SUPERSCOUT: Thirty-five Years of Major League Scouting with the Baltimore Orioles by Jim with Bob Hammel Russo

SUPERSCOUT: Thirty-five Years of Major League Scouting with the Baltimore Orioles

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As a scout for the Baltimore Orioles (originally the St. Louis Browns) from 1952-87, Russo participated in one of baseball's most prestigious and successful franchises. Here, in a loosely structured series of anecdotes, he offers an enjoyable look at those years. Hired in 1952 as a ""commission scout"" for the floundering Browns (paid $100 for each step a player made up the baseball ladder, a scout earned $1,000 if his discovery made the major leagues), Russo had the task of signing quality players for little or no bonus money and not much more than promises. By 1958, he was in charge of 26 states and 14 scouts. The club was in Baltimore by then, and their perennial goal was to knock off the hated New York Yankees. The Orioles finally did that in 1966 and, as Russo proudly points out, with the exceptions of Frank Robinson and Luis Aparicio, they beat the Yanks with home-grown talent. Over the next 20 years, there would be more division and league championships and a few World Series rings. Russo recounts that period with fond, sharp remembrance, profiling the players, managers, and owners he worked with: Earl Weaver, the Robinsons Frank and Brooks, Bill Veeck, Boog Powell, Jim Palmer, and numerous others. Of particular interest are his behind-the-scenes accounts of the scouting and signing of players like Palmer, Dave McNally, Wally Bunker, Davey Johnson, and others. As a judge of talent, a front office confidant, and a pioneer in scouting the other league prior to a World Series, Russo ""saw them all"" and does not hesitate to offer his frank evaluations. Despite a lack of personal data and a confusing chronological sequence: a dandy, feisty take on the grand old game.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1992
Page count: 230pp
Publisher: Bonus Books