Saturday, April 26, 2003

Johnny Oates - Hall of Famer

Former major league player and manager Johnny Oates will be inducted tonight into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and he'll be there to see it, as reported here and here.

Oates grew up in the mountains of NC, as described here and here, and went to school at Virginia Tech, where his jersey was retired last year, as described here. He has lived with cancer for several years and is battling it again. In an article in the Sporting News, he said of his life with his wife and family, "Right now, we're having the time of our lives." His record as a manager is here, and his record as a player is here. He played for the Atlanta Braves during the time when Hank Aaron caught up to Babe Ruth's home run record. Somehow all my sports heroes were etched in my mind in the 1970s, but I'm a bigger Johnny Oates fan now than I was then.

I like this quote from the website of an Orioles' fan: "It's a pity that there isn't a character wing in the Baseball Hall of Fame. If there were, that would be the one I'd most want my kids to see, and I know that Johnny Oates' plaque would be foremost among the enshrinees."

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