From 1961 to 1974, former major league pitcher Randy Gumpert was a scout for the New York Yankees. In 1970, Gumpert recommended that the Yankees sign a pitcher from the University of Pittsburgh. The Yankees used their 30th pick in 1970 to select the pitcher, who made his major league debut on September 5, 1972. The very next day, the pitcher began classes at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. For the next six years, the player pitched for the Yankees and, later, the Pittsburgh Pirates during the baseball season and attended medical classes during the off-season. He received his medical degree in 1977 and retired from baseball after the 1982 season to work full-time as an orthopedic surgeon.
In 37 years as a scout for the New York Yankees, Paul Krichell signed more than 200 players who went on to play professional baseball, including Hall-of-Famers Lou Gehrig, Phil Rizzuto and Whitey Ford. One of the players whom Krichell signed for the Yankees was an infielder who would win the American League batting championship in 1945 with an average of .309. The feat was particularly notable because, in the years between 1910 and 2019, only one American League batting champion (Carl Yastrzemski, 1968, .301 average) has finished the season with a lower average.
Veteran scout Ray Bellino played 13 seasons as an infielder in the minor leagues. His glove was his calling card. A defensive wizard but weak hitter, Bellino struggled to hit above .220. His defense carried him to Triple-A, where he played for six seasons. Bellino retired as an active player after the 1964 season without ever reaching the majors. After his playing days, Bellino managed in the minor leagues for four seasons and then embarked on a lengthy career in scouting. The most notable player whom Bellino signed was a pitcher who was the ninth overall pick in the 1994 draft. While playing for the Chattanooga Lookouts in 1994, this pitcher faced basketball Hall-of-Famer Michael Jordan five times during Jordan’s season as an outfielder with the Birmingham Barons. The pitcher reached the major leagues in June 1995 and would spend ten seasons in the big leagues.
Atley Donald had a 29-year career as a scout, working from 1946 to 1975. Before turning to scouting, Donald enjoyed an eight-year career as a pitcher with the New York Yankees. Working primarily as a starter, Donald compiled a career record of 65 wins and 33 losses. He was a key contributor to three consecutive pennant-winning Yankee teams, 1941 to 1943. During his time as a scout, Donald signed pitcher Ron Guidry and catchers Clint Courtney and Jake Gibbs, among others. Donald also signed a player who, on April 6, 1973, became a footnote to history as the first-ever designated hitter in the American League.
One of three brothers to play in the major leagues, this player hit 351 home runs and batted .292 during his 15-year career. Like his two brothers, the player was signed by veteran scout John Ogden. A former major league pitcher, Ogden had cultivated a strong friendship with the player’s mother. During his playing days, Ogden had pitched to Babe Ruth. According to Ogden, this player was the only batter he ever saw who hit a ball as hard as Ruth did. The player was once asked to compare playing on artificial turf with playing on real grass. An avowed horse enthusiast, the player replied, “If a horse can’t eat it, I don’t like it.”
In 13 major league seasons, this Brooklyn Dodger had a lifetime batting average of .324. In nine of his seasons, he hit .300 or better. After his final season, the player became a scout and, for a period of 20 years, he scouted for several different major league teams. In spite of his outstanding credentials as a hitter, the player is best remembered for his role in a play in which the Dodgers ended up with three runners on third base.
With one out and the bases loaded, the player hit a ball off the right-field wall at Ebbets Field. The player touched first base, then second, and headed for third. As he approached third base, he found two other teammates already occupying the base. The incident gave rise to a popular joke in which the straight man says, “The Dodgers have three runners on base.” The comedian then replies, “Which base?”
This former pitcher played for 18 seasons in the major leagues and was a five-time American League all-star. No slouch at the plate, he had 81 runs batted in and hit five home runs during his career, including a grand slam against the New York Yankees in 1960. After his playing days, he was a scout for the Oakland Athletics and discovered outfielder Jose Canseco while Canseco was playing for Carol City High School in Opalocka, Florida.
Yankees scout Dick Groch, assigned to scout in the Midwest, watched [this player] participate in an all-star camp held at Western Michigan University. Though Yankees officials were concerned that [this player] would follow his girlfriend and attend college instead of signing a professional contract, Groch convinced them to select him, saying, “the only place this kid’s going is to Cooperstown!” Who is this player?