There are a lot of “boys clubs” in baseball. The players. The media. Management. If you had to come up with a prototypical old boys club, though, you could do worse than naming scouts. Thanks to popular culture and various anecdotes it’s almost impossible for the first image that pops in your head when you hear the words “baseball scout” NOT to be an old guy. Maybe a grouchy one like Clint Eastwood.
But Edith Houghton cracked that boys club. Not last year or in the 1970s or something. She did it in 1946, holding the job until she left to go fight in the Korean freakin’ War. She severed in the Navy during World War II as well. Before that she played baseball on a number of industrial and semi-pro teams.
Edith Houghton: tougher and more accomplished than most of us put together.
Sadly, she died earlier this month at age 100. The beginnings of her story can be read here. Some more in depth information can be found here. There’s probably a much longer story to be told as well.
Yesterday free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki held a workout in California and representatives from at least eleven teams were on hand, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo. Among the clubs present: the Giants — who were said to have a “heavy presence,” including team president Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy — the Angels, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, White Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, Tigers and Pirates.
Your first reaction to that may be “Um, really? For Tulowitzki?” But a moment’s reflection makes it seem more sensible. We’re so tied up in thinking of a player through the filter of their contract and, when we’ve done that with Tulowitzki over the past several years, it has made him seem like an albatross given the $20 million+ a year he was earning to either not play or play rather poorly due to injuries.
It was just the contract that was the albatross, though, right? An almost free Tulowitzki — which he will be given that the Blue Jays are paying him $38 million over the next two seasons — is a different matter. If you sign him it’ll be for almost no real money and he stands a chance to be an average or maybe better-than-average shortstop, which is pretty darn valuable. You might even get one quirky late career return-to-near-glory season from him, in which case you’ve hit the lottery. If, however, as seems more likely, he just can’t get it done at all, you’re not out anything and you can cut him with little or no pain.
Eleven teams think he’s at least a look-see. I bet one of them will offer him a major league deal. Maybe more than one. He’ll probably have his pick of non-roster invites to spring training. I can’t see the downside to at least doing that much.