Scouts dinner thrills star-studded audience
LOS ANGELES -- The stars came out Saturday night at the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation's 10th annual "In the Spirit of the Game" dinner at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
Not only were the baseball greats out in full force for the event, but Hollywood icon Harrison Ford was in the building to raise money for the foundation and to hand out a few awards.
"You don't get many events like this one," Hall of Famer Dave Winfield said. "This is when we all come together and get to see people and share stories, give awards and raise money. Baseball is a great family.
"It is a great chance to catch up with old friends and support a great cause."
Red Sox chairman Tom Werner took home the Dave Winfield Humanitarian Award for his leadership with the Red Sox Foundation, while Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully were also honored. Mattingly was given the Tommy Lasorda Managerial Award and Scully received the Bud Selig Executive Leadership Award.
"It is an overwhelming thrill to be recognized and receive the award," Scully said. "I enjoyed every minute of it. It really is a marvelous, wonderful evening.
"The scouts are the backbone of baseball. I have always thought it is the hardest part of the game -- not just to say someone is a good player, but they project how far they think a player will go."
Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Ferguson Jenkins were also on hand to receive awards, while Larry King was a special presenter.
The Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation was established in 2003 to help scouts in need, whether from job loss, illness or financial hardships. More than $1 million has been raised.
Much of the money raised on Saturday night came from a silent auction that coincided with the dinner. Guests walked through rooms filled wall-to-wall with sports, music and movie memorabilia ranging in price from $40 to $10,000.
Dennis Gilbert, chairman and co-founder of the PBSF said collecting memorabilia for the silent auction is a year-round process.
"It is a whole year's worth of work, but it is worth it for these scouts," Gilbert said. "Everyone in baseball understands how important the scouts are. It really warms my heart to see so many people here and watch them interact with each other."
Mattingly, who still recalls the scout who signed him, was amazed at the turnout.
"With this being my first time at the event, I am just taking it all in and learning about everything that the foundation does," Mattingly said.
"It is a good night for baseball. The Foundation is so important. They are the ones who find the guys in small and big towns all over the world."
Current Twins general manager Terry Ryan and former Pirates GM Larry Doughty also received the George Genovese Lifetime Achievement Award in Scouting, while the Hairstons -- Jerry, Jerry Jr., John and Scott -- were awarded the Ray Boone Family Award.
Mike Arbuckle, Wayne Britton, Doug Gassaway, Larry Himes and Gary Johnson also received the Legends in Scouting Award.
Saturday marked the second consecutive year that MLB Network broadcast the event.
"This truly is a powerful example of how much baseball cares," said Selig, who presented Scully with his award.
"It really is a remarkable evening. This shows how much the baseball community cares about the sport and the people in it."