Those of you who came here because Neck Pickup won Best Music Blog in the recent Morning Call contest are about to learn that I write other stuff when I feel like it.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame has soy-bombed all my foreseeable free time with a new website called Diamond Mines.
It’s all about scouts and scouting, and it includes thousands of searchable scouting reports — real commentary by real scouts on real players, some of it going back as far as the 1950s.
A lot of it is mundane, but some of it is fascinating. I’ve already seen one player ragged on for needing a haircut.
The scouts occasionally tackle off-field issues as well. One player is rumored to have abused drugs in high school (“CHECK SOCIAL PROBLEM!” admonishes a scouting report), while another “could be a psycho.”
I’ve acquired a particular fondness for the reports of Eddie Bockman, a former big-leaguer who scouted for the Phillies and Marlins for more than 30 years. Bockman, who died in 2011, had a capacity for tartly but creatively summing up a player’s talents.
Some high points of Bockman’s oeuvre:
Chili Davis, 1989: “A waste of talent. Dog.”
Floyd Bannister, 1991: “Doesn’t look like a year in Japan has helped him – maybe financially.”
Matt Alexander, 1976: “As soon as one of the bigger donkies gets on base, he is used.”
Mel Hall, 1989: “Dead weight. Let George have him.” (Editor’s note: George Steinbrenner, presumably.)
Dave Bennett, 1966: “Thinks he has a sore arm.”
Mike Bielecki, 1991: “Might have a secret pitch that umpires can see. A little wet, grease, or what ever.”
Dave Smith, 1991: “Not saying he is legal in everything he does, but right now he is getting away with it.”
Bobby Bonds, 1966: “Needs a lot of work.”
Alan Gallagher, 1966: “Goofy but can play baseball.”
Cesar Gutierrez, 1966: “Check his past records.”
Andy Allanson, 1989: “Big guy, little poop.” (Editor’s note: He meant “pop,” presumably.)
Joe Charboneau, 1976: “No problems with him, on the field or off.”
Willie Crawford, 1964: “He can run now, but with a few years of good eating, he might get a little heavy.”
Rollie Fingers, 1976: “Has some larceny in his sole, and this makes him the competitor he is.” (sic)
Ed Bays, 1966: “Lot of mouth.”
Greg Gross, 1991: “Trying a comeback. Too little toolate!” (sic)
Odell Jones, 1982: “Does some things a High School kid would do. Gets lost on the mound.”
Randy Lerch, 1973: “Not much hanging on his bones, but has versatile ability.”
Frank Rubino, 1967: “Clubhouse lawyer.”
Kevin Mitchell, 1990: “Makeup a little negative. Needs guidance on social life. Outside of this he will hit some home runs and knock in runs. Amen.”
Bill North, 1976: “Be sure everyone runs balls out that are hit to him. No telling what he might do with it. Not a good outfielder.”
Kevin Wickander, 1989: “Loose liver??”
Carmelo Martinez, 1989: “What you see, what you get.”
Rick Reuschel, 1989: “Weight the same. Height the same. Delivery the same. Stuff the same. Only thing different – one year older.”