Every morning I grab a cup of coffee and catch up on Twitter or Facebook.
I am an electronics junkie, who unfortunately is always attached to my cellphone.

All the beat writers for the Texas Rangers are on alert for me. When they tweet something I get a notice.  Not going to lie, this one floored me.

Dallas Sports Nation got Texas Rangers credentials for the first time in 2019. This was also the last year the Rangers would play at Globe Life Park. At the end of the season, I wrote a story about my year in the press box. As a new member of the media, it was both intimidating and exhilarating my very first game. I knew everyone who covered the Rangers because I was a fan before I was in the press box. But the first two people I saw when I walked in, were T.R. Sullivan and Levi Weaver. I took my seat behind T.R. and nervously got out my laptop and plugged in. I introduced myself to Levi but was too scared to approach T.R. This was, after all, a guy I had admired for over 30 years.

“You are sitting in John Blake’s seat”. Those are T.R. Sullivan’s first words he ever spoke to me. He and Levi were discussing a list of former Rangers for something Levi was writing. I decided to add my own name and that’s when he noticed where I was sitting.

Sometimes the perception of someone can be deceiving. T.R. can be blunt with his questions and seem like a curmudgeon to those who don’t know him, but I think The Athletics Levi Weaver said it best when I asked him about his favorite memory of T.R.:

“It’s Less about one particular memory and more about learning who he was. From the outside, it’s easy to see T.R. as a grump (he plays the part well), but once you get to know him, he’s genuinely one of the most caring people you could ever hope to befriend. He still remembers the name of every intern he had at MLB.com and if they’re still in journalism. He can tell you where they’re working these days. It’s impossible to overstate the effect he’s had on me, both professionally and personally”.

I asked Fox Sports Southwest Emily Jones McCoy the same thing:

“T.R. is a giant softie wrapped in a gruff guy exterior (who used to wear shower shoes in public on the reg, btw)…. and the Rangers clubhouse will not be the same without him. From keeping a keen eye on the “cool down time” clock after games to derailing pregame manager sessions with a baseball history lesson, he did it all with a deep passion for writing and love of the game. I’m grateful to have been witness to the Dean in action”.

I reached out to former players Jeff Frye and Rusty Greer and asked them if they had any favorite memories.

Rusty Greer said he remembered a great article, T.R. wrote about Darren Oliver and himself being the first black and white roommates. Of Sullivan, Greer said:

“T.R. and I have always had a great relationship and still do to this day. I always enjoy talking with him about the game. T.R. always treated me fairly and I have always appreciated that”.

Frye added: “We’ve been  buddies for a long time. He has to pick one retired player every year to vote for the all-star team and he has picked me the last 8 or 10 years”.

Rangers Executive VP of Media Relations John Blake tweeted this:

T.R. always seemed to be on the brink of cussing someone out if you didn’t know him. Getting to know him changes that perception. He is one of the most compassionate guys you could ever know. I happen to share a birthday with his son also named John, who he reminded me was the “only John”. He remembers little things like that. He once saw a picture of my wife in the press box and shouted out, “Who’s the chick”? His face said what he meant by that, …… “how did you get her”?

He is also a sports encyclopedia. He has forgotten more about baseball than I can imagine ever knowing. Anyone could ask a trivia question in the press box and he knew the answer. In spring training he was known for Tuesday night trivia at a Surprise local watering hole.  I imagine it would be interesting to see everything he has stored in that brain, written on paper. If he ever writes a book, I will camp out to buy it.

T.R. came on the podcast a couple of months ago. I think he thought I was going to ask him to break down the Rangers season and what they should do this winter. I wanted to know about him. It is still one of my favorites and in fact, my wife’s favorite one of them all.

Take 40 minutes out of your day to listen. He has had a fascinating life.

I once heard T.R. answer a question about what he will do when he retires. His answer was hysterical. “There is a lake that separates Texas and Oklahoma called Lake Texoma.

I am going to rent a boat and go out in the middle of it and drop my F’ING computer and phone in it”. (I am paraphrasing) Seeing how he announced his retirement with just a tweet, it seems fitting.

Thanks T.R.!
I raise my beer to you for a job well done.

Featured Image: Texas Baseball Hall Of Fame
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