Remembering Richard Durrett
Last night I received a text message in the last segment of our postgame show out here in Midland. We were playing a highlight at that particular moment so I had time to look at the preview of the text before going back on the air. In the limited space given to a partial message, it read, “Richard Durrett collapsed and died…” I didn’t have time to really take that in until I went off the air a couple minutes later. I’m not sure if I can still synthesize that news 16 hours later.
Yesterday we lost a friend. I say that as an individual and for the Frisco RoughRiders organization. Yes, Richard came to our games to cover Rangers rehabbers and interview big prospects that passed through Dr Pepper Ballpark. He was out at the park just last week to interview Joey Gallo. He was one of the television color partners for me and my predecessor Aaron Goldsmith over the past few years.
But he also was a regular as a fan. I helped him with tickets for his wife and kids regularly, and also when he had extended family in town and was looking for something to do with him. Whenever he was at our games as a fan, he’d come up to the booth and do an inning with me to talk about the Rangers. He never had to do that and I never asked, as I respected the time he wanted to spend with his family. But that helps sum up what knowing Richard was all about. He was selfless and committed, and he is already sorely missed.
When he joined me the on the television broadcasts, he did his homework, which was impressive for someone who covers a team of much greater importance in the grand scheme of things. He made sure to talk to our manager and whichever roving instructor was in town to learn the latest about the better-known players and prospects on the team. But he also took the time to learn more about journeyman players like Kevin Pucetas and got the inside scoop that he was going to debut his knuckleball in a game we did on TV last summer. Wouldn’t you know, in the fourth inning we saw the knuckler for the first time all season and because of Richard’s diligence, we were prepared to talk about it. I would imagine that is just a small example of his tenacity as a reporter.
I really enjoyed calling games with him. He truly got into the game situations and would do an outstanding job breaking down the action we watched unfold. I think this was because, in addition to his baseball expertise, he was just a sports fan who loved the on-field competition. That’s something Richard and I have in common.
We were going over our TV schedule just a few weeks ago and trying to map out which games he would join me in the booth over the remainder of the season. We scheduled him more for two more games in July, but he was disappointed he couldn’t do more because of conflicts with his Rangers schedule. Selfless and committed.
In addition to his devotion to his family, I will remember the small moments among our many interactions over the last two and a half years. Having lunch with him at Rudy’s in Frisco and randomly spotting Craig James at a table across the room. Him asking about my family and girlfriend and my plans for the future. Introducing him to my interns and assistants over the years, with whom he would freely dispense career advice or simply talk sports.
Maybe we shared a connection as current and former minor league baseball play-by-play broadcasters (Richard did a stint in short-season ball after graduating from college). Maybe it’s because he was just a good and decent person and that’s the way his relationships were with everyone he interacted with in life. Regardless, I’m going to miss him terribly and already do. I am sick that he is no longer with us in this world, playing catch with his young son or spending time with the rest of his family.
This is not an easy day for any of us that knew Richard or even took in his work online, in print, on the radio or on television. If there is anything to be taken from his sudden and shocking passing it may be for all of us to try our best to be like more him; to try to be as devoted to our family, and to try to be selfless and committed, like Richard was.
For now, we offer our prayers, thoughts and condolences to the Durrett family. We miss you, Richard.
Today the Texas Rangers announced the establishment of the “Richard Durrett Family Fund.” From the Rangers’ press release:
Donations can be made at texasrangers.com/foundation or through the mail at Richard Durrett Family Fund, Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, 1000 Ballpark Way, Suite 400, Arlington, TX 76011. Donations made through the Rangers Foundation in his memory will be directed to the Richard Durrett Family Fund.
Donations can also be made to the Richard Durrett Family Fund, c/o Liberty Bank, 3880 Hulen Street, suite 100, Fort Worth, TX 76107 or at any of their five metroplex locations.