HOUSTON – Brad Corbett, who had a tumultuous run as the Texas Rangers’ owner from 1974 to 1980, died on Monday.
Corbett’s daughter, Pamela Corbett Murrin, told The Associated Press that her father died peacefully in his sleep. She said he had not been sick recently.
Corbett, 75, relocated to Fort Worth, Texas, in 1968 and, buoyed by a $300,000 loan from the Small Business Administration, made a fortune by producing and selling PVC pipe to oil drillers.
Corbett, a transplanted New Yorker, purchased the Rangers from Bob Short in 1974 amid a blizzard of bluster. His investors group included such prominent Texas figures as Amon Carter Jr., Dallas developer Raymond Nasher, future American League president Dr. Bobby Brown, insurance executive Bill Seay and socialite Sharon Simmons. But the spotlight belonged to Corbett, who brashly spoke of plans to fly his team on a round-the-world trip when it won the World Series, in a 747 with “RANGERS” painted under the plane
Corbett went through six managers in six years, including four in an eight-day span in 1977. He so enjoyed being active at baseball’s winter meetings; he orchestrated the trades of such players as Len Barker, Bill Madlock and a promising 19-year-old pitcher named Dave Righetti.
Still, the Rangers had their first winning season with Corbett in the owner’s box, going 84-76 in 1974. Jeff Burroughs was the American League’s MVP that year, driving in 118 runs. Then things soured, both for the Rangers and Corbett’s outside business, Robintech Inc., which manufactured plastic pipe.
Corbett soon was in financial trouble that had serious repercussions for the Rangers. Burroughs, three years removed from his MVP award, was traded for five players and $250,000. Corbett made six other trades for cash considerations between August and December 1978.
Only one player, catcher Jim Sundberg, survived Corbett’s entire tenure as owner.
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