Monday, May 16, 2022

The Greatest Draft Pick Ever

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Tony Lucadello was the sort of scout Hollywood changed into a punchline. He would have match properly within the early scenes of “Moneyball,” the place graying scouts discuss “the good face” and the sound of the ball off the bat. He labored with no radar gun or stopwatch and believed in homespun theories — doubtful however unimpeachable — that 87 % of baseball was performed beneath the waist and that no participant with glasses needs to be signed.

Born in 1912, with a few years as a Class D infielder within the 1930s, Lucadello was 5-foot-7, if that. “When you say Dr. Fauci, that’s who Tony Lucadello reminds me of today,” Schmidt mentioned of Lucadello, who had a dapper type: a coat and a tie, a fedora, and an ever-shifting perch at video games.

Lucadello would watch from the outfield or the baselines — even, typically, from a tree — to view prospects from numerous angles whereas retaining his distance from rival scouts. He didn’t drink or smoke or socialize a lot.

“He would exchange pleasantries, but he never gave you a smell of what was going on, not even a hint,” Gillick mentioned. “You thought he was a little bit eccentric, but at the same time scouts recognized people that could evaluate talent, people who’d been successful, and Tony certainly was.”

By 1980, the yr Schmidt carried the Phillies to their first World Series title, Lucadello had signed extra main leaguers than all the crew’s different scouts mixed. In all, he signed 52 gamers who reached the majors, together with one other Hall of Famer, pitcher Fergie Jenkins, and eight different All-Stars: infielders Toby Harrah and Mickey Morandini, outfielders Larry Hisle and Alex Johnson, and pitchers Don Elston, Grant Jackson, Mike Marshall and Bob Rush.

“Tony Lucadello was one of the greatest scouts I ever knew,” mentioned Art Stewart, 94, a senior adviser for the Kansas City Royals who met Lucadello in 1950. “Branch Rickey put it best: a great scout has the intangibles, like a great musician with an ear for music. I’ll never forget that, and that was Tony. Besides being so skillful at evaluating, he was so into getting the in-depth background on a player, to know everything he could from the priest of his church, from his girlfriend, from his father.”

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