The first weekend after the draft, we name our scout of the year. And this year we're renaming the honour the Jim Ridley Award. Ridley, who scouted for the Jays and the Minnesota Twins and coached Team Canada, died of cancer in November at a Burlington hospital. So, who should win our 16th annual honour? Would it be wrong to pick a scout who didn't have a player drafted?
Not if the man was Ridley himself. This year's winner of the Ridley award, is "Rids" himself, beating out Kevin Briand (Toronto, Ont.) of the Jays, who landed eight picks this week, and Brewers' Marty Lehn, (Vancouver, BC) given credit for first-rounder Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) in 2008.
Why Ridley? Two of his Twins signings are motoring along: Rene Tosoni (Coquitlam, BC) is hitting .272, with eight homers and 32 RBIs at double-A New Britain, and Jonathan Waltenbury (Whitby, Ont.) owns a .259 average with three homers and 20 RBIs at class-A Beloit.
We have been writing amateur baseball since 1966. Never have we seen such an outpouring of affection when Ridley passed away.