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July 10, 2014

Painting the Black

Book Review: The Art of Scouting

by R.J. Anderson


The Art of Scouting, a new book written by Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger, was released last week. The title belies the content to some degree, since what follows is not a scouting manual (though there is a chapter that covers the basics, like the 20-80 scale). Instead the Art in question refers to long-time scout Art Stewart, whose seven decades in the game are covered in memoir form.

Reviewing The Art of Scouting is a tough assignment. It delivers on its promise by chronicling Stewart's life—focusing heavily on his career with the Yankees and Royals, of course, but also finding time to spend two chapters on his wives—and Mellinger makes no attempt to steal the show with dazzling prose; this is a book about a baseball man and the game he loves, and he realizes it. So should we. That means, rather than approach the book with a critical eye, we ought to review some of the many takeaways.

The Royals have almost signed a lot of good players
What-if scenarios are a genre staple, and Stewart offers plenty of them throughout the book. A cynic might wonder whether Stewart is sharing these stories about the Royals and Derek Jeter and Roberto Alomar in the name of self interest. That does not appear to be the main motivation, however, and the book features instances where Stewart cops to mistakes. For instance: the Royals were convinced Roy Branch would become the next Bob Gibson when they took him fifth in the 1971 draft. Truth is, Branch would never appear in a big-league game for Kansas City.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: G... (07/10)
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Painting the Black: Th... (06/30)
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