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Friday, February 14, 2014

When Hal Newhouser quit his job over Derek Jeter

If anyone knew a top notch baseball prospect when he saw one, Hal Newhouser did. But the Houston Astros, for whom Newhouser was a scout in the early 1990s, ignored what “Prince Hal” told them. He told them to draft Derek Jeter with the #1 pick and pay him whatever he wanted. They didn’t, and instead the young infielder was drafted by the New York Yankees with the sixth pick. Jeter went on to become a superstar in pinstripes, winning five World Series titles.

Newhouser quit the Astros the day after the draft, ending a career of more than 50 years in professional baseball.

Wahoo Sam Posted: February 14, 2014 at 12:16 AM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: derek jeter, hal newhouser, new york yankees, scouts

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   1. winnipegwhip Posted: February 14, 2014 at 02:22 AM (#4656716)
During the winter prior to that draft I had the opportunity to chat with Dick Groch at a baseball coaching clinic. We discussed the money spent on Brien Taylor ($1.5 million). Groch's view as a scout was that any player who makes it to the big leagues is worth a million dollars bonus. Any player who doesn't make it no matter the circumstances wasn't worth a penny. Little did I know that Groch was sitting on the mother lode of a ball player. (And I am sure Groch didn't even know how great Jeter would be. That it would be this kid that put Groch in the level of Tom Greenwade - where a scout's name is associated with a legendary player of the game.)
   2. Riki Tiki Javy Lopez Posted: February 14, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4656788)
I had forgotten, and it's not in the FA, but the Astros decided to draft Phil Nevin #1 overall instead.
   3. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: February 14, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4656799)
And of course, Nevin was a heck of a player for a few years there, though he was no Derek Boring.

That was actually a pretty rough draft class. Other than Nevin & Jeter, most of the guys taken early in the first round either failed to make the majors, or didn't do much when they got there. Much later, Charles Johnson and Rick Helling were taken; Johnny Damon was taken in the supplemental round b/w 1&2. Other than that you see a lot of relievers, minor role players, and guys who don't even have B-R pages.
   4. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: February 14, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4656800)
I remember that draft as Jeffrey Hammonds being regarded as easily the best prospect, but the first three teams didn't take him because he was going to be too expensive.

And this is probably where I read that.

The best player in the draft, Stanford junior outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds, probably won't be picked first. Hammonds hit .380 with 33 steals and only six strikeouts for the Cardinal this year, but the financially strapped Astros will probably pass on him because he'll cost too much to sign. The Orioles could get him with the fourth pick if the Indians and the Expos, who have the second and third selections, respectively, also decide Hammonds is too expensive.

Jeter is mentioned once:
If Nevin isn't the choice, Houston is thought to be considering shortstop Derek Jeter from Kalamazoo ( Mich.) Central High.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 14, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4656801)
I seem to remember a lot of hype over Nevin at the time too. He was a standout college player. I don't remember hearing anything about Jeter, in fact, I don't think I was aware of Jeter til just before his rookie year.
   6. SG Posted: February 14, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4656802)
Hammonds was supposed to be the next Rickey, and Nevin had a monster College World Series which raised his stock if I remember correctly.
   7. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 14, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4656807)
Hammonds' problem is that he was as fragile as a balsa wood stork. In a 13 year career he only got into 100 games 4 times, and he topped out at 128. Another one of those many "what ifs".
   8. Ron J2 Posted: February 14, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4656834)
#6 Yeah, and Hammonds would have been a pretty decent player if he'd had Henderson's plate discipline. Not Rickey! of course because there was never any sign he'd be an elite base stealer. But Rickey! is a pretty high standard.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 14, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4656840)
Jeter's early scouting reports:

Scouts from the Kansas City Royals and the Atlanta Braves both agreed on Jeter’s potential, but did cite a few reservations.
The scout from the Royals said Jeter “needs a trigger to get [his] bat started easier and get hands into the zone sooner,” and compared him to “a young Dunston,” a reference to Shawon Dunston, the first overall pick from the 1982 draft.

The scout from the Braves was a little more effusive of Jeter, but only rated his hitting mechanics as “fair.”

Both scouts, however, noted Jeter as a pull or straightaway hitter, a far cry from the opposite-field, inside-out swing Jeter has perfected through his 17-year career.

   10. Willard Baseball Posted: February 14, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4656845)
That it would be this kid that put Groch in the level of Tom Greenwade - where a scout's name is associated with a legendary player of the game.)


The school where I coach is called Tom Greenwade field. He lived here. Pretty cool to see his name mentioned on my favorite site!
   11. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: February 14, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4656894)
I thought Jeter told teams he would only sign with the Yankees, otherwise, he was going to Michigan.
   12. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 14, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4656923)
It's easy looking back, but yes, at the time, Phil Nevin and Jeffrey Hammonds were the cream of the crop. See also Ryan Anderson.
   13. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: February 14, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4656944)
I thought Jeter told teams he would only sign with the Yankees, otherwise, he was going to Michigan.


I know the second part was true, but I don't think the first part way. He was a high school player, so he was going to hold out for more money while he had leverage. The Yankees were okay with giving him more money. Other teams, not so much.
   14. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: February 14, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4656960)
101 reasons why I don't like Derek Jeter: He's from Michigan but grew up a Yankees fan. That's just terrible.
   15. SG Posted: February 14, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4656964)
He was born in New Jersey, which could be another reason not to like him, but also could be why he grew up a Yankee fan.
   16. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 14, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4656965)
He was born in New Jersey, and although his family moved to Kalamazoo when he was only four, he still spent his summers back in NJ with his grandparents, who took him and his sister to Yankee games.

EDIT: obviously, adopting the fandom of one's grandfather is a great reason to hate someone.
   17. Dan Lee prefers good shortstops to great paintings Posted: February 14, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4656970)
compared him to “a young Dunston,” a reference to Shawon Dunston, the first overall pick from the 1982 draft.
Obviously Jeter is a squillion times better than Dunston, but comparing a high school player to Dunston was a complement in 1992. Dunston was a guy who'd been an All-Star twice in the last four seasons, who had power, speed, and a league-average bat at SS.

Yeah, he wasn't a great defensive player and he didn't get on base, but it sounds like a compliment to me.
   18. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: February 14, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4656978)
If Jeter had been Jeter in all aspects except one, and had replaced his own arm with Shawon Dunston's arm, he'd have been inner circle HOF good.
   19. Mayor Blomberg Posted: February 14, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4656979)
That was actually a pretty rough draft class. Other than Nevin & Jeter, most of the guys taken early in the first round either failed to make the majors, or didn't do much when they got there. Much later, Charles Johnson and Rick Helling were taken; Johnny Damon was taken in the supplemental round b/w 1&2. Other than that you see a lot of relievers, minor role players, and guys who don't even have B-R pages.


and a couple of guys named Giambi and Helton and a decent pitcher named Lieber in the 2nd round.
   20. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 14, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4656986)
That was actually a pretty rough draft class. Other than Nevin & Jeter, most of the guys taken early in the first round either failed to make the majors, or didn't do much when they got there. Much later, Charles Johnson and Rick Helling were taken; Johnny Damon was taken in the supplemental round b/w 1&2. Other than that you see a lot of relievers, minor role players, and guys who don't even have B-R pages.



Jason Kendall, Shannon Stewart, Michael Tucker, and Preston Wilson were all first rounders too. Really, I think that's about average, no? Maybe its noticeable due to a lack of good pitching, but that's perhaps becuse the pitchers taken in this draft would pitch in the PED era and if you weren't elite during that era, you were probably going to wash out quickly.
   21. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: February 14, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4657014)
The White Sox got a total of .9 WAR from their 50 draft picks that year. Craig Wilson (1.2 WAR with the Sox), Chris Snopek (0), and Chris Tremie (-.3) were the only players from the 1992 draft who made the majors with them. They drafted Mike Lowell in the 48th round, but he didn't sign, and Brendan Donnelly in the 27th, but they released him nine years before he was any good. It's too bad Larry Himes couldn't get along with anybody.
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 14, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4657053)
EDIT: obviously, adopting the fandom of one's grandfather is a great reason to hate someone.


It's kind of like how children who were molested often grow up to become pedophiles themselves.
   23. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: February 14, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4657056)
The White Sox got a total of .9 WAR from their 50 draft picks that year


The Reds had 0 of their 2001 draft picks make the team with them. The only 2 that made the majors were two guys that didn't even sign with the Reds. Jeremy Sowers, whom the Reds took first specifically because they knew he would not sign, no matter how much they offered, and Nick Markakis, who was a draft-and-follow.

edit: and, if I remember correctly, the Reds wanted Markakis to go the pitching route.
   24. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 14, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4657081)
The Reds had 0 of their 2001 draft picks make the team with them.


I remember Rany once did a study of the worst drafts ever and there were maybe 3-4 in which the team had no MLBers pan out. This was probably one of them, I want to say the Royals had one too.
   25. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 14, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4657105)
It's kind of like how children who were molested often grow up to become pedophiles themselves.


You should check yourself into a program before it's too late.
   26. Blackadder Posted: February 14, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4657106)
If Jeter had been Jeter in all aspects except one, and had replaced his own arm with Shawon Dunston's arm, he'd have been inner circle HOF good.


I'm not sure it was really Jeter's arm that was the problem; it was his range. I guess you could argue that his poor range was partly due to his playing more shallow than other shortstops to compensate for his arm. The sentiment is still broadly correct.
   27. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: February 14, 2014 at 05:34 PM (#4657116)
Nevin had a monster College World Series which raised his stock if I remember correctly.


The draft used to happen a few days into the CWS. I kind of remember him being picked because he would be cheaper to sign. Interesting carer. Rushed to the majors and struggled before being decent for a few years.
   28. JJ1986 Posted: February 14, 2014 at 07:45 PM (#4657168)
I always thought Nevin had gone to the Tigers in the Ausmus trade. He was actually traded in 1995, which seems really early to give up on a 1-1.
   29. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: February 14, 2014 at 08:00 PM (#4657172)
I always thought Nevin had gone to the Tigers in the Ausmus trade. He was actually traded in 1995, which seems really early to give up on a 1-1.
He lasted a few weeks longer with the Astros than Adrian Gonzalez did with the Marlins.
   30. Howie Menckel Posted: February 15, 2014 at 12:41 AM (#4657229)
"He was born in New Jersey, and although his family moved to Kalamazoo when he was only four, he still spent his summers back in NJ with his grandparents, who took him and his sister to Yankee games."

My nearest hospital just down the road from my home is this very Hospital That Jeter Sanctified with his birth. Have had to go there a few times, obviously no bad results. I assume I will live forever with this connection to the J____r.

   31. McCoy Posted: February 15, 2014 at 09:46 AM (#4657265)
I remember Rany once did a study of the worst drafts ever and there were maybe 3-4 in which the team had no MLBers pan out. This was probably one of them, I want to say the Royals had one too.

The Chicago Cubs had a terrible 2005 draft. Only Donnie Veal reached the majors and he didn't do it with the Cubs. The 2005 draft didn't really come out of nowhere either since the Cubs also had terrible drafts in 2004 and 2006 as well. That period of bad drafting probably set them back 5 years in terms of major league performance.
   32. Sunday silence Posted: February 15, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4657381)
if I recall didnt Hammonds already have a torn ACL before he was drafted, that he told no one about?
   33. puck Posted: February 15, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4657409)
I remember Rany once did a study of the worst drafts ever and there were maybe 3-4 in which the team had no MLBers pan out.


Have there been any drafts when none of the drafted players made MLB for any team?

Looking through the Royals' drafts there have been some lean years (and at least one year with < 0 total MLB WAR, like 1990 and 2001), which is pretty close.

Their 1982 draft netted 116.7 WAR, but a big chunk of that was Will Clark. The other big chunk of that was Saberhagen.

I also noticed in 1995 their 1st rounder was an OF named Juan LeBron. He flopped but luckily their 2nd round pick panned out, some OF named Carlos Beltran.
   34. McCoy Posted: February 15, 2014 at 11:29 PM (#4657498)
The Cubs 2010 draft still has a chance at a no show with I think only Matt Szczur being the only player that ever showed up on anyone's radar. There top pick, Hayden Simpson, played in an indy league last year.
   35. JJ1986 Posted: February 15, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4657501)
One player who signed with the Rays in 2009 has made the majors (Zach Rosscup with the Cubs) and there aren't any guys in their system who look like they will (Tyler Bortnick looks like the best player to me and he's in Arizona). They did draft several good prospects who didn't sign.

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