Sunday, September 25, 2022

The biggest draft election ever

Tony Lucadello was the kind of scout Hollywood turned into a punchline. He would have fitted in well with the early scenes of “Moneyball,” where graying scouts talk about “the good face” and the sound of the ball from the bat. He worked without a radar gun or stopwatch and believed in home point theories – questionable but invincible – that 87 percent of baseball was played below the waist and that no player with glasses had to be signed.

Born in 1912, with a few years as a Class D infielder in the 1930s, Lucadello was 5-foot-7, if that. “When you say Dr. Fauci, that’s what Tony Lucadello reminds me of today,” Schmidt said of Lucadello, who had a bolder style: a coat and a tie, a fedora, and an ever-changing perch at play.

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Lucadello would look from the outfield or baselines – even sometimes from a tree – to see views from different angles while keeping his distance from rival scouts. He did not drink, smoke or socialize much.

“He exchanged comfort, but he never gave you a smell of what was going on, not even a hint,” Gillick said. “You thought he was a little eccentric, but at the same time, scouts recognized people who could evaluate talent, people who had been successful, and that was Tony for sure.”

By 1980, the year Schmidt carried the Phillies to their first World Series title, Lucadello had signed more major leagues than all of the team’s other scouts combined. In total, he signed 52 players who reached majors, including another Hall of Famer, pitcher Fergie Jenkins and eight other 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.

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“Tony Lucadello was one of the greatest scouts I’ve ever known,” said Art Stewart, 94, a senior adviser to the Kansas City Royals who met Lucadello in 1950. “Branch Rickey put it best: a great scout has intangible things like a great musician with an ear for music. I will never forget it, and it was Tony. Besides being so adept at evaluating, he was so into getting an in-depth background for a player, knowing all he could from the pastor of his church, from his girlfriend, from his father. ”

Nation World News Desk
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