Hall of Fame executive Branch Rickey once described the role of a scout as having the ability to “assay the gold content in a handful of ore.” Today, the long and storied history of those same miners, always on the lookout for the next diamond in the rough, is told at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Last weekend, the home of baseball opened its new Diamond Mines exhibit dedicated to the scouting profession. With close to 100 members of this profession, representing 20 big league clubs, in attendance for the festivities, visitors on Saturday morning also had the rare opportunity to hear firsthand from some of those veterans who have searched far and wide for the game’s next star.
Hall of Famer and three-time World Series-winning general manager Pat Gillick, 2011 Buck O’Neil Award winner and longtime baseball executive Roland Hemond, Texas Rangers scout and senior special advisor Don Welke and Miami Marlins Vice President of Player Personnel Dan Jennings, as well as Roberta Mazur, director of the Scout of the Year Program which funded Diamond Mines for its initial two-year run at the Hall of Fame, participated in a Voices of the Game roundtable discussion in the Grandstand Theater on Saturday.
“There’s absolutely no way that a general manager can get out and see every professional and every amateur player, so he has to have scouts that he can trust, that he has confidence in,” Gillick said. “They are vital to an organization because they are a lifeline that feeds the talent from the high school level or the collegiate level to the major leagues.
“You go and see a play on Broadway and you see the entertainment that is provided and never see the people that really are behind the scenes, the producers, the directors and the people that make these things happen. And that’s the same thing with the scouts. The scouts are the behind-the-scenes guys, sometimes they are the forgotten people.”