"What do you
like to fight about?"
thing. I'm always in the heat of the arguments. I get after politicians. I get
after the blacks—some of those guys who never even played in the big leagues
got in the Hall of Fame, and Charlie Grimm still hasn't got in. I get after the
"It ain't the
blacks' fault they couldn't play in the majors," a Pirates scout sitting
next to Socko said.
about labor unions. Like these major league players, led out on strike like a
bunch of sheep. They don't look back. They never even send a Christmas card to
the scout who got them started. And I'll tell you this: None of these guys who
struck should ever be given a job in baseball later on. Shouldn't let any of
them become scouts."
you in?" I asked him. "Who showed you the ropes?"
just did it. In 1940 Cincinnati told me to cover West Virginia, western
Pennsylvania and western New York. You had to be a scout just to drive around
in those mountains. And try finding some of those fields! There turned out to
be some good prospects in that area, but most of my guys never got to the big
leagues. They fell by the wayside. They got hurt, or they got married and quit
baseball, or they just fizzled out. The year I signed Glenn Beckert I saw
plenty of better prospects, and I didn't think that much of him, but he spent
11 years in the majors and made the All-Star team four times. He got the
opportunity; the other guys didn't, and they finally packed it in. These
college kids today pack it in early. Early. Two years, some of them. College is
bad for ballplayers.
"And I don't
give a damn about running," Socko said. "You want speed, go to a track
team and get it. If they have it with them, all right. But you get a guy, speed
merchant, and he can't throw or can't hit—what good is he? The two most
important things to me are the arm and the bat. If a ballplayer can throw and
hit, you'll find a spot for him—even if he's just a slow white guy."
"Is that what
you're trying to teach that new Red Sox scout?" I asked.
Charlie Wagner's apprentice. Charlie's teaching him to change his clothes three
times a day. But you're going to see lots of young scouts added on now. Major
league clubs'll have to scout the minors up and down, because of this new
compensation thing, this new pact with the players."
that's one good side effect of the strike."