Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mets Draft Bob Scott

In June, all thirty Major League teams drafted a former Negro League player who never played in the majors.

The Mets picked a pitcher/1B – Bob Scott, who played for the NY Black Yankees and the Memphis Red Sox, as well as other teams.

Scott's career began in 1941 with the Macon Braves. In an interview with Geoff Gehman - The Morning Call, Scott recounts his time in baseball, such as facing Buck Leonard, playing with Jackie Robinson's Traveling All Stars, and racism.

When asked about how hard he threw as a pitcher, Scott responded: “If you played in the Negro Leagues, you had to be up there at 90 to 95 [mph]. And you had to have good movement, too. Because if you didn't, they'd hit you right out of the ballpark. Everyone, from the catcher to the pitcher, was a good hitter.”
“To pitch in that league you had to have really great stuff. And you had to make them get off the plate. They had to be half afraid of you [laughs]. I never let 'em get set in the box, you know. And they'd go: ''Man, you betta not be hittin' me!'' And I'd go: ''I'm not goin' to hit you; get back in there!'' And then I'd throw 'em a good slow changeup curveball to cross 'em up [laughs].”

Asked who the toughest hitter he ever faced was, Scott didn't even pause: “That really was no problem: Buck Leonard [the hall of fame first baseman]. If he'd had went to the major leagues, he would have broke all kinds of records. He could hit anything. He was around age 45 when I pitched against him. He hit a home run off me in South Carolina, and the ball left the diamond just like an airplane taking off. Man, I don't see nobody hit like that anymore.”

About the honorary draft held for Negro League players:
“I was there for the draft -- in Florida ... Orlando ... June 5. The Mets drafted me; they didn't want the Yankees to get me [laughs]. It was real nice, and it gave us a good goal. We want to get those 30 ballplayers they drafted to go to different cities and talk to these young kids and tell them about the great opportunity of being a baseball player. It's going to be a wonderful thing and give us a little something to do.
You know, a lot of people don't realize that the Negro Leagues were well organized from 1920 to 1950. We were outdrawing the major leagues. We played at Yankee Stadium in the '40s and we'd have 50,000 people. The Yankees played there and they'd have 20. We were playing a different brand of baseball, and we had black and white fans.
And the major leagues were looking at the competition and they didn't like it. They didn't just get Jackie because they wanted him; it was a money thing, too. And they could get these guys for nothin'. Hank Aaron: 700 home runs; they got him for $500. Can you imagine paying $500 for Hank Aaron?
They broke our league up, but anyone who played in the Negro Leagues from 1920 til 1950, you get a pension from Major League Baseball. So they tried to do what's right I guess. So I don't feel too bad.
I think about it often: I would have played for just a sandwich. Because we loved the game. And that's what it's all about. Baseball is America's greatest game. When you're talking about baseball, you're talking about America, guys with a lot of character. We didn't have much money, but, man, we did have a lot of character.”
The Mets should see if Scott would be willing to be a #5 starter for the 2009 season. Although he is 78, can he really be much worse than what they have had from the #5 position?

1 comment:

Long Island Met Fan said...

i loved the line he would have played for a sandwich. Good post and I look forward to Bob taking Aaron Heilmans rost spot