It has been reported that former Padres’ General Manager Kevin Towers passed away Tuesday. Bob Nightengale tweeted:
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
Towers is fondly remembered in San Diego for his work with the Padres from 1995 to 2009. Before that, he played baseball at Brigham Young University and was drafted in the first round of the secondary phase of the 1982 draft by the San Diego Padres. Injuries prevented him from reaching the big leagues and he called it a career in Triple-A after seven seasons.
His career in baseball was just beginning. After serving as the pitching coach for the Single-A Spokane Indians until 1990, he became a scout for the Padres. After a few more stops, he became the scouting director for San Diego in 1993 until he was hired as general manager in 1995.
From there, his career took off. He helped build the lowly Padres into a winner. They hadn’t had a playoff appearance since 1984. He built a powerhouse Padres team in 1996. Wally Joyner, Rickey Henderson, Chris Gomez, and Greg Vaughn all were acquired before the 1996 season by Towers.
The Friars then went on to win 91 games and the National League West. Two years later, the Padres had the best season in franchise history. He signed Mark Langston before the season to bolster the pitching staff. He acquired Jim Leyritz in the middle of 1998 to help lead the Padres to 98 wins and a World Series appearance.
Towers stayed with the Padres through the tough fire-sale and rebuilding years of 1999-2004. With the Padres opening Petco Park in 2004, he signed accomplished San Diegan David Wells to welcome the Padres to a new era. Dave Roberts also came to San Diego. He helped guys like Ryan Klesko and Phil Nevin get to San Diego and put a mark on its history. He was also instrumental in extending Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman, keeping them both in San Diego for many years.
2005 and 2006 were great years to be a Padres fan, much thanks to Mr. Towers. The Friars won two straight N.L. West crowns. It’s amazing to think that with the Padres winning five division titles in franchise history, Kevin Towers was a critical part for four of them.
Towers was relieved of his duties in 2009, but he was snatched up by the Arizona Diamondbacks. In his first year with Arizona in 2011, they won 94 games and a division title.
Towers certainly left his mark on baseball. He brought lots of good times to fans of the San Diego Padres. Lots of celebratory moments for the Friar faithful were because of Kevin Towers.