"John would always get up, shave and clean up. It would be the morning of spring training when he was cutting somebody or releasing somebody, and he wanted the guy to look across the desk and know that he had clear eyes and a clear head," Showalter said. "He took that responsibility very seriously because John and I both have been in those shoes. We've been the 26th man on a club many times. Whether they agreed with you or whatever, you want them to walk out of there and know that this wasn't some guy that did this haphazardly. This was something he took very personal, just like I do. You're dealing with human beings' lives every day."
Gloria Oates acknowledged that it will be an emotional weekend for her family. She still remembers the reception that her husband, dismissed by Orioles owner Peter Angelos after the strike-shortened 1994 season, got when he returned to Camden Yards to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day 2002 less than a year after his diagnosis.
"We were invited to sit in Mr. Angelos' suite that day and when Johnny went up to do an interview with Jim Palmer, Mr. Angelos gave me a great big hug and said to me, 'I wish I never let him go,'" Gloria Oates said. "I was able to share that with Johnny. In life, you really never get closure in a lot of things. But for us, that was such a healing statement. It meant a great deal to Johnny and the family. To come back and have this honor, it's just this whole thing coming back at full circle."
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