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Great moments in scouting


In this dead-on scouting report from Mark Grace's minor-league days, see if you can spot the moment when our scout -- Jim Essian, who would manage Grace in the majors for most of 1991 -- writes something he probably wouldn't write today ...

Outstanding fielder. Always alert. Smooth, graceful, polished, mature, loves to play, the brothers love him. Team leader. Nothing but class. Rarely strikes out. Hits line to line with power. Can run.

On the off-chance you're exceptionally young and don't know, "the brothers" refers to African-American players. This was once an exceptionally common term in sports; hell, for all I know it still is. But I'll bet good money it's not still showing up on scouting reports. Almost 30 years ago, though, this was obviously meant as a compliment, in an era that featured many more U.S.-born black players than we see today.

These scouting reports the Hall of Fame are fascinating, and there are some things within that might be embarrassing to some of the scouts and some of the players. Some things that no doubt are embarrassing. And so I admire the Hall and the scouts for their willingness to publish them. Let's encourage this sort of bravery, and do our best to resist the temptation to rip scouts for being wrong, or being less than perfectly sensitive to our delicate modern sensitivities.