Still waiting for Hall of Fame recognition, foundation honors three more scouts

By Allan Simpson
December 11, 2002

Despite plans for a major exhibit that will one day recognize the scouting profession as a whole, no plans are in the works to formally recognize individual scouts in the Hall of Fame. The Scout of the Year Foundation has been entrusted with that responsibility and again has recognized three veteran scouts in its annual awards program.

Legendary scout Howie Haak was the first scout to be honored by the foundation in 1984, and 52 scouts have been honored since for their longtime contribution to the scouting profession. Scouts must have been active in a full-time capacity for at least 25 years to be considered.

This year's honorees are Al Ronning, Bob Oldis and Fred Uhlman Sr., each representing a geographic region of the country. They will be formally recognized at the Winter Meetings in Nashville.

Ronning is the foundation's West Coast recipient. He is currently in his 34th year as a scout, the last 28 with the Major League Scouting Bureau. Ronning originally began as an area scout with the Expos in 1968 after completing a career as a player, manager and coach in the Dodgers and Athletics systems.

Oldis, the Midwest winner, initially gained fame as a major league catcher from 1953-63, and caught in two games for the Pirates in the 1960 World Series. He coached in the majors for six years after his playing career ended in 1963, and began scouting with the Expos in 1970. He worked with the Expos as a crosschecker and area scout over the next 31 years and presently works as an area scout for the Marlins.

Uhlman's career in scouting began in 1968 as an area scout for the Reds. He continued with that organization through 1984, when he left to become scouting director for the Orioles from 1985-88. He was promoted to special assistant to the general manager in 1989 and continues to serve as a major league scout for the Orioles. He is the East Coast winner.

Uhlman's son, Fred Jr., has followed in his footsteps, working first for the Orioles in scouting administration and most recently with the Padres. He currently serves as San Diego's assistant GM.

While nothing is imminent for scouts to be formally selected to the Hall of Fame, the Scout of the Year Foundation is in the process of raising $250,000 to fully fund a permanent exhibit at the Hall of Fame that will recognize the scouting profession.

The funds will be used to hire a research and development team for the project and to establish an exhibit area that will explore the scouts' role and impact on the game. The exhibit will include an extensive interactive database of scouting reports, scouts' biographies and their personal observations about their profession.

Though nearly 3,000 such reports have been accumulated, the Hall of Fame is asking scouts to provide original reports they have written or accumulated over the years, notably on Hall of Famers and future big leaguers. Reports may be sent to John Odell, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, 25 Main St., Cooperstown, NY 13326.

Previous Scout Of The Year Winners

1984 Howie Haak (Pirates)
East Midwest West Coast
1985 George Digby (Red Sox) Tony Robello (Reds) Jesse Flores (Twins)
1986 Ralph DiLullo (MLSB) Tony Lucadello (Phillies) Rosey Gilhousen (Royals)
1987 Joe Branzell (Rangers) Dale McReynolds (Dodgers) Joe Stephenson (Red Sox)
1988 Rex Bowen (Reds) Danny Doyle (Red Sox) George Genovese (Giants)
1989 Buddy Kerr (Mets) Bill Capps (Cubs) Gene Thompson (Giants)
1990 Lenny Merullo (MLSB) Dee Phillips (Tigers) Gene Handley (Cubs)
1991 Elmer Gray (Pirates) Richard Klaus (Giants) Bill Wight (Braves)
1992 Paul Snyder (Braves) Chuck Koney (Red Sox) Eddie Bockman (Marlins)
1993 Fred Shaffer (Braves) Joe Ford (Blue Jays) Al Kubski (Royals)
1994 Steve Souchock (Tigers) Lenny Yochim (Pirates) Jerry Gardner (Braves)
1995 George Zuraw (Mariners) Jim Hughes (Blue Jays) Spider Jorgensen (Cubs)
1996 Hugh Alexander (Cubs) Nick Kamzic (Angels) Harry Minor (Mets)
1997 John Stokoe (Orioles) Fred McAlister (Cardinals) Ron King (Pirates)
1998 Charlie Wagner (Red Sox) Buck O'Neil (Royals) Bruce Andrew (Rockies)
1999 Lamar North (Orioles) Red Gaskill (Angels) Don Lindeberg (Devil Rays)
2000 George Bradley (White Sox) Emil Belich (Phillies) Bobby Mattick (Blue Jays)
2001 Rip Tutor (Braves) Al LaMacchia (Devil Rays) Dick Bogard (Athletics)