Unbelievable. He will be greatly missed. Loved that man
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 30, 2018
He then transitioned to being a scout for the Padres, and eventually was promoted to be the team’s scouting director before being promoted to general manager. After taking over as general manager in San Diego, the Padres won their division in two of the next three seasons and advanced to the World Series in 1998. San Diego also won the division title in 2005 and 2006.
Towers was dismissed by the Padres after the 2009 season, but he wasn’t unemployed for long. Arizona signed him to be its general manager in 2010.
A year later, Arizona won the National League West with a 94-68 record before losing to the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLDS. Arizona went 320-328 during his time with the team.
— MLB (@MLB) January 30, 2018
Since leaving Arizona in 2014, Towers worked as a special assistant for the Cincinnati Reds.
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