Epy Guerrero opened doors for influx of players from Latin America
By Connor O’Gara
All nine players on a baseball field impact the game in a different way. Some do it with stellar defense, some do it with steady power in the middle of the lineup and others make their presence felt on the mound.
Epy Guerrero, on the other hand, made his presence felt outside the white lines by discovering those players. The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native revolutionized Major League Baseball scouting in a career that spanned four decades.
“He had a knack for noticing the special player who maybe didn't have the polish, the people who maybe were a little crude," said Hall of Fame general manager Pat Gillick, who was Guerrero's boss with the Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. "He also had a tremendous work ethic. He was very competitive. He didn't want to be beaten on a player.”
Tony Fernandez, Carlos Delgado and Jose Mesa are just a few of the over 40 players Guerrero signed to Major League contracts. Guerrero provided a gateway for Dominican players to be evaluated by Major League clubs, no matter how impoverished a player’s background was.
"He'll give a kid a tryout in the rain, in the street, with bare feet," Fernandez said.
Guerrero’s ability to find the diamond in the rough made him a mainstay across Major League Baseball. He spent time scouting players for the Houston Astros, the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and Milwaukee Brewers. A 2008 inductee of the Dominican Sports Hall of Fame, Guerrero’s eye for talent set a new standard for scouts.
“When he enters a ballpark, there is a buzz in the stands,” said Luis Rosa, top scout in Latin America with the Chicago Cubs.
Guerrero is credited with having signed more players to Major League contracts than any other scout in baseball. Guerrero opened doors that were once closed to an untapped talent pool in the Dominican Republic. He never played an inning of big league baseball, but Guerrero definitely left a lasting impact on the game.
“If you're talking about almost a third of baseball (the percentage of Latin American players who comprise big league rosters), think of their contributions,” Baseball Scouts Foundation President Dennis Gilbert said of international scouts. “Without people like Epy, we wouldn't have a lot of these great players.”
Connor O’Gara was the 2012 public relations intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development.
For information on how to apply for the Class of 2013 Steele Internship Program, click here