Eight-time Gold Glover Scott, 69, dies

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By Tom Haudricourt
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

George “Boomer” Scott was the first larger-than-life player to wear the uniform of the Milwaukee Brewers, in more ways than one.

Scott was a big man, conservatively listed at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds when he played. He could do damage with his bat, hitting many home runs, which he called “taters.” Scott also was adept with his glove, which he called “black beauty.”

Simply put, The “Boomer” was a character.

“There was a time when we weren’t playing very well and he said, ‘The players have to play better, the manager has to play better and the owner has to own better,’” recalled baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, the owner of the Brewers when Scott played for them from 1972 to 1976.

“He was our first $100,000 player (in 1976), so I guess you’d have to say he was our first superstar. He could really play first base. I’m very saddened to hear of his passing.”

Selig and the rest of the baseball world learned the sad news Monday that Scott died at age 69 the previous day at his home in Greenville, Miss.

The Brewers acquired Scott in a big trade with Boston on Oct. 10, 1971, along with Ken Brett, Billy Conigliaro, Joe Lahoud, Jim Lonborg and Don Pavletich in exchange for Tommy Harper, Lew Krausse, Marty Pattin and minor-leaguer Pat Skrable.

Scott, who broke into the majors with the Red Sox in 1966, had his best year for the Brewers in 1975, when he tied New York’s Reggie Jackson for the American League lead with 36 home runs while also topping the circuit with 109 RBI. He won the Gold Glove award in all five seasons he played for the Brewers and eight times overall.

Scott wore beads around his neck that he called “second basemen’s teeth.” He also wore a batting helmet while playing in the field after an experience on the road in which a fan threw objects at him.

Scott hit many big home runs for the Brewers, but local baseball historian Dennis Sell, who has chronicled the Brewers throughout their existence, thinks his most famous blast came against the Yankees during the second game of a doubleheader at County Stadium on July 29, 1973.

With runners on second and third and one out in the seventh inning and the Brewers holding a 2-1 lead, New York manager Ralph Houk had lefty Sam McDowell intentionally walk Davey May to get to Scott, an interesting move because May batted left-handed and Scott right-handed. Scott then ripped a grand slam deep into the left-field bleachers, and as he rounded the bases shook his finger at McDowell as if to say, “Don’t walk a batter to get to me.”

Scott, who drove in all six runs in that 6-3 victory, received three curtain calls for that blast.

The Brewers, who had a George Scott bobblehead day earlier this season at Miller Park, released the following statement about his death:

“This is a very sad for all of us connected to the Brewers. George Scott was charismatic, an early star of the team and one of the finest defensive players in the game. ‘Boomer’—as he was affectionately known to fans—will be remembered as a colorful player on and off the field, and his five Gold Glove Awards as a Brewer are an accomplishment that will be difficult to top. The entire Brewers community wishes to express their condolences to the Scott family.”

After the 1976 season, the Brewers traded Scott back to Boston along with outfielder Bernie Carbo for Cecil Cooper, who went on to be an all-star first baseman in Milwaukee and two-time Gold Glove winner.

“George was such a good player for us, and when we traded him we got the great Cecil Cooper, so it worked out for us all the way around,” said Selig. “There’s no question he was a colorful character.”

In his 14 seasons in the majors, Scott batted .268 with 271 home runs and 1,051 RBI in 2,034 games.

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