George Scott
First baseman
Born: (1944-03-23)March 23, 1944
Greenville, Mississippi
Died: July 28, 2013(2013-07-28) (aged 69)
Greenville, Mississippi
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 12, 1966, for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1979, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Batting average.268
Home runs271
Runs batted in1,051
Teams
Career highlights and awards

George Charles Scott Jr. (March 23, 1944 – July 28, 2013) was a first baseman in Major League Baseball for the Boston Red Sox (1966–71, 1977–79), Milwaukee Brewers (1972–76), Kansas City Royals (1979) and New York Yankees (1979). His nickname was "Boomer". Scott batted and threw right-handed.[1]

Early years

Scott was born March 23, 1944, in Greenville, Mississippi, as the youngest of three children. His father, a cotton farm laborer, died when George Jr. was two years old, and young George was picking cotton by age nine. "That's all we knew", he said. "The reason you did that, all of that money was turned over to your parents to make ends meet. Nothing can be worse than getting up at four in the morning waiting for a truck to pick you up to go pick and chop cotton from six or seven in the morning until five or six in the afternoon."

Scott played Little League baseball in his spare time but was temporarily ejected from the team for being "too good", having hit two or three home runs per game in one six-game stretch. At Coleman High School in Greenville he excelled in baseball, football and basketball, quarterbacking the football team and leading his football and basketball teams to state championships. Scott chose baseball as a career "to make my living. I got tired of watching my mom struggle [with three jobs]. I didn't have the mind that I could go to college and see my mother struggle for another four or five years."

Major league scout Ed Scott (no relation to George) of Mobile, Alabama, who had signed Hank Aaron to his first major league contract, discovered George Scott and signed him as an amateur free agent[2] straight out of high school on May 28, 1962, for $8,000. Eventually promoted to the Boston Red Sox' new Pittsfield Red Sox farm team of the Double-A Eastern League in 1965, Scott became the Eastern League triple crown winner that year, leading the league in home runs, RBIs, and batting average.

Career

Scott with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1973
Scott with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1973

He became a Red Sox major-league rookie in 1966 as a third baseman,[3] and played all 162 games that season, the last Red Sox rookie to do so.[1] On Opening Day (April 12), he batted fifth against the Baltimore Orioles and went 1-for-4 with an RBI (drawing a walk with the bases loaded) while gaining his first hit with a triple off Moe Drabowsky.[4] He hit his first home run of the year one week later against Joe Sparma against the Detroit Tigers. [5] He batted .245 with 147 hits and 27 RBIs (finishing in the top ten in RBIs, home runs, and total bases) while garnering an All-Star selection and finished third in the voting for Rookie of the Year. His good start was soon hampered by a slump in which he could not adjust quickly enough to deal with change-ups and curve ball pitches. Manager Billy Herman stated he would bench Scott on July 19, but a rainout occurred on that day before a doubleheader was played, each of which featured Scott starting. At any rate, Scott led all of baseball in strikeouts (152) and times grounded into a double play (25). He spent 158 games at first base (with four at third base), and he led the league in putouts, games, and double plays.

Scott did fine with his sophomore season, which turned out to be the longest season of his career, as the "Impossible Dream" Red Sox won the American League pennant, led by rookie manager Dick Williams, who described talking to Scott (or other players) as like talking to cement. He also benched Scott for a few games, concerned about him being overweight (desiring a weight of 215 pounds). [6] Scott played 159 games while batting .303 (he would bat .300 just one other time in his career). He walked over 60 times again, but he reduced his strikeout total to 119 while hitting 19 home runs and having 171 hits. He received votes for the MVP Award (finishing 10th with 12% of the vote) while being awarded the Gold Glove (he led the league in putouts, games, assists, errors, and double plays). His team went to the 1967 World Series and played the St. Louis Cardinals in a classic seven game series. Scott would hit 6-for-26 while having three walks and six strikeouts and scoring three times, although he would commit the final out of the Series, striking out against Bob Gibson as the Cardinals won Game 7.

Scott was a three-time All-Star in the American League in 1966, 1975 and 1977, starting the 1966 Mid-Summer Classic and homering in 1977. Scott hit over 20 home runs six times in his career, tying Reggie Jackson for the American League lead in 1975 with a career-high 36 and pacing the league in runs batted in (RBIs) that same season with 109. Known for his glovework at first base, Scott was awarded the Gold Glove Award for fielding excellence in the American League during eight seasons (1967–68 and 1971–1976).

In a 14-season career, Scott posted a .268 batting average with 271 home runs (which he called "taters") and 1,051 RBIs in 2,034 games.[7] His nickname was Boomer and he called his glove "Black Beauty". Scott was well-known for having a good sense of humor, and wore a necklace which he once identified to a reporter as being composed of "second baseman's teeth".[8] To complement his unique attire, he also was known for wearing a batting helmet while fielding at first base due to an experience he had with a fan throwing hard objects at him once during a road game.[8]

He was traded three times during his career. The first was a ten-player deal that sent him, Jim Lonborg, Ken Brett, Billy Conigliaro, Joe Lahoud and Don Pavletich from the Red Sox to the Milwaukee Brewers for Tommy Harper, Marty Pattin, Lew Krausse and minor-league outfielder Pat Skrable on October 10, 1971.[9]

Scott saw his second tenure with the Red Sox end when he was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Tom Poquette on June 13, 1979. On August 17, he was released by the team, and he joined the New York Yankees nine days later. He played 105 games that year while batting .254 with 88 hits, 31 walks, and 61 strikeouts (spent mostly on first base, although he did play 17 games as a designated hitter). Oddly enough, he managed to finish in the top five in two categories: double play grounded into (24, 2nd) and errors (10, 4th).

After the season, Scott moved to the Mexican League, playing for the Leones de Yucatán in 1980, and the Tigres del México in 1981.[10]

Legacy

Scott spent nine of his 14 years with the Red Sox and is Boston's all-time leader at first base with 988 games played, including 944 starts. Scott hit 154 of his 271 career home runs with the Red Sox and is a member of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2006.[1] George Scott's 1968 season was noted by ESPN as one of the worst offensive performances ever, especially for a first baseman (he batted a career low .171/.236/.237 in batting average, OBP, and SLG in 124 games in the only season he hit no triples). [11]

Tommy John praised Scott's hitting ability in a 1984 interview. "When Scott first came into the league, no one knew how to pitch to him, and they didn't find out for three years."[12]

Later life and death

After he had left the playing field, he served as a manager for various teams, ranging from the Mexican League to independent league baseball. He coached for Roxbury Community College (1991-1995), the Saskatoon Riot in 1995 (going 26-45), the Massachusetts Mad Dogs (1996-1999, where he went 181-148), the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings (2001, where he went 40-56), and the Berkshire Black Bears (going 14-31 in the first half and 10-34 in the second half of their first and only season in the Northern League in 2002); ultimately, he had a combined record of 271-314 as a manager. [13][14][15][16]

George Scott died July 28, 2013, in his hometown of Greenville. Although a cause of death was not announced at the time, Scott had been impaired by diabetes for several years.[1] "In losing George Scott, we have lost one of the most talented, colorful, and popular players in our history," said Red Sox vice president/emeritus and team historian Dick Bresciani. "He had great power and agility, with a large personality and a large physical stature. He could light up a clubhouse with his smile, his laugh, and his humor – and he was the best defensive first baseman I have ever seen. We will miss him, and we send our condolences to his family."[17]

Family

George was the father of three sons: Dion, George III, and Brian. His grandson Deion Williams, who played shortstop for Redan High School in Georgia, was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 2011 MLB draft.[18] Williams was converted into a pitcher and last pitched professionally for the Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League in 2015.[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Buteau, Michael (August 1, 2013). "All-star first baseman with Red Sox and Brewers won eight Gold Gloves". The Washington Post. p. B8.
  2. ^ Bryant, Howard (2010). The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-37924-5. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  3. ^ Anderson, Ron (2013). "George Scott". SABR Baseball Biography Project.
  4. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS196604120.shtml
  5. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS196604191.shtml
  6. ^ http://archive.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2011/07/08/dick_williamss_place_in_red_sox_lore_cant_be_skipped/?page=2
  7. ^ "George Scott". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Great Scott". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  9. ^ "Red Sox, Brewers in 10‐Player Deal," United Press International (UPI), Sunday, October 10, 1971. Retrieved April 13, 2020
  10. ^ Nack, William (August 17, 1981). "George Scott is alive and well and playing in Mexico City". Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  11. ^ Baker, Jim (August 22, 2008). "Danny Ainge, Neifi Perez, Reggie Jackson ... step on down". ESPN. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  12. ^ United Press International (May 7, 1984). "VandeBerg, M's clip Angels". Ellensburg Daily Record. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  13. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Saskatoon_Riot
  14. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Massachusetts_Mad_Dogs
  15. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/team.cgi?id=5e412125
  16. ^ http://nlfan.com/league/results/results02.shtml#:~:text=Central%20First%20Half%20Final%20Standings%20%2810.July.02%29%20%20,%20Schaumburg%20Flyers%20%201%20more%20rows%20
  17. ^ "George Scott obituary". The Boston Globe. July 29, 2013.
  18. ^ JGHoughtaling (July 18, 2013). "Nationals' Prospect Deion Williams Transitions To The Mound With Auburn Doubledays". federalbaseball.com. Retrieved May 15, 2021. Williams, the son and grandson of former pro players Dion Williams and George Scott
  19. ^ "Deion Williams Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 15, 2021.

Further reading