Baseball legends like Tony Gwynn, Ozzie Smith, and Randy Johnson are some of the most extraordinary talents that the game has ever known. But before they were pros, there was no industry consensus on these players – none of them were drafted in the first round of the MLB draft. But Bob Fontaine, Jr. saw in them something that the other teams didn’t, and millions of fans can thank him for drafting their franchise icon.
For nearly five decades, Fontaine looked into the future. He traveled the world and beat the bushes to scout, sign, and develop baseball’s constantly-refreshing next generation of stars. He led a relentless search, logging countless days abroad and wearing his car’s odometer out in the U.S.
But this book doesn’t just tally the biggest hits of Fontaine’s illustrious scouting career. Anyone who’s ever talked to a scout knows that scouts can tell stories like Ozzie Smith fields a routine grounder: with ease and just the right amount of flare. And Fontaine can spin a yarn with the best of them.
In this book, you’ll read about the inspiring draft story of Jim Abbott (who was born with only one hand), around-the-world baseball adventures (Fontaine three players in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union!), the early days of some of baseball’s biggest characters (Ozzie Guillen and John Kruk, for example), drafting the foundation of the 2002 World Series champion Anaheim Angels (Tim Salmon, Garrett Anderson, etc.), and scouting amateur players all over the world, including Yu Darvish in Japan (read an excerpt on scouting Darvish).
This book is a baseball lover’s dream. It has just the right amount of history and nostalgia mixed with humility and humor. Get a first-hand look at the life of a legendary baseball man who exemplifies the vital role that scouts – the unheralded soothsayers of the game – play.