Diunte: Lennie Merullo made an unlikely pairing with the great Dizzy Dean

From SABR member Nick Diunte at Baseball Happenings on May 31, 2015:

Lennie Merullo, a longtime baseball scout and the last living player from the Chicago Cubs World Series team from 1945, passed away at the age of 98 on May 30, 2015. Career baseball men of his ilk who stormed the back roads of the United States looking for a diamond in the rough without the aid of the Internet and advanced statistics are a vanishing breed. They have been replaced in great number by personnel who no longer have to endure hours of travel across state lines to check out a kid whose exploits are fully available online.

Not only are these seasoned scouts being replaced, or in Merullo’s case passing on, so are the volumes of stories they have accumulated through their years of travel across the bush leagues as players and scouts. During his 65-year career, there was nary a star that hadn’t crossed Merullo’s path, and even rarer was the one for whom he didn’t have a special story to tell.

One tale he was gracious enough to share was from his second year in professional baseball with the Tulsa Oilers in 1940. This yarn wasn’t about how he played all 162 games that season in the sweltering heat, taking off his shoes and socks in between innings to find relief from the hot fields, or how his teammate Eddie Watikus (The Natural) didn’t sit out a single play the entire season. A few feet farther down the bench resided an unlikely colleague in a 30-year-old pitcher named Dizzy Dean.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballhappenings.net/2015/05/lennie-merullo-made-unlikely-pairing.html

Originally published: June 1, 2015. Last Updated: June 1, 2015.