Gerry Fraley, who spent thirty years covering the Texas Rangers and many other sports for The Dallas Morning News, has died at the age of 64 following a two-year battle with cancer. The Dallas Morning News announced his passing on their site on Saturday.
Brilliant, dedicated and gruff. A bona fide Breslin-esque newspaper character admired by peers, players, managers, coaches, umpires, officials, scouts, clubhouse attendants, at least one commissioner, waitresses in general and a former president in particular.
Fraley, who died early Saturday morning at 64 after a two-year bout with cancer, was a loyal friend, bitter enemy, loving father and a “ballwriter’s ballwriter,” according to the consensus of nearly two dozen national colleagues.
While Fraley was most well-known for his coverage of the Rangers, he also wrote about football, basketball, NASCAR, and many other topics during his four-decade career. He previously covered the Phillies at the Philadelphia Bulletin and the Braves at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His impressive career continued right up until a recent Stars-Predators NHL playoff game when he penned the lead and hit his deadline with a minute to spare, “as was his custom.”
Started at the Dallas Morning News on this day 30 years ago. Will still match our sports section against any in the country.
— Gerry Fraley (@gfraley) May 8, 2019
“Even as he fought against this dreadful illness,” said DMN boss Garry Leavell. “It was hugely important to Gerry that he didn’t let down his colleagues and his readers. He had a work ethic second to none.”
As expected, the tributes started pouring in immediately and didn’t let up all day. The respect Fraley commanded from his colleagues and those he covered is evident in the reactions. Not to mention a few good stories about his work ethic and sense of humor.
Former Texas Rangers owner (and President of the United States) George W. Bush chimed in, saying “Gerry was an accomplished writer and a keen observer of many sports. It always seemed to me that baseball was his real passion, thereby establishing a kinship and a lasting friendship.”
RIP Gerry Fraley, one of my oldest friends in this business. Gerry was a giant in our profession. Loved covering baseball, with a relentless work ethic & never-ending quest to find truth, answers & essential information that no one else even knew to seek out. A true scribe legend https://t.co/MqvQzV97zq
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) May 25, 2019
To Gerry Fraley, who did newspapering as well as and different than anyone I ever knew. The hole he leaves won't be filled.
— Ray Ratto (@RattoIndy) May 25, 2019
The Texas Rangers extend their thoughts and prayers to the family of longtime Dallas Morning News baseball writer Gerry Fraley, who passed away early this morning after a long and courageous battle against cancer. May he Rest In Peace.
— John Blake (@RangerBlake) May 25, 2019
A few years ago in Arizona, Gerry Fraley told me he had a new plan for spring training: Pick out something from a #Rangers exhibition, write off that, provide different insight. I thought, “Man, it’s amazing the intensity he’s bringing, even when the games mean the least.” RIP.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 25, 2019
We were always blessed every time you graced our press box. Thank you for your service to the DFW sports world throughout your work with the Dallas Morning News. You'll always be remembered. Rest in peace, Gerry Fraley. https://t.co/CrrWL5Uqka
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) May 25, 2019
Gerry Fraley was the epitome of what journalism should be: Someone who asked hard questions, and was never tethered to the kind of quid pro relationships that bend and rot the truth. And man, was he funny. This is so sad. https://t.co/khIJq4cjbl
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 25, 2019
I was sitting with the great Gerry Fraley, gone now at 64, the night the Rangers beat the Yankees in the ALCS to advance to the Series. A-Rod was the last out, a strikeout. Gerry turned and said, "The Rangers always hoped Alex would put them in the World Series. He finally did."
— Mike Lupica (@MikeLupica) May 25, 2019
RIP Gerry Fraley. Enjoyed talking ball and politics with him. Smart old-school ball writer who made a difference.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) May 25, 2019
We are so saddened by the passing of Gerry Fraley, a dedicated journalist, one of the best baseball writers ever, a wonderful father and a dear friend. R.I.P., Frales.
— Tim Kurkjian (@Kurkjian_ESPN) May 25, 2019
Condolences to the staff of @SportsDayDFW and the Rangers beat on the passing of Gerry Fraley. Always stopped by where the visiting writers sat to ask if we needed anything. And he sure knew how to ask a player or manager a tough, direct question. A good man gone far too soon.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) May 25, 2019
In my first year covering baseball, I had a kerfuffle with an esteemed writer. Shaken, I called Gerry Fraley to ask if I had erred. Irate, he said no & offered to punch the fella in the nose! Gerry was in Atlanta. I was in N.Y. Had to talk him out of getting on a plane! #Frales
— Claire Smith (@MzCSmith) May 25, 2019
Cubs manager Joe Maddon opened his daily press briefing with a comment on Gerry Fraley, the long-time Dallas Morning News reporter who died at the age of 64 following a battle with cancer… pic.twitter.com/KomDw9jq7G
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 25, 2019
Gerry Fraley’s extraordinary professionalism, generosity and humor were known to all of us fortunate enough to spend time with him over the years. If you loved the game, that was the only ticket you needed to sit beside him and hear his all-time great stories. RIP, my friend. https://t.co/LgvazWRutN
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) May 25, 2019