Ron Washington was still passionate about the game as losses kept piling up during an injury-plagued season for the Texas Rangers.
With a revolving roster filled with so many young players who had never been in the big leagues, Washington kept teaching - youngsters and veterans alike - to help them be better now and in the future.
The eighth-year manager, who led Texas to its only two World Series, already was looking forward to 2015. And the Rangers were planning for their winningest manager to be back.
But the 62-year-old Washington abruptly resigned Friday for what he termed an ''off-the-field personal matter.'' His statement provided few answers, and general manager Jon Daniels cited Washington's privacy while not getting too detailed.
In a text to The Associated Press, similar to the message he sent several people, Washington said he will be fine and just needed some time. He again offered no specifics about his unexpected resignation, but strongly indicated his absence from baseball wouldn't be permanent.
''I'll get back in the Game!,'' he finished his text.
''He means a lot. That's why for sure it's going to be hard for me that he's not going to be here anymore,'' said Elvis Andrus, the 26-year-old sixth-year shortstop whose 896 games played for Washington were more than any other player.
Washington described in his statement Friday how painful the decision was, but said it was not because of the team's losing season. He did give Daniels permission to say at a news conference that the move ''was not drug-related.''
Team executives stood by him during spring training in 2010, when it was disclosed that Washington had admitted to using cocaine once the previous year. The manager got another two-year contract extension in 2012, and before this season got another year through 2015.
Now Wash is gone.
''It's kind of like being traded. We've got a new manager,'' said lefty Derek Holland, who just this week made his season debut. ''The main thing is I'm thankful for having Wash around ... for what he's taught me, both on and off the field.''
The Rangers played more than 162 games each of the past four years. After their two American League pennants (2010-11), they lost the AL's first one-and-done wild card game to Baltimore in 2012, and last season lost wild-card tiebreaker at home to Tampa Bay.
But 2014 has been marked by all the injuries, including a majors-high 14 players current on the disabled list. That includes main offseason acquisitions Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo, ace pitcher Yu Darvish and left-handed starters Matt Harrison and Martin Perez.
The Rangers have set big league records using 40 pitchers and 63 players. There have been 22 rookies, 15 of them making their major-league debuts - two pitchers doing so in Washington's last game Thursday night, a loss that made Texas (53-87 then) the first team mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
''Unbelievable. I don't think any team can have a season like this in any way,'' third baseman Adrian Beltre said. ''Injuries, changes, all the bad things that happened this year. I never remember any team going through this and I hope it will be the last one for anybody. Because it hasn't been fun.''
First-year Rangers bench Tim Bogar, who had played for Washington in the minors, was named the interim coach for the rest of this season. He will also be a viable candidate when Daniels begins his search to replace the first manager he hired.
''We haven't gotten that far,'' Daniels said. ''This is pretty fresh as far as where we are in the situation and how things have come down, but ultimately we're going to make a long-term choices based on what's best for the organization and club moving forward.''