Ron Washington abruptly resigned Friday as manager of the Texas Rangers to take care of what he said was an “off-the-field personal matter.”
The resignation brings to a close an up-and-down tenure that included back-to-back American League pennants but ended with the Rangers in last place in the American League West and owning the worst record in baseball. The team named bench coach Tim Bogar its interim manager for the remainder of the season.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Washington Said He Needed to Devote His ‘Full Attention’ to the Matter
Ron Washington has decided to resign as the manager of the Rangers. pic.twitter.com/0bODlqKweJ
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) September 5, 2014
Neither Washington nor the Rangers specified the nature of the off-the-field matter, but Washington said in a statement that he was stepping down to give the matter his “full attention.”
“As painful as it is, stepping away from the game is what’s best for me and my family.”
2. Washington Said the Resignation Has Nothing to Do With the Team’s Struggles
Washington said Texas’ stunning fall from contention to the A.L. West cellar had nothing to do with his decision to call it quits.
“This is in no way related to the disappointing performance of the team this season,” he said. “We were already discussing 2015 and looking forward to getting the Rangers back to postseason contention.”
“I deeply regret that I’ve let down the Rangers organization and our great fans,” he added. “Over the past eight seasons, it’s been a privilege to be part of some of the best years in club history and I will always be grateful for the opportunities I’ve had here, and for the great management, players, and coaches who have made our time here a success. Thank you for respecting my privacy.”
3. 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.
4. The Rangers Are Already Eliminated from Playoff Contention
Three years after winning their second straight pennant, the Rangers are a dreadful 53-87, in dead last in the A.L West and a stunning 31 1/2 games behind the first-place Angels.
Texas was the first team in baseball to be mathematically eliminated from postseason contention and the first team to clinch a losing record.
5. It’s the 2nd Time in Less Than a Week a Team From Texas Will Have a New Manager
It’s been an awful year for Major League teams from the Lone Star State. The Astros and Rangers are in fourth and fifth places in the A.L. West, respectively, and the Astros fired manager Bo Porter on Monday.