Went Hubbard, the former and current owner of the Tulsa Drillers (Class AA; Texas League), passed away yesterday after a battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 83.
Hubbard bought the Drillers in December 1986 from the Texas Rangers. Under his ownership attendance increased from 162,000 in 1986 to a then franchise record 351,929 in 1999.
Hubbard was responsible for most of the renovations and upgrades of Drillers Stadium on the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. He helped transform the park from a 4,800-seat facility with an artificial surface into a two-tiered stadium with natural grass that seated 11,000 fans.
"It's a very sad day for us," Drillers general manager Mike Melega told the Tulsa World. "He will always be in our hearts. To this day, he's still the most driving influence in how we operate. Personally, he was like a grandfather to me. We have a photo in our house of Went holding our daughter Anna after she was born and we look at that photo every day."
Following his retirement, Hubbard was elected to the Texas League Hall of Fame in 2006. His family bought controlling interest in the team from Chuck Lamson in late 2010, and Hubbard's sons, Dale and Jeff, currently serve as co-chairmen of the Drillers franchise.
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