Foresters, baseball community mourn passing of Woods, Reeves

Gary Woods and Doug Reeves, two integral members of the Santa Barbara Foresters baseball organization, have passed away, the team reported on its website Friday.

Woods died at his Solvang home Thursday from a heart attack. Reeves passed on Tuesday; he had been dealing with a serious illness.

Woods was a standout baseball player at San Marcos High and SBCC in the 1970s. He was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 1973 and played nine seasons in the major leagues. His career included stints with the A’s, Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs. His career batting average was .243.

Woods played in two National League divisional playoff series with the Astros (1980, 81) and one with the Cubs (1984).

Woods, 60, was inducted into the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame in 1994.

He was working as a scout for the Chicago White Sox.

He was an assistant coach with the Foresters for many years and was part of all five of the team’s National Baseball Congress national championships.

The Foresters acknowledged Woods’ many contributions to the ballclub: “His leadership, his work with our young players, and his knowledge of the game were awesome. He was a great friend to us and wore his Foresters ‘F’ with great pride.”

The Foresters also noted how his expertise helped  players advance to the professional level.

“Dozens of professional baseball players can point with pride and love to Gary as one of the mentors and teachers that helped them achieve their dreams.”

Said Foresters manager and longtime friend Bill Pintard: “The Forester Family lost not only a wonderful coach and mentor but a dear friend, father, and brother to so many. His players were like his sons and he cared so much for all of them. He will be dearly missed by all of us but never forgotten. Rest in Peace, our brother.”

The SBCC baseball team plans to pay tribute to Woods before its home game Saturday against Oxnard at Pershing Park.

Reeves was a major contributor to the Foresters’ success. He was part of the organization’s board of directors and a “volunteer extraordinaire.”

“Whether helping set up the stadium, cooking hot dogs, making trips for whatever was needed, Doug was always there, putting the team first and himself second, always ready with a smile or an offer of help,” the Foresters said in a statement on their web site.

“Doug was also a talented architect and contributed many hours to the Foresters and Santa Barbara City College to help create the best baseball fields in the area. He and his wife, Carla, were also host families many times, and his extended baseball family will remember him with great love.”

Said board member Jim Buckley: “I can’t imagine how we would have achieved so much in taking care of our fans for so many years without Doug’s hard work, commitment, and caring.”