Former managing partner Rose passes away at 74

ARLINGTON -- Edward W. "Rusty" Rose, who was a major partner in the ownership group headed by George W. Bush that bought the Rangers in 1989, passed away on Friday night. He was 74 years old. Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. CT on Monday at Highland Park Methodist Church.

Rose and his close friend Tom Schieffer, who was club president and eventually succeeded Bush as managing partner, were the driving forces in an ownership which made the financial commitment that dramatically changed the fortune, outlook and public perception of the Rangers. The most prominent accomplishments were the construction of The Ballpark in Arlington in 1994 and the club capturing its first division championship in '96.

"I think Rusty Rose was one of the kindest people I ever met in my life," Schieffer said. "He always had a sense of duty to do things for other people. I will always remember when we sold the team in 1998, he stood up on the platform and said, 'You never really own a Major League team. The best thing you can do is be a good steward in running it.'

"Rusty was a good steward. He was a good steward in life. Those who knew him in life loved him deeply and will miss him."

Rose and Bush, brought together by former Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, were the Rangers' managing general partners after buying the team from Eddie Chiles. Rose remained in that position after Bush stepped down to run for governor of Texas in 1994.

The Rangers issued a statement lauding Rose's contributions to the club:

"The Texas Rangers organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Edward W. [Rusty] Rose. Mr. Rose joined George W. Bush in leading a Dallas-Fort Worth investor group that purchased controlling interest in the franchise in March 1989. As a general partner over the next nine years, Mr. Rose provided strong and innovative leadership that allowed the Rangers to grow into one of Major League Baseball's top franchises.

"Under Mr. Rose's watch, the ownership group partnered with the City of Arlington in the construction of The Ballpark in Arlington and aggressively increased the resources dedicated to scouting, Minor League development, and player acquisition. Their efforts resulted in the first playoff appearance in franchise history in 1996 and a second A.L. West Division title two years later.

"Mr. Rose was passionate about the Texas Rangers and was a true steward of the franchise. The Rangers express their deepest sympathies to Mr. Rose's family and friends and we share their great loss."

Bush originally assembled a group to buy the Rangers in 1988 that was heavily loaded with out-of-state investors. Ueberroth insisted more local investors be included -- and Rose, Schieffer and Richard Rainwater were among those recruited to join the group. Rainwater was the one who insisted Rose share the managing partner duties with Bush.

Bush -- whose father occupied the White House at the time -- was the public face of the ownership group, while Rose preferred to remain in the background. Although friendly on a personal level, Rose was especially protective of his privacy while still wielding significant power within the organization's ownership structure.

"Obviously, I didn't know Rusty when he became a partner," said Tom Grieve, who was general manager from 1984-94. "I'm not sure how big of a baseball fan he was before he became managing general partner. But once he became managing general partner, he watched every single game from the dugout area and never left before the last out. He developed a passion for the game and took his duties as managing general partner very seriously.

"He was very much involved in the day-to-day operations of the ballclub, along with George Bush and Tom Schieffer. But the only thing he ever asked me was what he could do to make our job easier. He was never critical, he just always wanted to know what was going on. I enjoyed his leadership. He was a very important part of our ballclub and a good man."

The Bush-Rose ownership group sold the team to Tom Hicks in 1998. Since then, Rose stepped away from the public spotlight for good -- although he remained involved in a variety of businesses, lending his considerable experience and insight to multiple corporate boards of directors. He spent 31 years associated with Drew Industries before retiring from its board of directors last year. Rose also remained close friends with Bush and contributed significantly to his presidential fundraising efforts.

Rose and his wife Deedie were involved in a number of Dallas-area community projects for education, health and the arts, and his lifelong passion for wildlife led him to service on the board of the Cornell Lab of Orinthology.

Prior to joining the Rangers' ownership group, Rose had been president of Cardinal Investment Company, Inc., a Dallas-based investment and brokerage firm. He was a 1963 engineering graduate of the University of Texas, with an MBA from Harvard. He also served in the United States Army.

Rose is survived by his wife, his children Will and Catherine Rose of Dallas and Lela Rose and Brandon Jones of New York, as well as his five grandchildren.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.