As many readers know, the Rox late manager Ron Thomas passed away on February 7th, 2016. Although tragic, it was not entirely unforeseen, those close to Ron know first hand the numerous, difficult battles that took place between Ron and complications secondary to a congenital heart condition. These battles lasted Ron’s entire lifetime and until the end of December it looked as if Ron was going to win another battle and join the Rox for the 2016 season. Ron managed the Rox for nearly 10 seasons beginning in 2006, the past 10 years have contained many of the most winning seasons in Rox history.
Preceding the final 2016 home game against Clinton the Rox planned a ceremony to recognize Ron and his significance to the Rox. The tribute began with the guests of honor, the Thomas family, taking the mound as Matt Fellows spoke about Ron and the pivotal role he played in taking the Rox, from a team of kids and immature young adults, scratching out the occasional win in 2005, to a team of men perennially fighting for a state tournament appearance. As M. Fellows’ speech concluded Ron’s number 35 was retired. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by Jim and John Thomas to Bruce and Chris Doney. Following the first pitch was a presentation of flowers to Lynn Thomas and DeAnn Thomas-Kvidera by Chris Fellows and Riley Sammon and a presentation of Ron’s game worn jerseys enclosed in display cases to Jim and John by Joe Fuller and Curt Schake. It was an emotionally difficult, but touching moment as the ceremony closed with the Thomas family being consoled by many Rox players and fans.