Lowenfish: Q&A with Orioles scout Donald Pries

From SABR member Lee Lowenfish at Baseball Prospectus on August 2, 2013:

Early in his career as a scout, he once threw batting practice to a high school phenom named Boog Powell. Later on he signed future All-Star outfielder Joe Rudi to his first contract during five years of scouting for penny-pinching Athletics owner Charlie Finley. He recommended highly that the Orioles draft a Los Angeles “high school catcher who couldn’t catch” who turned into Hall of Famer Eddie Murray. He played an indirect part in movie history by releasing Ron Shelton from the Orioles system, freeing the minor league second baseman to turn his energies into film-making that ultimately resulted in the classic Bull Durham. His work as a founding father of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau and the first director of MLB’s Scout School has drawn universal praise. His youngest son Jeffrey was a no. 1 draft pick of the Yankees out of UCLA in 1984 (though a torn rotator cuff prematurely ended his career).

Meet Donald Pries, now enjoying his 68th year in baseball. The son of an American Legion and semi-pro coach, Pries has been in love with baseball for his entire life, a passion that will be recognized before the Orioles’ Friday, August 2 night game against the Seattle Mariners. Along with Roberto Alomar, Pries will be inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame, joining an eminent group of non-uniformed Baltimore personnel that includes former scouts Lenny Johnston and Walter Youse and general managers Frank Cashen, Harry Dalton, and Lee MacPhail.

Though Pries worked for Baltimore for less than 10 years, the experience was a highlight of his career. “You felt like you were an Oriole for life,” he declared in a recent phone interview. “Your bloodstream was in the organization.” It was all about winning, not just playing the game, Pries insisted, citing a famous dictum of manager Earl Weaver, who rose from the lowest managerial rungs of the Orioles system to have great success in Baltimore.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21417

Originally published: August 8, 2013. Last Updated: August 8, 2013.