Cubs’ Theo Epstein pays tribute to Kevin Towers, ‘my friend, my boss, my mentor’
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Cubs president Theo Epstein, whose first baseball job out of college in the mid-1990s was with the San Diego Padres, working in a low-level baseball operations position for general manager Kevin Towers, left camp to attend a memorial Sunday for his mentor at San Diego’s Petco Park.
Towers, one of the most popular and respected executives in the game, died four weeks ago at age 56 after a long battle with a rare form of thyroid cancer.
“I was just a nobody, a faceless kid trying to be invisible and not get in the way,” Epstein said during Sunday’s event. “But there was never such a thing as a nobody to Kevin Towers – he just wasn’t wired that way.”
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, who succeeded Towers as Padres GM in 2010, also attended the memorial, along with Cubs’ special assistant Rick Sutcliffe.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy, Towers’ longtime manager in San Diego, also missed Sunday’s game to be in San Diego as one of the scheduled speakers.
More than 100 baseball executives were expected to attend, including former Cubs GM Jim Hendry (now with the Yankees).
“He was my friend, my boss and my mentor,” Epstein said Sunday in San Diego. “He didn’t care if you were the president of the team, an intern or a backup beat writer for a newspaper. He treated you like you wanted to be treated. That was KT. It didn’t matter who you were or who you weren’t. He treated you with love and respect. And if he liked you, you were lucky enough to be dragged into his orbit, and then you were in for the ride of your life.”