Hogan: Alex Pompez, a Latin American bird dog

From SABR member Lawrence Hogan at The National Pastime Museum on April 6, 2015:

When I met “Murph” for the first time I had no idea I was also “meeting” the greatest scout in the history of our National Pastime. “Murph” is Mike Murphy, long serving and legendary clubhouse manager of the San Francisco Giants. I first met “Murph” – christened Miguel Angel I came to learn – in Arizona several springs ago on a personal journey for me into the darker side of baseball’s history. I was serving as a director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s OUT OF THE SHADOWS project on the history of blacks in baseball. I had come to the Scottsdale spring training home of the Giants to ask their manager Felipe Alou to share with me his recollections of a Latino New York/San Francisco Giants’ scout who was a giant of his profession, Alejandro Pompez.

It was a glorious baseball spring morning in Scottsdale. It was the kind of baseball day that would realize all the promise that the great Rogers Hornsby referred to when he was asked what he did in winter when there was no baseball. “I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”  

We were told we had to be on time because that is the way Giants’ manager Felipe Alou ran his clubhouse. When he was a young baseball man Alou had known Alex Pompez in the deepest of ways that someone can know an older man who would be his discoverer, and, given the racial circumstance of the 1950s, his mentor and protector as well. That was a time when rookies of Alou’s background were especially in need of mentoring and protecting. They were coming into baseball territory that no one of their kind had previously occupied. In spite of the integration that had come with Jackie Robinson in 1947, it was still a racially challenging, pioneering, and culturally problematic position in which Alou found himself as Jackie’s legacy proceeded at a snail’s pace on the field, and at no pace at all in baseball’s executive suites. 

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/latin-american-bird-dog

Originally published: April 6, 2015. Last Updated: April 6, 2015.