Saying he was more embarrassed than at any other point during his life, former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said Thursday that he abruptly resigned in early September because he had cheated on his wife.
The ex-skipper made the announcement at a press conference Thursday afternoon, more than two weeks after he abruptly resigned without an explanation. He apologized to his wife, Gerry, the Rangers’ fans and players and Major League Baseball before leaving without taking questions.
The announcement comes at the end of a season in which Texas slipped from being a contender for the American League pennant to being the worst team in baseball.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Washington Resigned September 5 & Said He Needed to Devote His ‘Full Attention’ to an Undisclosed Matter
Ron Washington has decided to resign as the manager of the Rangers. pic.twitter.com/0bODlqKweJ
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) September 5, 2014
The Rangers issued a statement September 5 announcing that Washington was stepping down to deal with an off-the-field matter that required Washington’s “full attention.”
At the time, neither the team nor Washington commented on what the issues was, other than to say that it was not drug-related.
“As painful as it is, stepping away from the game is what’s best for me and my family,” Washington said.
Washington was silent until Thursday’s announcement.
2. Washington Is the 1st Manager in Recent Memory to Resign Over an Affair
Washington’s explanation came off as extremely strange given the frequency with which Major League players and managers are known to be unfaithful to their wives.
He’s the first manager in recent memory to step down because of an affair, leading plenty of observers to speculate that there’s more to the story than merely being unfaithful.
Ron Washington is either the first person in baseball history to quit because he cheated on his wife, or there's WAY MORE to this.
— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) September 18, 2014
So Ron Washington is making up for infidelity by deliberately becoming unemployed so he can stay home and annoy his wife all day?
— Sarah Kogod (@SarahKogod) September 18, 2014
Ron Washington is not the first and will not be the last person in baseball to cheat on his wife. None, that I am aware of, resigned for it.
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) September 18, 2014
3. A Blogger Wrote That Washington Was Accused of Sexually Assaulting a Female Reporter
Jamie Kelly, a former Texas TV reporter who runs a blog called The Scoop, reported on September 10 that Washington stepped down because of legal issues related to allegations of sexual assault against a female reporter.
From Kelly’s blog:
I have learned this evening through a source with knowledge of the situation that long-time Texas Rangers skipper Ron Washington’s sudden departure from the club was due to impending legal issues stemming from an alleged sexual assault of a reporter. I have cross-checked this information and feel confident in going forward with what I know, and am currently reaching out to obtain more details of the situation.
Kelly wrote that Washington did not respond to a request for a comment.
4. Washington Said He’s at a ‘Very Low Time’ in His Life
Washington told a room of perplexed reporters that he had broken the trust with his wife, to whom he’d been married for 42 years.
I’m here today to own that mistake and to apologize to her and to those I disappointed and to those who have trusted in me and I let them down. When I was 22 years old, I went to Mexico. And a lot of things started making sense to me about the game of baseball. I began to figure it out. I was able to see things that maybe other people weren’t able to see. And I remember calling my wife and letting her know that I feel like I have arrived, and I had figured this game out.
And in reality, you really never figure the game out. But I did tell her to quit her job. … It’s something that I’ll always remember. She’s always stood by me. Today, I’m at a very low time in my life. I’m sorry for breaking the trust that I had with my wife and for disappointing the players, disappointing my coaches, for disappointing Major League Baseball and for disappointing the Texas Rangers.
5. Washington Admitted in the Past to Using Cocaine While Managing the Rangers
Washington’s managerial career appeared in jeopardy during the 2009 season, when he acknowledged that in what he described as a one-time lapse, he used cocaine at a party just before the All-Star break. He later issued a public apology, which you can watch in the video above.
Tom Friend of ESPN.com described the day Washington came clean about the incident to his bosses: general manager Jon Daniels and team president Nolan Ryan:
He suspected they would fire him on the spot, but on the morning of Wednesday, July 22, 2009, before a game against the Red Sox, Washington asked Daniels and Ryan to come to his office after the final pitch. The next day would be an off day, and he figured it made more sense to have the news break on a non-game day. He was thinking of the team; that was Ronnie.
After the Red Sox game — a 3-1 victory — Washington waited alone for his bosses. He remembers sitting in his office, shaking, knowing 40 years of baseball was for naught. The two executives walked in, and he started with the entire explanation. He told them he’d had a weak moment. He spared no detail. He wept.
Daniels acknowledged being “pissed” about Washington’s admission, and Ryan wasn’t too happy about it, either. But the team’s executives decided to stand by Washington, and the skipper rewarded their understanding by leading the Rangers to back-to-back American League pennants in 2010 and 2011.
In 2011, the team was one strike away from winning the World Series before losing an extra-inning heartbreaker in Game 6 to the St. Louis Cardinals, then losing again in Game 7.