Texas baseball fans were heartbroken to learn that former Houston Astros hitting coach and Sugar Land Space Cowboys special assistant Deacon Jones died on Monday at the age of 89.
According to Major League Baseball's official website, Jones played 40 games as a left-handing hitting infielder with the Chicago White Sox from 1962 to 1966, after which he became a hitting instructor.
He went on to serve as the Houston Astros' hitting coach between 1976 and 1982 before taking positions with the San Diego Padres and the Chicago White Sox. He later helped found the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, a Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros.
"Deacon was an invaluable part of our organization and a close friend to every member of the Sugar Land front office and community," Sugar Land Space Cowboys General Manager Tyler Stamm was quoted as saying.
"We’ve lost a pillar of our organization and a dear friend who is wholly responsible for all of us being here. Without Deacon Jones, there would be no Sugar Land franchise," Stamm continued.
Sugar Land Space Cowboys Assistant General Manager Chris Parsons recalled how "Deacon and I were one of the first four employees at the start of the Sugar Land franchise."
"He was always someone I could count on to give great advice and answer the phone when I needed; he was considered family to my family," Parsons stressed
The Space Cowboys also released a statement on social media which called Jones "the heart and soul of our organization."
It is with extremely heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Special Advisor and lifelong friend Deacon Jones. Deacon was the heart and soul of our organization and cared so deeply about every fan in the ballpark. Deacon, you will be missed and never forgotten. pic.twitter.com/JFCzioLWUo
— Sugar Land Space Cowboys (@SLSpaceCowboys) May 8, 2023
The Houston Astros released a similar statement, saying, "We join the Sugar Land community in mourning the loss of Deacon Jones."
"He was a valued member of the Astros family as a hitting coach from 1976-1982 and a leader in the Sugar Land Space Cowboys Front Office," the statement added.
We join the Sugar Land community in mourning the loss of Deacon Jones. He was a valued member of the Astros family as a hitting coach from 1976-1982 and a leader in the Sugar Land Space Cowboys Front Office. https://t.co/DCphnW56v7
— Houston Astros (@astros) May 8, 2023
Meanwhile, Space Cowboys commentator Gerald Sanchez called Jones a great ambassador of the game, lamenting, "We lost a baseball treasure yesterday."
We lost a baseball treasure yesterday. Grover "Deacon" Jones passed away at age 89. He was a former big league player and hitting coach for the @astros and @Padres. Deacon was a great ambassador of the game and his storytelling was amazing. RIP my friend. pic.twitter.com/fWJlbwFyQC
— Gerald Sanchez (@GeraldSanchezBB) May 8, 2023