“He couldn’t run, he couldn’t throw, he couldn’t hit.”

This week’s historical anecdotes just go to show you how inexact the art of scouting can be.

-In 1906,  19-year-old Walter Johnson was released from a Tacoma team in the Northwestern League. The team’s manager, Mike Lynch, suggested to Walter that he forget about pitching and maybe try converting to the outfield.

-In 1890, Chicago star player/manager Cap Anson journeyed to Canton, Ohio, to scout a young pitcher by the name of Cy Young. He wasn’t impressed.

-Here’s one for ya’! In the spring of 1953, a St. Louis scout named Quincy Troupe recommended the signing of a promising young infielder to the Cardinals. The Cards sent a different scout to give the young man a look. His report back to St. Louis read like this: “I don’t think he is a major league prospect. He can’t hit, he can’t run, he has a pretty good arm but it’s a scatter arm. I don’t like him.” The player in question? Ernie Banks.

-I’m throwing this in just for kicks. The Cubs’ scout who was responsible for signing future Hall of Famer Billy Williams had originally been sent to check out Hank Aaron’s brother, Tommie. Billy’s signing bonus consisted of a cigar and a bus ticket.

-One more for the road. This is a quote from Gene Woodling in the book, We Played The Game.

Paul Richards… got me out of bed one morning to look at a young kid to see if he should sign him. He was a nice young man from Little Rock, Arkansas, who hadn’t even played high school ball. He couldn’t run, he couldn’t throw, he couldn’t hit. I never would have signed Brooks Robinson.

P.S. If I was a scout, I would have signed these two guys based solely on their charming smiles.

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6 thoughts on ““He couldn’t run, he couldn’t throw, he couldn’t hit.”

  1. Oh yeah? Well I’d like to see you try! I can put my “Walter Johnson” w/ my Jimmy Key, Nyjer Morgan and the batting practice baseball I got last year @ Yankee Stadium. Feel free to mail it to me or hand it to me in person : )

  2. If I had a baseball, I’d do it.
    In all seriousness, I find signature forging to be a fun activity (not for illegal purposes of course. *Nervous Laugh*) I’ve looked into Walter Johnson… he has a nice, simple autograph for copying.

  3. Whenever Maddie and I are in your neighborhood, I will bring you a baseball to sign! I have a few that I use to hit around in the summer so it is no biggie. Plus, I can brag about my Walter Johnson “autograph” to people who have no idea, but still look cool.

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