BEVERLY HILLS, CA- A group of baseball’s greatest scouts, players, managers, executives and broadcasters convened Saturday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation’s 16th Annual “In the Spirit of the Game” Spectacular.
Home run specialist Jim Thome, Chicago White Sox legend Frank Jackson and Dodger Broadcaster Jaime Jarrin were inducted into the event’s Hall of Fame class of 2019.
Thome, honored with the Player Lifetime Achievement Award, hit 612 home runs throughout his 22-year career. His run in the big leagues included stints with the Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Twins and Orioles. Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf presented Thome with the award.
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Thomas, also known as “The Big Hurt,” received the award for “A Scout’s Dream ” from accomplished scout Al Goldis. Thomas played with four different ball clubs, but earned his stripes as an all-time great during his 15 seasons with the White Sox. He’s the only player in baseball history to maintain a .300 average, earn 100 walks, claim 100 RBI and smash 20-plus home runs over the course of seven consecutive seasons.
“I’m honored, this is a great event,” Thomas said. “Anytime you receive an award it means a lot to you. I had a great career and worked my butt off.”
Jarrin accepted the Pioneer Award after recently celebrating his 60th season of spanish broadcasting with the Dodgers. Last season, the Dodgers retired his microphone in their Ring of Honor.
Historic player agent Dennis Gilbert created the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation and the yearly event with a mission to assist baseball scouts. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that awards grants to scouts and their immediate families who demonstrate financial need.
“I’m overwhelmed and grateful for everybody that is part of this,” Gilbert said. “It goes to show they understand how underappreciated the scouts are.”
As many as 1,500 of baseball’s brightest stars have attended the “In the Spirit of the Game” Spectacular throughout its 16-year history, including Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson and others. As a result of continued support, the foundation has raised nearly $2 million for scouts.
“It’s an important event because it honors some of the hardest workers we have in this game, the scouts,” Yankees General Manager and Senior Vice President Brian Cashman said. “They’re the ones that have the eye for the talent.”
Veteran scouts Gary Hughes and Damon Oppenheimer collected the George Genovese Lifetime Achievement Award in Scouting. National League MVP and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich, national crosschecker Sam Hughes and Cashman presented Hughes and Oppenheimer. John Barr, Ken Compton, Jim Hendry, Bill Schmidt, Logan White and Tim Wilken were all presented with the Legends in Scouting Award.
Cashman added, “We’re lucky to have these guys, so shining a light on what they do is very important. If I didn’t have good scouts I wouldn’t have this job. They are the foundation of all franchises.”
Actor Mark Harmon hosted a tribute in remembrance of late executive Kevin Towers. Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo took home the Tommy Lasorda Managerial Award. Former Blue Jays executive Paul Beeston was honored with the Allan H. “Bud” Selig Executive Leadership Award. Beeston, who was the first Blue Jay employee in 1976, worked his way up to President and CEO by 2009 and retired in 2015.
Humanitarian Mickey Segal, recipient of the Dave Winfield Humanitarian Award, served as Mayor of Arcadia four times. Lefty pitchers Tommy John and Jamie Moyer, who played a combined 51 seasons in the majors, earned the Iron Man Award.
“It’s an honor to be here, getting the Iron Man Award with Tommy John,” Moyer said. “Tommy John is someone that I looked up to as a pitcher, and eventually played against him for a couple years. Being around the baseball world is a lot of fun and brings back a lot of memories. There’s lots of conversation about the game. It’s just an exciting night.”