So, how can you spot a future Hall of Famer among teenage baseball players in Cincinnati?
Anyone who figures out how to answer that question accurately ahead of time could become awfully rich, so we’ll have to settle for hindsight.
That brings us to an interesting item tweeted by the National Baseball Hall of Fame this week: The scouting report for a youngster named Ken Griffey Jr.
Here are five things a Seattle Mariners scout observed in 1987 that jump out at us today.
1. “Has above average to outstanding tools in all five categories.”
Hard to argue with this one.
2. “Quick stroke. Ball jumps off bat”
Can you think of Griffey now without picturing that smooth swing? We didn’t think so. The lefty managed to generate a measure of power that seemed to outweigh the actual violence of his swing, so it’s not surprise this was evident early.
3. “Very good instincts in the outfield”
How about 10 consecutive Gold Gloves in center field? Another checkmark for our scout.
4. “Tendency to short-arm throws, doesn’t set himself right.”
OK, so he was human.
While it’s hard to imagine now given his early impact and eventual career, Griffey did not join the Mariners organization as a finished product. The scout also found he had a tendency to overswing at times and to drop his hands, resulting in an uppercut swing.
5. “Future outstanding power.”
630 home runs? Pretty much nailed that one.
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