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Monday, July 11, 2022

Jeff Hubbard started as hitter, then turned pitcher, coach and minor league team executive

After getting release, the Rangers called former minor league infielder Jeff Hubbard back and asked if he'd return for 1988 and pitch, The Fort Myers News-Press wrote.

But once he started pitching, injuries at single-A Port Charlotte forced him back to the infield, The News-Press wrote.

"I'm getting excited about it, but I know I shouldn't," Hubbard told The News-Press of the move back to the infield. "I know my future is pitching, and as far as third is concerned, there is no future."

For Hubbard, his future didn't really involve pitching either - that season proved his last. But it has involved baseball. 

Hubbard soon spent a short stint as a minor league coach, then as a team official and eventually co-chairman with the club his father Went Hubbard purchased in 1986, up the Rangers chain at AA Tulsa.

Jeff Hubbard's career in baseball began in 1984, taken by the Orioles in the 12th round of the draft out of the University of North Carolina.

Hubbard played his first year at rookie Bluefield. He hit .239 in 45 games. He then moved to independent single-A Daytona Beach for 1985, then single-A Visalia with the Twins in 1986.

He arrived with the Rangers in 1987 and saw 21 games at AA Tulsa, then his dad's team, and the organization released him. He returned in 1988 at Port Charlotte, pitching in 22 games and hitting in 42. He went 2-4, with a 4.17 ERA and hit .234 as a hitter.

Hubbard then turned to coaching. He served as hitting coach at Port Charlotte in 1989 and 1990, then at AA Tulsa in 1991.

His season at Tulsa in 1991 also proved a season with his dad's team. Went Hubbard purchased the Tulsa Drillers in 1986 and stayed with the team over the ensuing decades. In 2022, Jeff Hubbard and his brother Dale Hubbard continue as team co-chairs, repurchasing majority ownership in 2010.

"Jeff and I and our staff will continue to strive to give our fans a great place to come for relaxation and enjoyment," Dale Hubbard said in a statement upon the repurchase. "Our father set a good example for us to follow, and we intend to carry on his legacy."

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,957
Made the Majors:1,321-33.4%
Never Made Majors:2,636-66.6%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:540
10+ Seasons in the Minors:329

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