Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star: Native son Beasley is no longer Caroline’s well-kept secret

FREDERICKSBURG FREE LANCE-STAR, STEVE DESHAZO

He won’t receive his ring until the spring, but the spoils of winning a World Series are already starting to roll in for Tony Beasley.

His first unrelated acquisition was a new hip, surgically implanted days after the Texas Rangers’ victory parade. That was a concession to the toll of 35 years in professional baseball as a player, instructor, minor-league manager and, most recently, the Rangers’ third-base coach, infield instructor and main batting practice pitcher.

Another byproduct of the higher profile that comes with success has been a demand on Beasley’s offseason title. Interview requests have rolled in from everywhere, and he normally relishes the chance to speak of his faith and his inspiring complete recovery from rectal cancer.

Still, he admits that “if I said yes to everything, I wouldn’t have time for anything else.”

One event that he couldn’t turn down was Thursday night’s celebration thrown by his native Caroline County at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell near King’s Dominion.

“Can anything good come out of Sparta?” rhetorically asked Floyd Thomas, the chairman of Caroline’s Board of Supervisors, referencing Beasley’ rural hometown and the bible verse John 1:46, in which Nathanael asks fellow disciple Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

“Come and see,” is the response.

And that’s why several hundred county residents, including dozens of family members, turned out to honor one of their own.

Caroline is a rural county whose greatest sporting claim to fame is the farm where Triple Crown winner Secretariat was foaled. Aside from a strong high school track team and occasional forays into the Virginia High School League state tournament, like the Cavaliers’ 2023 state runner-up baseball team made, heroes sometimes can be hard to find.

Which makes Beasley, who turned 57 this week, all the more cherished in Caroline. Not only has he represented the county in the professional ranks, he returns to his home and his church each offseason.

At Thursday’s event, several speakers praised Beasley as a role model. Among the gifts he received were a U.S. flag that has flown over the Capitol from Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, who represents part of Caroline, and a home plate from the ballpark in Bowling Green where Beasley played as a youth.

Beasley spent part of the evening holding his 1-year-old granddaughter Ella Grace and wiping away tears as the tributes poured in. But it wasn’t all serious.

Todd Parnell, with whom Beasley worked in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor-league system and who later became the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ CEO, read greetings from their mutual friend, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy.

He also related how Beasley prevented a brawl between the Double-A Altoona (Pa.) Curve and rival Erie with rare harsh commands to one of his coaches and to former major league slugger Pete Incaviglia, who was the hitting coach for the Sea Wolves.

Jared Beasley, pastor of Jerusalem Baptist Church, also shared his brother’s little-known nickname: “Biscuit.” That was bestowed by their father after a young Tony absconded with one of his sibling’s breakfast. Quipped Parnell: “I told (Bochy) that, and that’ll be his nickname at spring training.”

While acknowledging the elation of finally becoming a champion, Beasley said the Rangers’ historic postseason run of 11 straight road victories was “a grind.” He signed a two-year contract extension after the World Series, but said he has considered retirement.

It’s very possible, though, that if Texas remains successful, he could become a major-league managerial candidate — either with the Rangers whenever future Hall of Famer Bochy retires or with another club. Beasley spent 48 games as the Rangers’ interim manager in 2022 and aspires to run his own club again on a full-time basis.

For now, though, he’s savoring the view from the top and the long journey he took to get there — even if it comes with more demands than ever. One of baseball’s most beloved and respected men, he’s no longer Caroline’s well-kept secret.

“I’ve got a lot of new cousins and uncles since we won the World Series,” he said with a smile.

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