Kevin Kernan has a great feature today interviewing the scout who found Manny Ramirez for the Indians. A snip:
The first person in professional baseball to believe in Manny Ramirez was Cleveland Indians scout Joe Delucca, who first saw Ramirez as a 10th grader at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park playing in the Youth Service League.
Nearly 20 years later, Delucca, 79, said he still believes Manny has what it takes and that he would be a tremendous addition to the Yankees lineup if the Yankees decide to go down that road with the free agent.
“The first thing I noticed about Manny was his bat speed,” Delucca says from his Long Island home. “He had it as a 10th grader, and he still has it. As a scout, you don’t come across that kind of bat speed much in your lifetime. When you do, your heart goes pitter-patter.”
Delucca is quick to credit his scouting mentor, Tom Giordano, with any success he has had through the years. Giordano was his boss with the Indians and went to lunch with Delucca, Ramirez and Youth Service coach Mel Zitter when the Indians were thinking of taking Manny with their first pick of the 1991 draft, No. 13 overall. Twins area scout Herb Stein wanted his club to pick Ramirez with the third pick, but his bosses opted to select first baseman David McCarty.
Of course, as we know, the Yankees had the first overall pick in the 1991 draft and selected Brien Taylor. Since Manny was in the Yankees backyard at the time, you have to assume that they were aware of him. Makes one wonder…how different would things have been in Yankeeland, say, over the last 15 years, if Ramirez had been on the Yankees…