Neyer: Roland Hemond on his 63 years in baseball

From SABR member Rob Neyer at Baseball Nation on June 20, 2013, with SABR member Roland Hemond:

Monday night, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Roland Hemond, who has been in baseball since 1951 and currently works as a consultant for the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 2011, Hemond became just the second recipient of the Buck O’Neil Award. He sat down with me prior to the Hillsboro Hops’ first-ever home game. What follows is a slightly edited version of our interview, transcribed by Jason Brannon …

Rob: So how long has it been since you’ve been to a baseball game in Portland?

Roland Hemond: In Portland itself? I doubt that I ever saw a game in Portland itself. I remember going to Eugene, Pacific Coast League, Larry Bowa was playing shortstop…

Rob: When Eugene had the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate?

Hemond: That’s right, and the Bull, Greg Luzinski, was the left fielder. So I remember that. And that dates back probably 45-50 years.

Rob: It was the early-to-mid ‘70s, yeah.

Hemond: Yeah.


Rob: Why so many players who, for example, get drafted in the first round and either don’t make the majors, or do make the majors, but aren’t the players that perhaps people thought they would be. What makes it so difficult to look at an 18-year-old, or even a 21-year-old, and know what kind of player he’s going to be three years later?

Hemond: Well, that’s why we say the scouts are the unsung heroes of our game. And finally the Hall of Fame just opened Diamond Mines, and they have scouting reports from back, many years ago that people can go in on their computers and get the scouting reports and read them for themselves. And one of the real good reports that we were looking at recently was on Kirk Gibson, the manager of the Diamondbacks. Jim Martz was the scout who turned in on Kirk Gibson at Michigan State, and he was pointing out that his running speed, his power, and his aggressiveness were number 8. The Scouts will go 2, 4, 6 and 8 at the very top of the board. So you very seldom can put an 8 on a player on that particular quality that he has, but Gibson went on to have a very fine career, very competitive and lived up to that scout’s written report.

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Originally published: June 20, 2013. Last Updated: June 20, 2013.