A Salute to the Scouts

Baseball scouts are the unsung heroes of our game.  Without them, there would not be any players to watch, to cheer for, and to emulate.  They sacrifice their time, energy and family life to bring us the best talent from around the world, for which I say thank you. 

Scouts are a hard working group of people.  They drive from town to town, watching game after game from the bleachers of high school stadiums across the country looking for future major leaguers.  In fact, most of the players they sign won?t make it to the big leagues.  A player is a liability to an organization, until he reaches the majors, and then he becomes an asset. 

In my opinion, scouts should have their own hall of fame, just like baseball writers and broadcasters do.  That recognition would be the validation they so richly deserve.  Their contributions to the game are endless, their love for the game is unconditional and their commitment is inspiring. 

When my playing career ended in 1960, I became a scout for the Dodgers.  I spent four years covering amateur games.  My first territory was a seven-state area including: Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington D.C.  I eventually moved to Southern California to scout that area.  As a scout, my dream was to be driving along and come upon a ballgame.  I would stop, watch the game and see a young ball player with talent and passion.  I would sign this young man who eventually would become a star at Dodger Stadium. 

I would like to thank Dennis Gilbert, Special Assistant to the Chairman of the White Sox, for co-founding the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation.  The PBSF is an organization that helps scouts who have fallen on hard times.  However, it also recognizes the top scouts at their annual banquet every December.  Dennis has been a leader is working towards recognizing just what the scouts do for our great game; they are the backbone of baseball.

9 Comments

First off, I really enjoyed your blog about Scouts. It’s an honor to talk to you (even if it is digitally). Growing up in New York, my first World Series’ memories were of your Dodgers playing my hometown Yankees. I was a humongous Graig Nettles’ fan. The personalities on both teams are etched firmly in my childhood memories. One of my favorite Dodgers was the “Penguin”, Ron Cey. I also loved the scrappiness of Steve Yeager. Reggie Smith was fun to watch. But you against Billy Martin was classic. To this day when I think of managers you and Billy are the first two faces that come to my mind.

As for scouting, I didn’t know you spent so many years on the road as a scout. So I have two questions for you- Who do you think are the top three scouts in the game today? and what team do you think is doing the best scouting in the latin american market? and also in all international scouting?

P.S.

First game I ever attended (Ron Guidry’s 18 strikeout game against the Halos-8 years old).

Carl Shimkin

bestblog.mlblogs.com

sycophant

dodgers@justwriteus:

Was hoping to get an educated comment from Lasorda, but all I got was little ole’ you. You are obsessed with Lasorda (and it’s all negative). It seems that you are all over the comments section, so who’s the sycophant? You sound like a wanna-be who can’t stand those more successful than you.

I don’t know what “sycophant” wrote, but out of respect for Tommy and his accomplishments, to say nothing of his age, I would be extremely happy to pound his face into to ground and break both of his legs. Small-minded, legends-in-their-own-minds punks like sycophant make it hard on real fans of Tommy like myself!

Hey Mr. Lasorda i was wondering if you could help me out i am the Grandson of Al Lakeman catcher with the 1947-1948 Phillies. I know you were drafted by the Phills in 48′ i was wondering if you had any stories about my Grandfather. My Grandfather had over 30 years in minor/Major League Baseball when he retired in 1969. My Grandfather passed away in 1975 when i was very young. My father has since passed away an info of my grandfathers career has as well. It is difficult to track down my Granfathers old teammates and players he coached. Time is not on my sided since the players and coaches of his time are passing away as well. i am proud of my Granfathers accomplishments and i am seeking to find answers from a player point of view of my my Grandfather. The only player i have ever got to talk to is Mr. Bill Voiselle. A great man. He took the time to answer all my questions. My Grandfather and Bill traveled overseas together entertaining the troops in WW2 and were teammates in 1949 with the Boston Braves and the Buffalo Bisons. So any help you can provide me would be appreciated. Thank You Mr. Lasorda
Wes Lakeman

You are right Tommy. But I wouldn’t mind knowing more stories about the scouts. About your time as a scout. About some players you came across and promised the world to, but they became a bust. Or vice versa.

As personally gratifying as being a player scout would be, I think being an advance scout might be more intriguing, if not more pressured.

Tommy,

How would you suggest going about becoming a scout for the Dodgers?

I have a baseball background and a passion to help the Dodgers in any way I can?

Thanks

G’day Tommy from downunder,

I sincerely hope you are planning to visit Australia before the WBC starts. Our country is in dire need of more media coverage about the WBC, On the TV News or TV Chat shows as well as in the newspapers and on the internet locally.

Australians are still mainly Cricket lovers and Baseball is considered a minor sport here. In saying that many young Aussie players are signed Pro in the USA each season and our own club http://www.asl.baseball.com.au has 5 junior players signed Pro the last 5 years. One of which, Dave Sutherland has a bright future ahead in your own Dodger organisation.

I get sick and tired of negative comments about the WBC…. some fans just cannot see the big picture about World Baseball. I love your positive outlook about Baseball and life in general.

I’m a Baseball player from the 70’s and Coach Juniors now and play a bit still in Australia and was lucky enough to live in LA a few years and attend many Dodger games when you managed. I loved watching Orel Hershiser bat butcher boys and pitch, Kirk Gibson, Mickey Hatcher and was there one day when Ramon Martinez hit a Home Run and the 20+inning game in Houston one night on TV when you had Mickey Hatcher pitching !!!. My wife grew up in California listening to Dodger games on the radio with her dad and my workmates uncle in California was Transport manager for the LA Dodgers for many years since the 1960’s.

The Dodgers are MY TEAM ( except for Australia of course). I was especially honoured to meet and chat with Roy Campanella one day on my way into Dodger Stadium.

I hope you get to come to Australia Tommy and preach the WBC and Baseball gospel ( Do you still bleed Dodger Blue???)

Cheers

Glen Long

http://www.asl.baseball.com.au

Where can a person go to get in touch with Baseball scouts in my area?

Thanks in advance,

Scott B.

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