Earlier today, Pat Lackey of Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? did the wonderful public service of pointing out on Twitter that several scouting reports by former Pirates GM Dave Littlefield are now available online. The reports are part of a recent Baseball Hall of Fame exhibit devoted to scouts, and come from 1992 when Littlefield was a scout with the Montreal Expos.
It’s likely that even the most successful baseball minds would have embarrassing misses in their scouting portfolio. Even as someone who doesn’t work in the industry, I’m hoping there won’t be an internet record of my biggest professional mistakes that rears its head two decades from now. Still, there’s something wonderfully cathartic about Pirates fans being able to look under the hood and use the benefit of hindsight to make fun of a former GM that so tortured the franchise.
Without further ado, five funny tidbits from Dave Littlefield’s 1992 scouting reports:
Paul Shuey: This is more an industry, scout speak kind of thing, but funny to note that Shuey has a¬†“barrel chest”¬†and is a¬†“hulk of a man.”¬†Not sure if Littlefield is discussing the prospect’s pro baseball potential, or trying to convince a female friend on meeting Shuey on a blind date. Worth noting that Littlefield was actually pretty spot on though about Shuey’s somewhat limitied potential as a big leaguer.
Johnny Damon:¬†Perhaps Dave Littlefield was bummed when Damon grew a beard because it covered up his¬†“strong face.”¬†Also worth noting that a guy being pegged as someone pegged as¬†“doubtful he can hit”¬†collected 2,769 hits for his career. Though credit to Littlefield for spotting Damon’s noodle arm before half of Fenway Park wore ¬†tee-shirts¬†mocking it.
Derek Jeter:¬†Good to know his “hi butt” translated into the big leagues, allowing him to rack up countless magazine covers and become one of the game’s biggest heartthrobs. Also, looks like Littlefield¬†might have been prescient¬†predicted Jeter’s 2012 ALCS injury by noting at the time he was “nursing a bad ankle.” Or maybe it was a different injury entirely, one that wouldn’t linger and prevent him from racking up more than 3,000 hits in a surefire hall of fame career.
Jason Giambi: Fourteen seasons, almost 400 HRs, an MVP award and $100+ contract later, Littlefield’s prognostication that he’d become a “future 3A journeyman, maybe bat off the bench” finally came true. In fairness, Littlefield may not have had a foreseen the medicinal…advantages Giambi utilized to likely achieve some of those accomplishments.
Ron Villone: Littlefield was clearly dead wrong about Villone. He wasn’t a “possible #2 starter,” he was a future Opening Day starter! Of course that really only happened because the rest of the pitching staff was pretty lousy. The GM of that team really did a poor job…I wonder who it could be…Wait! Look at that! It’s Dave Littlefield! In fairness, that staff was largely a product of his predecessor, Cam Bonifay’s failings. Still, Ron Villone on Opening Day?