The book: “A Scout’s Report: My 70 Years in Baseball”
The author: George Genovese, with Dan Taylor
The vital statistics: MacFarland books, 244 pages, $29.95
Find it: At Amazon.com, at BarnesandNoble.com, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com
The pitch: Many of the players who George Genovese mentored, coached, developed and eventually signed after they were drafted during his career as one of the most prolific baseball scouts in the game’s history, you may already know.
Most of the bigger names were during Genovese’s 31-year-run with the San Francisco Giants, as guardian of the Southern California territory that essentially meant he had to do some convincing to them and their parents that the Dodgers’ hated rivals wanted them more.
It wasn’t even dumb luck when Genovese lost out to a local kid who wanted to stay home. The famous story about the pre-draft 1964 time when everyone was after L.A. Fremont High star Willie Crawford, and then Dodgers scout Tommy Lasorda (who took the time to write this book’s forward) eventually got him after giving a 15-minute eulogy at the funeral of Crawford’s grandfather, which endeared himself to the family. Genovese’s runner-up prize was recommending that his organization take a kid from Riverside Poly High named Bobby Bonds.
From there, it was as if Genovese was picking fruit off the Dodgers’ trees — George Foster (Leuzinger in Lawndale), Gary Matthews (San Fernando), Garry Maddox (San Pedro), Chili Davis (L.A. Dorsey), Jack Clark (Gladstone in Covina), Dave Kingman (USC), Matt Williams (Carson City, Nev./UNLV), Randy Moffett (Long Beach), Royce Clayton (St. Bernard High in Playa del Rey), Jim Barr (Lynwood) …
All Genovese signees, and most all of them, Dodgers tormentors.
As the Dodgers and Giants finish a three-game series tonight, we must tip our cap, again, in tribute to how much the North Hollywood-based scout has contributed to both franchises. He remains, at age 93, a Dodgers’ part-time scout who, to date, has been responsible for inking about 250 players, with nearly 40 of them making the big leagues with some levels of success.
But the ones he couldn’t convince his bosses to believe were the real deal? That’s where this autobiography takes its most sinister turn.
After all, at this point, what does he have to lose?
When the Giants’ new ownership in the late ’80s stopped listening to him, and the Dodgers picked him up in 1995 to help train scouts and consult on trades, Genovese right off the bat doesn’t dance around that fact that it continues to nag at him that he didn’t have the juice to convince Dodgers’ scouting director Logan White to step up eight years ago and believe that this outfielder from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High named Mike Stanton had the tools and was worth locking up. Continue reading