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Capping a Career and Scout's Honor
Here's the transcript from Show 122 of weekly Outside The Lines - "Capping a Career" and "Scout's Honor"
BOB LEY, HOST- July 28, 2002. Baseball's best players, future Hall of Famers, hop from team to team. There will be a day of reckoning in Cooperstown. Which team's cap will adorn their plaque, and who will make that decision?
DALE PETROSKEY, PRESIDENT, BASEBALL HALL OF FAME- It's a decision that we should be making instead of the individual players.
REGGIE JACKSON, HALL OF FAMER- It wouldn't matter to me what rule you had. I'm going to select my cap, not you.
LEY- The Hall wants the hat chosen for the right reason.
FRANK ROBINSON, HALL OF FAME BOARD OF DIRECTORS- It's the players that are going into the clubs because they're being paid to wear their hat, and I think that's a shame.
LEY- Also, managers are inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with umpires and broadcasters. Should that honor extend to scouts?
KEN COMPTON, DIRECTOR OF PROFESSIONAL SCOUTS, SEATTLE MARINERS - I've seen some of these guys sell their life out to the game. Not to be recognized would just be a -- I think a -- disaster.
LEY- Today on Outside The Lines, Hall of Fame questions on Induction Sunday, scout's honor, and just who should decide how to cap a career.
This is a special weekend for the national pastime, especially when it faces another possible work stoppage. There's a palpably magical feel in Cooperstown, New York when the Hall of Fame inducts new members. But, this secular American shrine is facing several matters.
The first concerns the plaques, those portraits in bronze. A player wearing his team's cap captured for the ages. They are read in hushed tones of reverence by visitors to the Hall's gallery. Today, Ozzie Smith will join that array. But this age-old display is colliding with the modern reality of free agency. Player mobility, more millions in the game, and for every Ozzie or George Brett celebrated as the symbol of one team, more Hall of Fame caliber players are accumulating those credentials now with more than one team.
It is a present-day complication to the Hall's dedication to history. Which hat to place on these players, how to cap a career, and who should make that call.
GAME ANNOUNCER- Goodbye! Oh, what a blow!
LEY- Reggie Jackson is remembered as a Yankee, and forever memorialized as one on his Cooperstown plaque. Even though he played four years longer in Oakland, and hit 124 more home runs there than as a Yankee.
JACKSON- I went into the Hall of Fame wearing a Yankees hat because I wasn't wanted in Oakland. I wasn't welcome. And so, I came and was honored here in New York.
LEY- Frank Robinson is an Oriole forever in baseball's shrine, despite the fact the game's fifth all-time home run hitter knocked the majority of his 586 homers for the Cincinnati Reds.
ROBINSON- The reason I chose Baltimore, because I have more personal success with the Orioles, and I had more team success with the Orioles, and the fans look at me as an Oriole.
BUD SELIG, COMMISSIONER OF BASEBALL- I've grown up with a lot of players, and I have a lot of respect for them, and if a player has played, obviously, in multi teams, he's got to pick the team that meant the most to him.
LEY- Even though Bud Selig says the player has to pick the team, players may not have that choice much longer. And, in truth, they've never officially had that call in the past.
PETROSKEY- It's a decision that we should be making instead of the individual players.
LEY- Dale Petroskey, president of the Hall of Fame, says the Hall has always had the final word on which cap adorns a players plaque. But, with fewer Hall of Famers spending their productive years exclusively with one club, Petroskey insists the Hall will be more vigilant than ever in making an independent judgment.
PETROSKEY- We're the keeper of the game's history. And, in this plaque gallery, it's important that these plaques reflect the -- where a player was when he made his greatest contribution to the game.
LEY- At least one potential Hall of Famer is willing to let the Hall decide.
ALEX RODRIGUEZ, TEXAS RANGERS- I definitely think the Hall of Fame is much greater, much bigger, than myself or George Brett or Cal Ripken. I mean, if the Hall of Fame says you should go as X; maybe that should be the best way.
LEY- Not to Ricky Henderson. The game's all-time base stealer has played for eight teams, changing teams 12 times in 24 years.
RICKY HENDERSON, BOSTON RED SOX- I think they shouldn't because the ballplayer is out there playing, and I think he should have the right to make a decision on what cap he really wants to go to the Hall of Fame for.
PETROSKEY- We will make the decision, and in fact, it will in many ways take a lot of pressure off of them to make a decision which will make some people happy, and make some people not so happy.
JACKSON- It wouldn't matter to me what rule we had. I'm going to select my cap. Not you.
Selfishly, egotistically, you can call it what you want. My career belongs to me. And I'm going where I want to go. And if you want to put something on my hat and I don't agree, I won't be there that day.
LEY- Jackson's dispute may be philosophical, but it focuses attention on what can be financial. Dave Winfield was offered inducements by San Diego to be portrayed as a Padre on his plaque, rather than a New York Yankee. In Cooperstown, Winfield is a Padre.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays denied published reports they struck a cap deal with Wade Boggs. And, Jose Canseco told Outside The Lines that reports he had a similar arrangement with the Devil Rays are not true.
In the age of players seeking the last possible dollar, the Hall of Fame will not honor any so-called cap clauses.
PETROSKEY- Well, in today's world, players could make decisions based on the wrong reasons.
PAUL MOLITOR, FORMER BASEBALL PLAYER- They're almost negotiating with former clubs for individual benefits, to see which hat they'll wear into the Hall of Fame, and that's really -- you talk about the Hall of Fame being the purity of baseball, it's certainly a contradiction as far as that's concerned.
AL LEITER, NEW YORK METS- You know, it's kind of scary, you know, some guys get with new teams and that new team realizes the value in having their cap in the Hall of Fame and can buy guys off, pay them off. That's not a good thing.
LEY- Through this decade, the Hall will have tough choices to make. Which team to associate with Roger Clemens? The Yankees or the Red Sox? Will Randy Johnson be a Mariner or a Diamondback? Were Wade Boggs' best years with the Red Sox or the Yankees? He did get his 3,000th hit as a Devil Ray. Frank Robinson, a member of the Hall's Board of Directors, believes a player is owed some voice.
ROBINSON- If a player, say, chooses a ball club that he's played maybe one year or half a year with, and he's being paid money to select that hat, I think then they should step in, and then give him a choice of the two clubs that he was most prominently connected with, and say, here, you have a choice of these clubs, but you will not be allowed to go in with this ball club.
PETROSKEY- On the close ones, I don't think anybody is going to have a beef. On the ones that are egregious, I think people will side with us.
JACKSON- You tell a guy what hat he's going to wear --I don't think it's going to work -- and you never played? No, thank you.
LEY- Consider how baseball's first free agent solved this hat dilemma. The late Jim "Catfish" Hunter starred for both the A's and the Yankees. And he's memorialized for the ages in Cooperstown on a plaque containing his career's brilliance with a cap reflecting no team.
Hunter said he didn't want to alienate either team, and that was 15 years ago.
Joining us to discuss who should cap a career, we welcome Steve Garvey. His career spanned 19 years, 14 with the Dodgers, he was an MVP, a two-time All-Star MVP. A two-time playoff MVP, Steve Garvey joins us this morning from Park City, Utah. Good morning, Steve.
I understand within the last year you got a letter from the Hall of Fame on this topic. What did it say?
STEVE GARVEY, PLAYED 15 SEASONS WITH DODGERS- Well, essentially, Bob, it says that they reserved the right to choose the cap for the inductee and that's the first time I had seen a letter like that. My name's been on the ballot about eight years now. I thought it was odd.
But with some of the things that were just mentioned about people questioning why a player was going into the Hall of Fame with a certain hat, it's brought up a subject --this is one of the lighter ones, by the way --the ones we're facing in baseball now, but one that is very personal.
LEY- Is it one of the lighter ones, though, when you talk about the financial inducements and players reportedly, may even still have in some contracts?
GARVEY- Oh, I think so. I think -- you know -- it goes back to the situation where if a guy spends 15 years with one team and the last three with another, and he wins two World Championships and he has an affinity for this new team, and they want to keep him on in a vice president capacity, he may feel very strongly about them, so --and I understand the Hall of Fame -- the Hall of Fame is really the keeper of the integrity of the game.
But it's something that needs just communication. It seems to be protracted right now, but I think the Hall should sit down with the future inductee and talk it through, and both of them as mature, not only an individual, but a governing body, make the decision founded on what's best for the game, and the individual, and the Hall.
LEY- If fate were to smile on you, what would your thinking be about your plaque? You had very productive years, of course, stellar years, in L.A., but you were in the World Series with the Padres.
GARVEY- Well, for those handful of us that are laboriously working toward the Hall of Fame, it's interesting when I travel around the country, Padres fans will say, are you going in with a Padre hat; Dodger fans will say, are you going in with a Dodger hat and I say --you know, I haven't decided. It's one of those things that, God willing, I'll have the decision to make someday.
LEY- What are the factors, though, that you would have in your mind as you make that decision, Steve?
GARVEY- Oh, I think longevity; I think the effect I had on a certain team and fans. How much of my career was I able to affect the history of that team. There are a lot of factors in there, that's why you got to sit down with the Hall of Fame when you get the opportunity and look at all the reasons why. And personally, monetary wouldn't be one of mine, because I love the game so much, I'm a historian of the game, but I think it's important to sit down and both parties to work it out for the best interest and then, there's always the case where, you know, you have somebody that goes in with no hat.
LEY- Well, Catfish Hunter did that, but, bottom line, in one sentence, though, you've encouraged communication. Does the Hall have the right, should they have the right, to make this decision?
GARVEY- Well, they are the governing body. And if they decide unanimously and --to do that -- then I -- they have the right to do it. As far as I'm concerned, God willing, I'll have the opportunity one day, and it won't be a deal breaker.
LEY- All right, listen, we wish you the best of luck in that regard. Steve Garvey, thanks a great deal.
Next up, the issue of whether scouts should be inducted into the Hall of Fame, as we continue. We will be discussing that issue with a couple of Hall of Famers with differing views, former Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda and 1999 inductee Orlando Cepeda, when we come back.
Ozzie Smith today becomes the 254th member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. And that is rather exclusive company for a game in its third century. That number includes 16 managers, eight umpires, and 23 executives. And, in addition, 79 writers and broadcasters are officially recognized in Cooperstown. But, not the men who discover the talent, which is the lifeblood of the sport.
Tom Rinaldi considers the Hall of Fame aspirations of baseball's scouts.
COMPTON- You have good hitters that seem to swing at pitches that are strikes for them. That was a good swing.
TOM RINALDI, ESPN CORRESPONDENT- If you hit it far, or throw it fast, they will come. Ken Compton is one of them, one of 300 baseball scouts here at the Area Code games, a showcase tournament for baseball's brightest prospects.
The scouts face the same challenge -- Find a future star inside the present player.
DOUG DEUTSCH, AREA SCOUT, HOUSTON ASTROS- There hasn't been a stopwatch that has stolen a base yet, there hasn't been a leaded bat that's hit a home run yet. There has not been a radar gun that struck out anybody yet. And, I think sometimes -- sometimes that's lost.
RODNEY DAVIS, AREA SCOUT, SEATTLE MARINERS- To do this job well, you've got to love baseball. Because you see a lot of it, and you've got to see a lot of bad players play to see the good ones.
RINALDI- A scout's life is essentially an endless road trip.
BOB ZUK, CINCINNATI REDS SCOUT- I used to travel when I was a territory scout approximately 60,000 miles every year.
HARRY MINOR, NEW YORK METS SCOUT - Me? About 40, 45.
RINALDI- Yet for all the stops along the road, there is one stop scouts have not been able to make -- The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Scouts are not individually recognized by nor inducted into the Hall.
COMPTON- I've seen some of these guys sell their life out to the game, and to be such a critical part of the game, you know, and not to be recognized would just be -- I think -- a disaster.
RINALDI- There is evidence of scout's work everywhere in the Hall of Fame. Look at the Roberto Clemente exhibit. The legendary Pittsburgh Pirate is described as "a remarkable find in the winter draft of minor leaguers out of the vast Brooklyn Dodger farm system." Yet, there is no mention of Howie Haak, the scout who actually found Clemente.
Phil Pote, a scout for 37 years, is still searching for his star.
PHIL POTE, AREA SCOUT, SEATTLE MARINERS- I'm looking for getting scouts into the Hall of Fame. (laughs) If it were only players that would be one thing, but when there's executives, umpires, managers, writers, and announcers, why not scouts?
PETROSKEY- The reason we limit it to those four categories is because performance on the field is easily quantifiable. Scouts and the scouting profession are an integral part of baseball, but those folks are in a category that's one or two steps removed from performance on the field, and, therefore, impossible to quantify.
POTE- Sure, there might be a little difficulty in that, but isn't there difficulty in selecting veterans? How accurate are the statistics from 1903? Or how accurate are some of the statistics from the Negro Leagues?
COMPTON- If you don't have scouts, you don't have players. You don't have players, you don't have baseball.
PETROSKEY- You can say that parents have a tremendous influence. You can say high school coaches. College coaches. Minor league managers and coaches. There are so many people that influences along the way that make that player who he is, by the end.
RINALDI- If you throw a great pitch, but no one sees it, is it still a strike? That, essentially, is the scout's mission and so it's the scout's argument. Without their hard work, how many great players never would have been seen? And, so, never would have made it to the Hall of Fame.
JOHN SCHUERHOLZ, GENERAL MANAGER, ATLANTA BRAVES- If the scout has, over his career, recommended players, signed players, been involved in the scouting of players, who have gone on to have great careers in Major League Baseball, he too ought to have the recognition that a writer who wrote about those players has.
RINALDI- The Hall of Fame did have a general exhibit on scouts for seven years, but removed it during the Hall's current renovation project. There are plans for a new larger exhibit. It will include items like this, the original scouting report card on Tom Seaver. Filled out by a scout named Tom Lasorda. Still, there are no plans to induct even pioneering scouts individually.
PETROSKEY- What people don't understand well enough is the scouting profession and how important it is to the game, and we believe the best service we can provide is through an exhibit, as opposed to just putting names on the wall.
DEUTSCH- The guys who signed the Mickey Mantles, the guys who signed the players that are in the Hall of Fame, they definitely belong in there, too, if they've got a track record. And I think there's got to be some formula, some way of figuring it out. I'm not smart enough to figure it out, but I think there's the bright minds of this business that can put men on the moon and ought to be able to put a scout in the Hall of Fame.
LEY- The question is, do they belong in the Hall? We welcome Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, who was inducted five summers ago after 20 years, eight division titles and two World Championships with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tom joins us this morning from Fullerton, California.
Orlando Cepeda was inducted three years ago. His 17-year career includes a Rookie of the Year award and a unanimous selection as a Most Valuable Player, and Orlando joins us this morning from Cooperstown. Welcome to you both.
Obviously, scouts are important, Tommy. How important is a scout to an organization? You used to do it.
TOMMY LASORDA, L.A. DODGERS SR. V.P.- Yeah, I think they're very, very important, Bob. You know, without the scouts, they're the backbone of baseball. They cover the -- not only the United States, now -- but they cover practically the world. And they go out and look for players. And if the scout doesn't see this guy play, there are many, many who are passed by. Many have been signed by scouts who went on to become great baseball players.
I heard somebody say, well, how about the high school coaches, the college coaches, the minor league managers. Yes, they are all part of it, but they could never be part of it if the scout didn't find them. The scouts are very, very important. They are the unsung heroes of our game. They dedicate their entire life to the game of baseball, and I think they should be recognized.
LEY- And, Orlando, you're of the opinion, Orlando, that they don't necessarily belong individually in the Hall. Why do you feel that way?
ORLANDO CEPEDA, HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE- Well, you know, to me, right now that belong to the Hall of Fame. Because, if you're going to pick somebody -- a scout -- you've got to pick this guy who recommended Willie McCovey because they say Willie Mays can't play ball because he can't hit breaking balls. They say Ernie Banks can't play in the big league because he have a hitch. They say Hank Aaron can't play ball because he have a hitch. So, the people who recommend those guys if somebody going to be in the Hall of Fame have to be those people from Alabama or whatever.
Also, (inaudible) from Puerto Rico that Tom Lasorda knows very well, knew very well, called the Brooklyn Dodgers because they have Roberto Clemente, and Al Companis went to Puerto Rico and signed Roberto Clemente. Those people, they should be in the Hall of Fame. But today's people, I don't think so. There's too many scouts. If you know the game of baseball, don't take too long to see talent. So, no, I don't think so.
LASORDA- Look, too many baseball players or too many writers, too many broadcasters. But, only the great ones get inducted. And that's what you have to do with the scouts of this country. Or these organizations. You take the best ones. There are a lot of scouts, but there are not great scouts. So the ones that are the great scouts are the ones that should be in there.
If it weren't for scouts, Cepeda wouldn't have been signed. Tom Sheehan from the Giants saw him play. I was on the team with Cepeda. He was a reserve when I was playing on the San Torsi team. If it weren't for scouts, he would not be in baseball today.
LEY- Orlando, how difficult do you believe it is to judge the pro potential of a young ball player? How tough is that?
CEPEDA- It's not that hard, if you know the game. If you see a ball player. You see Tom Seaver. You saw Willie McCovey. And, don't take too much sense to see they have talent. I don't think they -- no -- I don't think so.
LEY- Not too hard, Tommy, Orlando says.
LASORDA- How about Michael Piazza? He was drafted in the 62nd round. That meant there were 1,050 ball players drafted ahead of him. If somebody hadn't seen him and developed him, he would not be playing in the Major Leagues today. So, you have to admit that, sure, the Seavers, anybody can tell about those guys, but how about the guys like Mickey Mantle and some of those guys that a lot of players, a lot of people didn't think they could play in the big leagues.
LEY- Tommy, what would you say to the Hall of Fame in an effort to get them to change their mind?
LASORDA- Well, I would say to them that I think that they should be recognized, just as they are recognizing sportscasters, just as they are recognizing writers, deservedly so. Because they're an intricate part of the game. The writers, the sportscasters, the players, the managers, the executives.
And why not the scouts? They're the backbone. Let me tell you, a scout -- he's got to go out, he's got to be a visionary. He's got to see a guy play and he's got to not what you see now, it's what you think you're going to see three or four years from now. It's like cutting a diamond out of the mine.
LEY- Yeah, you've got to take that time.
LASORDA- It's all black.
LASORDA- And you've got to polish it and you've got to shine it, but if you hadn't taken it out of the mine, you would never of been able to have the diamond.
LEY- And, Orlando, quickly what would you say to today's scouts who are agitating a little bit and making an argument to put scouts into the Hall, what would you say to those folks?
CEPEDA- You know, I saw scout not too long ago, that because here's a guy that was 6-foot-3, 190 pounds. Great body. But hit .150 because he looked good in the uniform that give him big bonus. You know, you sign people for talent, regardless of size. Because baseball is a game of you know, heart and skill. Not because he looked beautiful in the uniform. And that happens today.
LASORDA- Orlando, you must understand that you're talking about scouts, you've got to talk about the good scouts. The scouts that have gone out and signed outstanding players. Those are the ones we're talking about.
LEY- Nothing like a Dodger and a Giant on opposite sides of the issue on Induction Sunday. Guys, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
LASORDA- Hey, Bob -- Bob -- may I say this. Congratulations to our great, great shortstop, our great inductee -- he is so deserving of it, we're all proud of him -- and tell him I'm sorry I can't be with him today.
LEY- OK. I'm sure he's watching. Tommy Lasorda, Orlando Cepeda, gentlemen, thank you. Orlando, enjoy the day in Cooperstown.
CEPEDA- OK, thank you.
LEY- Gentlemen, thank you very much, and we'll continue on Outside The Lines heading toward SportsCenter in just a moment.
LEY- We look forward to your e-mail. Address it from our website, the key word OTL weekly, and you can peruse our library of transcripts and streaming video. We look forward to your opinions on Hall of Fame caps and scouts and our address is OTLWeekly@ESPN.com.