Oates was presented with a framed jersey in recognition of the honor and a special display with his name and number was placed, at the time, on the front of the press box. The current location of a newer display is in the outfield, on the right-center field wall of English Field. Oates' jersey is the first baseball jersey to be retired by Virginia Tech. His number 15 remains available to future Tech players.
Oates came to Blacksburg in 1965 and was an outstanding catcher for the Virginia Tech baseball team. He hit .410 in 1966 and .342 in 1967 before signing with the Baltimore Orioles after his junior season. Oates spent 11 seasons in the major leagues as a player, seeing action in two World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers and one with the New York Yankees. After retiring as a player in 1981, Oates tried his hand at coaching, and went on to become the major league manager of the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers. He was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1983.