The AJC's David O'Brien gives a wonderful tribute to the late Bobby Dews:
Remembering Dewsy: When Bobby Dews died last week, tributes and praise for the former player, minor league manager and longtime Braves coach came from all over, spanning generations of iconic Braves including players such as Dale Murphy and Chipper Jones and Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox. They absolutely loved him. Everyone who met him did. Seriously, I never met anyone who had a bad word to say about Bobby Dews.
What I’ll remember most about Dewsy, even more than seeing him hit fungoes with his batting gloves on, or watching a then 60-something Dews catch an inning for the Braves in the Hall of Fame game at Cooperstown one summer, were the conversations I’d have with him on the field, away from others.
We’d talk about music, women, alcoholism and recovery, writing – he was a damn fine writer and poet – and, yes, occasionally about baseball. He loved baseball as much as anyone I’ve never known. But at the same time, he made me feel like baseball was not nearly as important as living, learning, surviving our mistakes and trying to become better people.
Dewsy was gold. He was a a beautiful person. They never made a movie about his life, but someone should. Then again, he’d never have agreed to that if he was alive. Getting praise or attention was so far from what Bobby Dews was about.
He was one of those people you had to meet to fully appreciate. And if you met him, you were enriched. Whatever I or anyone else has said about him, trust me, it can’t even begin to convey how special he was. I feel extremely fortunate to have gotten to know him.
I was at my parents’ house in North Carolina last week for Christmas when I heard the news of his death. Even though I’d known he had serious recent health problems, the news still came as a shock and brought deep sadness for all who knew him. It always does when we lose someone so real, so genuine, so good.
The day I got home from N.C., I went out to pick up some branches that had fallen from an old oak tree in my yard. I didn’t take my phone, and when I got back inside there was a voicemail from Scott Boras. Yes, that Scott Boras. And it had nothing to do with a free agent or one of his clients. It was about Bobby Dews.
Boras, who lives in Newport Beach, Calif., had just heard of Dews’ death. I’ve never heard Boras speak in the quiet tone he had throughout the voicemail he left me. Here’s part of what he said about Dews.
“He was my first pro manager in the Cardinal organization,” said Boras, a former minor league infielder who made it to the Double-A level in the 1970s. “He and George Kissell were two amazing mentors to have. He was a uniquely skilled communicator and just had great influence in my life.
“I wanted you to know what a committed and devoted man (Dews) was. He would get up every morning early and give you extra ground balls, pay special attention to you, say things to you that were so important to a young player. He was really unique.”
Rest in peace, Dewsy. You’ll never be forgotten by anyone who knew you.