Cincinnati Reds front office executive loses battle with cancer

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Reds special assistant to the general manager passed away at age 56.

The Cincinnati Reds special assistant to the general manager, Kevin Towers, lost his battle with a rare form of thyroid cancer on January 30.  In addition to his work with the Reds Towers was also the general manager of the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks.  A fixture across baseball, Towers was simply known as KT.

Before getting the jobs as a general manager, KT came up through the scouting ranks.  This included catching up with scouts once he climbed to the rank of MLB GM.  This background caused KT to appreciate the work that the scouts did.

All across baseball, people spoke of how well liked KT was.  Baseball remembers him as a man with a personal touch.  Part of his signature with both players and other executives was talking to them verbally.

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KT pitched in San Diego Padres system as a player, reaching Triple-A before retiring following the 1989 season.  He spent nearly 30 years in the Padres’ organization as a player, scout, and executive, including leading them as GM to the World Series in 1998.  Prior to leaving for Arizona, the only other break in KT’s association with the Padres was when he left to work with the Pittsburgh Pirates for two years as a crosschecker.

The work that Kevin Towers did for the Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks should not be overlooked.

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KT was in Arizona as GM from 2011-14.  In his first season, he led the Diamondbacks from a last place finish in 2010 to a National League West title in 2011.  That team went from 65 wins to 94 wins.

It was this off-season turnaround that showed his ability to see roster construction at an advanced level.  His ability to see that a team could win the division after a 97 loss was part of his optimistic view.  His ability to see talent, combined with his ability to touch people, made KT a great baseball man.

Following his time in Arizona, Walt Jocketty brought KT to Cincinnati after discussing a role a few years earlier.  KT and Jocketty worked together to put together roster for the Reds as they underwent the rebuild.  KT continued to work with new GM Dick Williams up to the time of his death.

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The players on the field get much of the attention.  It is easy to forget about the people behind the scenes.  The people all across baseball were well aware of the work that he did.  They also know how KT did it.  The Reds family will miss KT.