Former Toronto Blue Jays catcher and current XM Radio host Buck Martinez said it best as he emcee’d the 25th annual Scout of the Year gala held Wednesday night at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
“Without scouts, there is no baseball.”
Martinez was the master of ceremonies of one of my favorite annual events, as each year four veteran scouts and their accomplishments are honored by an always-packed room of player development folks of the present and past (and even the future).
Scouts are, as the program tells us but we already know, the “unsung heroes” of the sport who have “unselfishly dedicated their professional lives to a game they truly love.”
Sadly, scouts still wait for their official acknowledgement somewhere in Cooperstown, a glaring omission that has gone on for way too long. So in the meantime, once a year in December, they are celebrated and appreciated by hundreds wherever the Winter Meetings are held.
This year’s fabulous foursome consisted of Tony DeMacio, Atlanta Braves special assistant to the GM (East Coast Scout of the Year), Art Stewart, Kansas City Royals Senior Advisor to the GM (Midwest Scout of the Year), Gib Bodet (pictured here prior to the ceremony), Los Angeles Dodgers National Crosschecker (West Coast Scout of the Year), and Epy Guerrero, an independent scout.
DeMacio has served as a scout for the Indians, Cubs, Orioles and Pirates and among his key signs have been Chipper Jones and Tom Glavine.
Stewart is in his sixth decade in the game, starting as a scout with the Yankees in 1953.
Bodet has been with the Dodgers since 1979. Prior to that he scouted for the Royals, Angels, Expos, Tigers and Red Sox.
Guerrero has signed 59 players who have made it to the Majors, working for the Astros, Yankees, Blue Jays and Brewers. His sons Mike and Sandy are both currently Minor League coaches/managers.