RIP to Scott Reid, who had a brief career as an outfielder in the major leagues before becoming an important part of the Detroit Tigers organization as a scout, adviser and vice president of player personnel. He died on June 29 at the age of 74. Reid played for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1969-70 before starting a long career in the game as a scout..
Tigers general manager Al Avila issued the following statement: “Myself, along with so many others across the baseball community, are saddened to learn of Scott Reid’s passing. We were blessed to spend decades working in the trenches alongside Scott, and will always remember his passion for baseball, intellect of the game, and his standing as an all-around great talent evaluator, father and person. Scott was a trusted advisor to many in the Tigers’ organization, and a dear friend to all. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Sherry, son, Brian, and daughter, Lindsay, during this difficult time.”
Scott Donald Reid was born in Chicago on January 7, 1947, but he grew up in California. He was a talented athlete, so much so that he was drafted five different times in the 1960s. As a student at Cerritos College in 1965, he was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics in the Seventh Round of the 1965 June Amateur Draft. He was subsequently drafted in the Secondary Phase in January 1966 (Mets — Sixth Round), June 1966 (Cleveland — Third Round), January 1967 (Mets again — Second Round) and June 1967 (Phillies — Second Round).
Jim Railey, a Utah State baseball coach who managed Reid in a summer league in South Dakota, called him a top prospect. “He has a good arm and good speed. He has turned down an offer in the neighborhood of $45,000,” Railey said.
Reid, by then a student at Arizona State University, accepted the Phillies offer in June of 1967. Reid ended his college career with a bang, as the Sun Devils, coached by future big-league manager Bobby Winkles, beat Houston 11-2 to win the College World Series. He was named to the tournament first-team All-Stars and doubled in two runs in the championship game. That was after he got Arizona into the finals in the first place with a game-winning double over Stanford.
The 20-year-old outfielder played at a couple of the Phillies Class-A teams in 1967 and didn’t hit for a high average, though he homered 6 times. He reached the Phillies that year — not as an active player, but general manager John Quinn invited him to travel with the team at the end of the season. In his first full year in the minors in 1968, Reid hit .326 with 9 homers for the Class-A Tidewater Tides. He was added to the Phillies winter roster and moved straight to AAA Eugene in 1969, a step away from the majors.
Reid batted .266 in Eugene in ’69 and reached the majors in September. His debut came on September 10 in his home town of Chicago, with Phil Regan on the mound. “I was so scared I didn’t know what way to look,” he recalled. “I was so nervous I… tripped over the batters’ box. [Catcher Randy] Hundley said, ‘Don’t worry kid. We’re going to walk you intentionally.’ I said, ‘Thanks.'”
Reid was used as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement for his first few games. His first hit almost came in Chicago on September 17, with his grandparents, aunts and uncles in the crowd. He hit a ground ball that second baseman Glenn Beckert tried to barehand and throw in one motion. He missed the ball, and Reid reached first base.
“What’ll I get?” he asked the second baseman. “They’ll give you an error. The press doesn’t like me,” Beckert replied. He was right, too. Fortunately, Reid picked up four hits by the end of the season, with the first one coming in Montreal on September 20 off Expos starter Mike Wegener. He finished the season with a .211 average. Reid began 1970 back in the minors but was recalled when outfielder Johnny Briggs was disabled with a pulled hamstring in late May. Between a month in the majors then and some action in September, he batted .122 in 25 games. Reid did get to show off his strong throwing arm, nailing Pittsburgh speedster Gene Clines at the plate with a perfect throw from right field to preserve a 3-2 win on September 17. He had just entered the game as a defensive replacement, too.
In his two seasons with the Phillies, Reid played in 38 games and had a .147/.326/.162 slash line. He had 10 hits that included a double, and he drove in 1 run while walking 18 times. In 23 games in the outfield, he had 6 assists.
Reid was one of the first cuts from spring training in 1971. Disappointed after having received almost no playing time in Arizona to show he deserved to stay in the majors, he returned to Eugene and struggled to hit. After a couple of seasons of bouncing around between AAA teams, Reid’s career as a player ended in 1973, when he was 26 years old. The Phillies asked him to stay in the organization as a coach, and he stayed with AAA Toledo for 1974 and ’75. After that, he became an area scout.
“I was young at the time and I thought, ‘That’s for old men,’” he told the Detroit Free Press in 2017. “So I tried it and boom, I liked it, I enjoyed it. I was able to stay home, my family was still young and it kind of went from there. I didn’t expect to be doing it for 41 years.”
Reid also spent several years as a scout and front office executive for the Cubs and Marlins. That was where he first met Avila and Dave Dombrowski, who brought him into the Tigers organization. In his time, Reid won World Series titles with the Phillies (1980) and Marlins (1997), and his son Brian joined him with the Tigers as a scout as well. Reid spent more than 50 years in baseball and was given the Legends in Scouting award by the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation.
“It’s nice to be recognized by your peers,” he said of the honor. “It’s been a pretty good run. And I’m still working and enjoying what I’m doing. The whole profession has changed but there’s good people in this business and it’s really nice to be recognized.”
For more information: Detroit Free Press