“Dollar Sign on the Muscle” excerpt: The Monte Carlo

An excerpt from Kevin Kerrane’s long-out-of-print classic book on baseball scouting, Dollar Sign on the Muscle, which is now available for purchase again at BaseballProspectus.com:

At the Monte Carlo tavern Bob Engle of the Blue Jays walked over to the scouts sitting at the big roundtable. “I just heard,” he announced, “that the Scouting Bureau’s gonna send in a report on the San Diego Chicken. They say he’s a legitimate prospect.”

“Could be true,” one scout said. “Those guys have turned in worse than him. Maybe they think he’s got the good comb.”

“Sit down and get some of this pizza,” an older scout said, “and tell me how good you think Romagna is. Don’t forget to subtract the crowd.”

“How good do you think he is?” Engle asked.

“I think he’s too small for a right-hand pitcher,” the older scout said. “If he was a lefty, I’d like him about fifty thousand dollars.”

“The Reds will never give him that—will they, Gene?” Engle said. “They’ll just keep draftin’ him.”

“I’ll tell you who I’d like to draft,” Gene Bennett said. “Sabo, the boy that got injured today. He’s got 6.6 speed, good power, good hands for infield, a good arm.”

“Enough power for a third baseman?”

“I say so.”

“I say he ends up a second baseman,” the older scout said. “Anyway, second basemen gotta come from somewhere; they hardly ever start out there. I’ve never signed one.”

“Me either,” Bennett said. “They’re shortstops without the arm or third basemen without the power… who go to the minors and learn how to make the double play.”

“How bad’s Sabo hurt?” I asked.

“Broke his collarbone,” Bennett said. “I didn’t see it, but that guy Morry told me.”

Morry Moorawnick was the Detroit scorekeeper, and the very mention of his name was enough to make Ben McLure laugh. “You ever see Morry’s scorebook? He designed it himself so’s he can put everything in it. Everything. One time at this tournament I looked over his shoulder to get the lineup before the game, and there was a whole line there for weather conditions. And Morry had put: ‘High, steely gray cumulonimbus clouds with soft gusts from the north-northwest at five to ten miles per hour.”

“I oughta put stuff like that in my reports,” the older scout said. “Drive the scoutin’ director up the wall.”

Read the full excerpt here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22014

Originally published: October 10, 2013. Last Updated: October 10, 2013.