Longtime Atlanta Braves coach Bobby Dews — a colorful baseball lifer, former Georgia Tech star and published author — died Saturday, the organization confirmed.
He was 76 years old.
Dews retired in 2012 after spending 53 years in baseball, including the final 37 with the Braves. He filled a variety of roles with the organization, including senior adviser, bullpen coach and minor league manager.
In a statement released early Sunday afternoon, Braves President John Schuerholz called Dews “a true Brave who gave his heart and soul to our organization to help create, develop and lead one of the most productive minor league systems ever.
“A good man and dear friend to his Braves family and he will be very truly missed,” Schuerholz said.
Growing up in rural Edison — a tiny Calhoun County town that would later name its Little League park after him — Dews played baseball and basketball and went on to star in both at Georgia Tech. He spent time in the St. Louis Cardinals organization before joining the Braves in 1974. In his later years with the Braves, Dews was known to don batting gloves while coaching in the bullpen and hit pre-game grounders for infielders.
Dews also published at least four books over the years, including novels called “Largo” and “Unpublished Poets” and a collection of short stories called “Legends, Demons and Dreams.” He served as writer-in-residence at Cuthbert’s Andrew College.
“At 15, I fell in love with the idea of being a writer,” Dews wrote in a 2011 first-person account in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Ernest Hemingway influenced me, and I wanted to be a big-game guide in Africa. Then I found I could play baseball, so I followed that path.”
Former Braves star Chipper Jones and current bullpen coach Eddie Perez both tweeted their condolences Sunday morning
“Christian, coach, mentor, writer and friend!,” Jones wrote. “He was great at all of them. Braves Country will miss you! Rest in Peace Bobby Dews.”
Wrote Perez: “Bobby Dews was like a father to me. He was an amazing coach, teacher, and friend. He will be greatly missed. R.I.P Bobby.”
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