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Bradford G. Corbett was the owner of the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball's American League from 1974 to 1980. He is currently part owner of S&B Technical Products, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. Originally from Long Island, New York, Corbett had made a fortune in the oil business by producing and selling plastic PVC piping. He had moved to Fort Worth, Texas in 1968 and within two years had become a millionaire at the age of 32 after first securing a $300,000 Small Business Administration loan. In 1974 he bought the Rangers from owner Bob Short. Serving as (in effect) his own general manager, he quickly set about spending a great deal of money on free agent players. This was during the advent of the free agency era and soon Corbett had signed such high-priced players as Bert Campaneris, Doyle Alexander, Doc Medich, Richie Zisk, and Mike Jorgensen and traded for expensive talent like Bobby Bonds, Al Oliver, and Jon Matlack.

Corbett was often emotional and erratic in his behavior. He cried openly after the Rangers lost on July 4, 1977 [1] and told the assembled news media, "I'm selling this team because it's killing me! They are dogs on the field and they are dogs off the field." It had become obvious that Corbett knew little about how to run a baseball club as he would often fire managers (the Rangers had four managers in the 1977 season), storm into the locker room after games, and would trade players in a rapid and haphazard manner. Soon members of the media began to refer to the Rangers as "Brad's Big Top" and to the owner as "Chuckles the Clown." Ultimately Rangers players and fans began to be openly critical of Corbett's ownership style. The last straw seemed to occur when it became public that Corbett was trading players based upon the opinion of his young son, Brad Jr. At one point Corbett tried to win over fans at Arlington Stadium by tossing baseballs to them from the press box only to have many of the fans respond by throwing the balls back at him. Shortly thereafter he sold the team to another self-made oil man, Eddie Chiles.

Sources

  • "Huffing and Puffing in Texas" Sports Illustrated. August 7, 1978 [2]
  • The Impossible Takes A Little Longer by Phil Rogers. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Co., 1990.
  • Seasons in Hell by Mike Shropshire.
  • The Baseball Hall of Shame Volume 2.
  • The Complete Handbook of Baseball 1980.
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