Current job: Player-personnel senior adviser, Montreal Expos.
Cool because: Hit .279 over fifteen years as a big-leaguer. Former Cubs manager. Scottsdale resident. First spring training: "I came here as a player in 1947 with the New York Giants. The Giants were in Phoenix, and the Cleveland Indians were in Tucson. They were the only two teams out this way back then, and we got so sick of each other after a while. We particularly got sick of Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, and Early Wynn."
A scout's role in spring training: "We have some people who come to spring training who use the radar gun and the stopwatch and just keep track of what's going on with the players. There's an awful lot of players usually in a spring training camp that are not roster players and so forth. You have to keep up with all those people. The established major-leauge players, of course, you have a good idea of what their capabilities are. They don't change that much from year to year. As a player gets older, maybe he will slow down a step. You want to keep track of all that."
A player-personnel senior adviser's role in spring training: "My job will be to not only evaluate but also to keep track of the needs of other clubs, knowing the needs of our club and discussing those situations with the other general managers of the other teams in case there's a chance to make a trade, that sort of thing."
Good dirt on off-field spring training high jinks: "I've always had my family with me in spring training, as a player and living here now. You get out once in a while, but I've never really run that race."
Phenoms: "Almost every spring there's somebody that comes out of nowhere that impresses. Sometimes it's a younger player, sometimes it's a non-roster player and sometimes it's a veteran player. I can think of a younger player like Jose Canseco, who just wowed people a couple of years ago. Just in batting practice he was hitting a ball 500 feet. People made comments like, `There's the guy. If anybody's going to do it, it's going to be him, to break the 61-homers-a-year record.' But it's a little tricky to evaluate in spring training. With younger players in particular, you have to be careful. Some of the Latin American players come into camp having played all winter, and they're further advanced conditioning-wise and sharper with the bat. They're standouts in spring training, but then it levels off and the other guys catch up to them."
Favorite ballpark: "I probably would think it's Scottsdale Stadium. I kind of have a feeling for the place. I've been involved in it as manager of the Cubs, I played in it and all that stuff. It's intimate. You get a kind of similar feeling there as you would in a Wrigley Field or a Fenway Park or whatever.
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