Former Rangers GM Klein dies at age 75

Baltimore native coached two North Carolina minor league teams in Shelby and Burlington

The Sports Xchange

Joe Klein, former general manager of the Texas Rangers and two other Major League Baseball teams, died Wednesday due to complications from heart surgery. He was 75.

The Rangers issued a statement, saying the “organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Joe Klein, who died early this morning at Philadelphia’s Temple University Hospital at the age of 75. Mr. Klein spent the first 23 years of his nearly six decades in professional baseball with the Senators/Rangers franchise.”

Klein was manager for two minor league teams in North Carolina: the Shelby Senators in 1969 in the Western Carolinas League; and the Burlington Senators of the Carolina League for half a season in 1970.

After seven seasons as a Washington Senators minor league infielder from 1962-68, Klein was a minor league manager and team executive during the franchise’s next 16 years.

“As assistant farm director and later head of the Rangers’ minor league operations, the Rangers signed and developed such players as Steve Buechele, Ron Darling, Danny Darwin, Jose Guzman, Tom Henke, Oddibe McDowell, Pete O’Brien, Kenny Rogers, and Ruben Sierra under his watch,” the Rangers said of Klein.

Klein served as the Rangers’ general manager from October 1982 to November 1984 and during that time helped develop front-office executive Tom Grieve, who succeeded him as GM.

Klein went on to be the general manager for the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers before a run as executive director of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball since its inception in 1998.

“Joe Klein was a dedicated and distinguished employee of the Washington/Texas franchise for more than 20 years. The Rangers extend their deepest sympathies to Mr. Klein’s family and friends at this difficult time,” the Rangers said in their statement.