University of Nebraska Press



Dan Austin

Date of this Version

Spring 2013


© 2013 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska,675666.aspx


Late in 1937 Hugh Alexander, a kid fresh out of small-town Oklahoma, had just finished his second year playing outfield for the Cleveland Indians when an oil rig accident ripped off his left hand. Within three months he was back with the Indians, but this time as a scout—the youngest ever in Major League history. In the next six decades he signed more players who made it to the Majors than any other scout.

His story, Baseball’s Last Great Scout, reads like a backroom, bleacher-seat history of twentieth-century baseball—and a primer on what it takes to find a winner. It gives a gritty picture of learning the business on the road, from American Legion field to try-out camp to beer joint, and making the fine distinctions between “performance” and “tools of the trade” when checking out prospects. Over the years Alexander worked for the Indians, the White Sox, the LA Dodgers, the Phillies, and the Cubs—and signed the likes of Allie Reynolds, Don Sutton, and Marty Bystrom. This book, based on extensive interviews and Alexander’s journals, is filled with memorable characters, pithy lessons, snapshots of American life, and a big picture of America’s pastime from one of its great off-the-field players.