ST. PAUL, MN (August 9, 2012) – The life of a scout can often be thankless and arduous. They spend weeks at a time away from their families in towns and cities difficult to find on a map. The role of the baseball scout is often overlooked by the casual fan, but not undervalued by the people who they work side-by-side with. The St. Paul Saints will induct current Detroit Tigers Vice President/Assistant General Manager and former scout Al Avila into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame, presented by Killebrew Root Beer, in a pre-game ceremony on Saturday, August 11.
Avila’s career in baseball is long and illustrious as he enters his 21st season in professional baseball. His tenure as a scout began with the Florida Marlins in July of 1998. While there he was responsible for all of the Marlins scouting efforts on both the national and international levels and oversaw the development of those players in the baseball academies in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
On the international front Avila made a big splash in 1999 with the signing of first baseman/third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who made it to the Major Leagues in 2003 at the age of 20 and clubbed four home runs during the post-season for the World Champion Florida Marlins. He was also instrumental in the signing and development of second baseman Luis Castillo and shortstops Alex Gonzalez and Edgar Renteria.
Avila’s eye for talent resulted in the Marlins drafting 2003 World Series Most Valuable Player Josh Beckett in the first round of the June 1999 draft. Under Avila’s guidance, in 2001, the Marlins also nabbed one of the youngest players to play in the Futures Game in Boston, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
“I am very thankful and I appreciate being selected to the 2012 Class of The Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame,” said Avila. “Being selected is humbling for me
joining this special baseball group. I want to thank the Goldklang Group, the St. Paul Saints and Killebrew Root Beer for this great honor.”
The success as a scout for Avila earned him recognition with the Marlins around Major League Baseball and he was named Florida’s Vice President and Assistant General Manager in July of 2001.
Following Dave Dombrowski’s departure to Detroit, Avila served as interim General Manager during the off-season of 2001.
After nine seasons with the Marlins Avila served as special assistant to Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Dave Littlefield on January 23, 2002
On April 15, 2002 Avila took over his current role of Vice President/Assistant General Manager of the Detroit Tigers. He is responsible for assisting General Manager Dave Dombrowski with the day-to-day baseball operations of the organization and the Major League Club. He was named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Hispanics in Michigan in 2003.
A former catcher, Avila was signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. His son Alex is the Tigers starting catcher.
“I would like to congratulate Mr. Avila on his Professional Baseball Scout Hall of Fame achievement award,” said Jim Lundeen, President of RJM Distributing. “Killebrew Root Beer is very pleased to assist the St. Paul Saints and the Goldklang Group’s continued efforts to recognize the hard work and commitment supplied by these professional scouts.”
Along with Avila, three other scouts were inducted into the PBSHOF by the Goldklang Group, the ownership group of the Saints. The Charleston RiverDogs honored Bill Lajoie (Detroit Tigers) on June 9, the Fort Myers Miracle honored Dan Jennings (Miami Marlins) on June 29 and the Hudson Valley Renegades inducted Chris Pitarro (Oakland Athletics) on July 1.
“The honor of inducting scouts that have given their lives to this profession and the game of baseball remains a tremendous privilege,” said Tyler Tumminia, Senior Vice President, Goldklang Group. “Over the past five years the SHOF has transformed from an idea into an initiative that is widely lauded within the industry. We are proud to continue this tradition of celebrating the careers of these deserving and distinguished scouts.”
This unique honor is given to those who exist at the very foundation of player development for the Major Leagues. The inductees will be commemorated with bronze plaques, designed by the acclaimed US Bronze, and placed on display at the four minor
league clubs operated by the Goldklang Group.
In the last five years the Goldklang Group teams have honored over 60 professional baseball scouts. In 2008 the Saints inducted Phil Rizzo (L.A. Dodgers) and Hep Cronin (Atlanta Braves), in 2009 they honored Tom Greenwade (Brooklyn Dodgers and N.Y. Yankees) and Marti Wolever (Philadelphia Phillies), in 2010 they inducted Ken Stauffer (Tampa Bay Rays) and last season Terry Reynolds (Cincinnati Reds) received the honor.
Tickets for Saints home games are $5 for general admission, $8 for outfield reserved and $12 for infield reserved. Tickets purchased on the Day of the Game are an additional $1 per ticket. Children under the age of 14 and seniors 65 and older receive $1 off the admission price. Children under 2 that don’t require a seat are free. Tickets are available by contacting the Saints ticket office at 651-644-6659 or visiting saintsbaseball.com