2017 Scout of the Year Banquet: Athletics, Blue Jays, Giants Scouts Honored

Grady Fuson, Russ Bove and Todd Thomas join class of '17

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.--The 34th annual Scout of the Year Award Reception took place Wednesday evening at the Winter Meetings, inducting three accomplished, veteran scouts into the most prestigious group a scout can enter.

The 2017 winners were Grady Fuson (West Coast Scout of the Year, Athletics), Todd “Tiny” Thomas (Midwest Scout of the Year, Giants) and Russ Bove (East Coast Scout of the Year, Blue Jays).

Bove was the first to speak at the event--one of the largest gatherings of the scouting community throughout the year--and delivered a memorable recounting of his career, which began in 1983 with the Major League Scouting Bureau after a collegiate career at St. John’s.

He did, however, blame his peers for never giving him a chance to play professionally.

“The problem was those damn scouts,” Bove said, to laughter throughout the banquet hall. “Some of those guys are in this room. These guys don’t like anybody.”

Bove was with the Bureau until 1992 when he joined the Brewers, eventually becoming an East Coast supervisor and then Southeast supervisor through 2003. Bove then worked as an area scout with the Expos in 2004, where he signed Ian Desmond--his favorite player thanks to an incredible desire to go play--out of Sarasota (Fla.) HS in the third round of the 2004 Draft. After that, Bove served as the Mets’ scouting director and then as a major league scout before joining the Blue Jays in 2011 where he currently serves as a special assignment scout.

“Whether he’s talking to Mark Shapiro or entry-level employees in the front office, he’s as steady as they come,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said.

Thomas was honored next, and introduced by Giants general manager Bobby Evans, who called Thomas “one of the most organized and prepared scouts” in the industry and credited Thomas with helping the organization sign players as deep as the 60th round thanks to his numerous follow reports.

Thomas has spent 35 years with the Giants, beginning with five-year playing career that began in 1983 and ended in 1987, when Thomas reached Triple-A. Following his playing career, Thomas served as an area scout with San Francisco for three decades. During that time he has signed players like Mike Myers and Bill Mueller among others, as well as more recent players like Brandon Belt who have helped the big league club see incredible success during this decade.

“This is so cool,” Thomas said. “Ever since I started scouting I always thought the Scout of the Year was the coolest thing because scouts very rarely get recognized. And when one person gets an award, it lifts everyone up . . .

“I am so proud to be with an organization that is so loyal to their people . . . It’s an awesome place to work.”

The final honoree was Fuson, whom Athletics executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane credits with changing his and his family’s life, as well as Oakland’s organization.

“(Fuson) turned in a report on a really good athlete with a hot temper,” Beane said, referring to himself, prior to the 1980 MLB Draft. “He fought for a guy named Todd Helton . . . We learned to trust the people who had been out there . . .

“He had some pretty good drafts, kind of set my family up for life . . . So thank you for that, Grady.”

Fuson was an area scout for the Athletics from 1982-1990, a national crosschecker from 1991-1994 and as a scouting director from 1995-2001. He moved to the Rangers organization in 2002, where he was the assistant GM of scouting and player development until 2004 and then worked with the Padres as the VP for scouting and player development from 2005-2009.

Fuson reunited with the Athletics in 2010 and has been with the club since then, currently serving as a special assistant to the GM.

Fuson was responsible for helping the Athletics sign players like Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Bobby Crosby and recent World Series champion manager A.J. Hinch.

“Good time to talk about that extension?” Fuson said after Beane introduced him, before telling the story about how he became a scout and was skeptical as a 26-year-old when he had the chance to get into what he thought was an old man’s job. Fuson closed with one of the better lines of the night--which is saying a lot in a room crowded with scouts.

“This has been a great ride . . . I’m going to use (executive director Roberta Mazur’s) best line through all of this . . . You stand up to be recognized, you speak up to be heard, and you sit your (butt) down to be appreciated. And that’s what I’m going to do.”

The Scout of the Year Program was founded by Tony Pacheco, Jim Russo and Hugh Alexander in 1984 and seeks to accomplish each of the following:

  • Bring positive recognition to the profession of scouting
  • Honor scouts who have devoted time and energy, and shown professionalism in the scouting field
  • Bring attention to the importance of quality scouting in the development of a successful baseball organization
  • And respectfully recognize and admit scouts into the Hall of Fame

Each year, scouting directors submit candidates who have accumulated 25 years of experience as a full-time scout, and the award is voted on by their peers.

West Coast Honoree History

2017: Grady Fuson, Athletics
2016: Rick Schroeder, Rangers
2015: Jeff Barton, Reds
2014: Orrin Freeman, Marlins
2013: Doug Mapson, Giants
2012: Marty Keough, Cardinals
2011: Mel Didler, Blue Jays
2010: Tom Davis, Braves
2009: Gary Hughes, Cubs
2008: Gib Badet, Dodgers
2007: Ed Sugkla, Major League Scouting Bureau
2006: Bob Bishop, Royals
2005: Roger Jongewaard, Devil Rays
2004: Larry Barton Jr., Reds
2003: Bob Harrison, Mariners
2002: Al Ronning, Major League Scouting Bureau
2001: Dick Bogard, Athletics
2000: Bobby Mattick, Blue Jays
1999: Don Lindeberg, Devil Rays
1998: Bruce Andrew, Rockies
1997: Ron King, Pirates
1996: Harry Minor, Mets
1995: Spider Jorgensen, Cubs
1994: Jerry Gardner, Braves
1993: Albert Kubski, Royals
1992: Eddie Bockman, Marlins
1991: Bill Wight, Braves
1990: Gene Handley, Cubs
1989: Gene Thompson, Giants
1988: George Genovese, Giants
1987: Joe Stephenson, Red Sox
1986: Rosey Gilhousen, Royals
1985: Jesse Flores Sr., Twins
1984: Howie Haak, Pirates

Midwest Honoree History

2017: Todd “Tiny” Thomas, Giants
2016: Larry Corrigan, Twins
2015: Mike Arbuckle, Royals
2014: Paul Provas, White Sox
2013: Bill Bryk, D-backs
2012: Don Welke, Rangers
2011: Michael Radcliff, Twins
2010: Mike Roberts, Cardinals
2009: Gene Bennett, Reds
2008: Art Stewart, Royals
2007: Jim Walton, Major League Scouting Bureau
2006: Ray Crone, Padres
2005: Pat Daugherty, Rockies
2004: Ken Bracey, Padres
2003: Don Williams, Devil Rays
2002: Robert C. Oldis, Marlins
2001: Al LaMacchia, Devil Rays
2000: Emil Belich, Phillies
1999: Red Gaskill, Angels
1998: John "Buck" O'Neil, Royals
1997: Fred McAlister, Cardinals
1996: Nick Kamzic, Angels
1995: Jim Hughes, Blue Jays
1994: Lenny Yochim, Pirates
1993: Joe Ford, Blue Jays
1992: Chuck Koney, Red Sox
1991: Richie Klaus, Giants
1990: Dee Phillips, Tigers
1989: Bill Capps, Cubs
1988: Danny Doyle, Red Sox
1987: Dale McReynolds, Dodgers
1986: Tony Lucadello, Phillies
1985: Tony Robello, Reds

East Coast Honoree History

2017: Russ Bove, Blue Jays
2016: Ed Creech, Giants
2015: Jax Robertson, Pirates
2014: Tom Kotchman, Red Sox
2013: Howard McCullough, D-backs
2012: Charles "Buzz" Bowers, Red Sox
2011: Bob Engle, Mariners
2010: Murray Cook, Tigers
2009: Alex Cosmidis, White Sox
2008: Tony DeMacio, Braves
2007: Tom Giordano, Rangers
2006: Tim Wilken, Cubs
2005: Carl Loewenstine, Dodgers
2004: Bill Lajoie, Red Sox
2003: Larry Doughty, Brewers
2002: Fred B. Uhlman Sr., Orioles
2001: Rip Tutor, Braves
2000: George Bradley, White Sox
1999: LaMar North, Orioles
1998: Charlie "Broadway" Wagner, Red Sox
1997: John Stokoe, Orioles
1996: Hugh Alexander, Cubs
1995: George Zuraw, Mariners
1994: Steve Souchock, Tigers
1993: Fred Shaffer, Braves
1992: Paul Snyder, Braves
1991: Elmer Gray, Pirates
1990: Leonard Merullo, Major League Scouting Bureau
1989: Buddy Kerr, Mets
1988: Rex Bowen, Reds
1987: Joe Branzell, Rangers
1986: Ralph DiLullo, Major League Scouting Bureau
1985: George Digby, Red Sox

Director's Award History

2015: Joe McDonald, Red Sox
2013: Billy Kearns, Mariners
2010: Jerry Stephenson, Red Sox
2007: Sandy Johnson, Mets
2005: Doug Gassaway, Mets
2004: Don Pries, Major League Scouting Bureau

International Awards History

2016: Pablo Cruz, Blue Jays
2015: Mike Brito, Dodgers
2012: Fred Ferreira, Orioles
2008: Epy Guerrero
2006: Ralph Avila, Dodgers

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