Family History: Genovese scouting reports donated to Museum
Genovese, who passed away in November 2015 at the age of 93, was raised in Staten Island, N.Y., but made a name for himself as a three-decade Southern California scout for San Francisco Giants. A 5-foot-6 middle infielder who spent a dozen years in the minors, he played in three big league games and received one at-bat for the 1950 Washington Senators.
After 10 seasons managing in the minors, Genovese embarked on a career as a talent scout for the Giants in talent-rich California. He maintained an affiliation with the Giants until 1994, then joined the Dodgers as a scouting consultant.
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During Genovese’s time with the Giants he signed such future big leaguers as George Foster, Jack Clark, Bobby Bonds, Chili Davis, Gary Matthews, Matt Williams, Royce Clayton, Dave Kingman, Randy Moffitt, Matt Nokes, Garry Maddox, Jim Barr, John D'Acquisto, Eric King, Ken Henderson and Rob Deer.
On March 26, sisters Holly and Rose Haworth, the granddaughters of Genovese, travelled to Cooperstown from their home in Los Angeles to officially donate approximately 300 of Genovese’s scouting reports to the Baseball Hall of Fame. These join 45 scouting reports and a scouting notebook Genovese had previously donated to the baseball shrine.
“Although we may have other scouting reports on some of these players, having someone else’s perspective or opinion on a player’s abilities or potential gives us or researchers another viewpoint,” said Hall of Fame Manuscript Archivist Claudette Scrafford. “Also, scouting reports can range from high school to college to the professional leagues, so adding another scout’s reports allows us to see the progression of a player over a larger timespan.”
Both sisters were excited and emotional when donating their grandfather’s material to the Hall of Fame.
“It’s been a long journey trying to get here but we’re glad that we’re here and giving our grandpa’s history to the Hall of Fame,” said Holly Haworth. “We know it’s going to be preserved in a very safe spot where generations of fans will be able to appreciate it.
“He would have been very excited and he would have loved that young ballplayers can come and see and learn from this material and think they could be a scout one day.”
Rose Haworth concurred with her sister, adding, “I think he’d feel really happy about this donation, but I also know a lifelong dream of his was to have scouts be recognized in the Hall of Fame. If us donating his records were to promote that in any way and make it a little more possible for scouts to be honored, that’s what he would want from a donation like this.”
According to the sisters, their grandfather was an almost daily presence in their lives growing up.
“He was the most generous, kindest man ever,” said Holly Haworth. “Growing up I didn’t ever know about his baseball history of being a player or as a famous scout. He was just my grandpa. And he was the best grandpa ever. He would pick us up from preschool and his car would smell like gingerbread cookies. He was the best.”
“He was pretty much just a very kind, caring, thoughtful person,” said Rose Haworth. “And seeing that he put extra attention into his relationship with his players speaks a lot to who he was as a person. His legacy also left a mark on our family, as both Holly and I work with kids, giving back in the same way that he did. He clearly inspired us to take the paths that we’ve taken, as Holly runs a dance studio and I’m a volleyball coach.”
Also making the celebratory trip to Cooperstown with the Haworth sisters were DeWayne Buice, a big league relief pitcher from 1987 to ’89 who was signed to a Giants contract as an amateur free-agent by Genovese after going undrafted in 1977, and Dan Taylor, the co-author of Genovese’s 2015 memoir “A Scout’s Report: My 70 Years in Baseball.”
“I first met George while attending Cypress College in California,” Buice said. “He asked me if I wanted to play pro baseball and I told him I never wanted to do anything else. That’s all I ever wanted to do. He said to me, ‘That’s the answer I wanted to hear.’ He told me later he asked that question to every player. George would later help me get almost every baseball job that I ever had.
“And the relationship continued after I left baseball. Until he passed away, I talked to him on the phone every day. He just loved baseball. He loved talking about baseball more than anything else,” Buice added. “As a scout he could just visualize how good somebody was going to be 10 years down the line. He just had that knack.”
Genovese signed about 250 players as a scout, 44 of whom would play in the big leagues. In a pair of 1973 games, the Giants played two games in 1973 in which Genovese had signed seven of the nine players on the field for San Francisco.
“I’m really happy for Holly and Rose. It means a lot to their family,” Taylor said. “Scouts don’t get all the attention ballplayers do, but they have a huge impact on the ballplayers, they have a huge impact on the teams, they have a huge impact on lives. And George was very unique. He didn’t just turn in evaluations. He took George Foster and Garry Maddox and worked with them when every other scout said they couldn’t play. And to have the Hall of Fame have interest in having his collection here as part of the Museum is wonderful.”
What made Genovese a good scout? Taylor thinks it was because Genovese was a sponge for knowledge.
“Because of his size he was really overlooked. But it was when he went to a tryout camp and displayed his arm and his running speed that he got the opportunity to play,” Taylor said. “In the back of his mind he always said. ‘I’m never going to treat young people the way I’ve been treated.’ Then he got around a lot of very smart people, one of which in 1952 was Branch Rickey, who hired him to manage in the Pirate organization and they became quite close. He soaked up everything that Branch could teach.
“He wasn’t just out looking for five-tool guys. Trying to project is the toughest part of scouting and George projected the unprojectable. One of the guys that George signed, a guy named James Elrod, got to Double-A and he said, ‘I always wondered what George saw in me? Now I realize he saw something of himself.’ He wanted that guy who had passion for the game because passion is going to carry you though the tough times.”
In 2003, the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation named its lifetime achievement award in honor of Genovese.
Bill Francis is a Library Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum