Then Mr. Bonehead Started for Second”

24 Sep

After several retirements and returns to the game, Dan Brouthers appeared in his final professional game at age 48, then worked for several years as a scout for the New York Giants.

In 1911, The American Press Association asked him to answer the question, “What does a scout do?”

Brouthers said:

“Within the last few years scouting has become a business. Every club in the major organizations has a man employed whose business is to keep close tabs on a young ball tosser who gives promise of developing into a crack. In fact, the scout plays an important part in a wining ball team. It is on his judgment that the major league club owners buy up the cream before the drafting period comes around.”

And how did scouts like Brouthers spend their time?

“Well, one day he may be watching a minor league player and the next may be looking over some semi professional player on the lots who never has played with a league, but who has so much baseball ability that somebody has seen him and reported him to the scout’s employer or to the scout himself. The following day he may be with some Class B league, and a week from then he my be in some other part of the country getting a line on the material in that section.”


Brouthers told readers his job was, “not an easy one by any means.” He said:

“First of all, he must be a good judge of what there is in a young ball tosser. If the presumably future great star has a bad arm, is slow on his feet or can do nothing but bat, the scout must be able to tell whether he is worth a trial or not. If he sees a youngster who can field like a big leaguer, he must be able to make up his mind whether the youngster will ever be able to do anything with the bat against the pitchers of fame.”

Brouthers told a story of scouting a player “in one of the trolley leagues,” several years earlier:

“A youngster had been recommended to me as a future great. For weeks this fellow had been doing wonders with the willow and in the field. One day I decided to take a peep at him.”

Someone tipped the prospect that Dan Brouthers was in the stands scouting him:

“I could see by his actions that he was nervous. The first time up he fanned. He repeated this in the second attempt. The third time, however, he managed to work the pitcher for a base on balls”

The walk loaded the bases:

“The youngster began prancing around first trying hard to get the pitcher rattled…Then Mr. Bonehead started for second base at full speed, and, thinking that it would close the shave, he slid for the base. After he picked himself up and was informed that his bonehead steal had retired his side he quit the game and made for the clubhouse.”

Brouthers concluded:

“Perhaps if someone had not informed him of the presence of a scout from the major leagues in the grandstand he would not have made such a bonehead play.

“But, nevertheless it proved that he lacked brains.”

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