* Ed Heather, Toronto Blue Jays scout, is Rob Ducey's father and a father figure to many youngsters in the Cambridge area. Photo: Scott Van de Valk Studios. ....
By Bob Elliott
The strength of a major-league club is its scouting.
In the case of the Blue Jays, Duane Larson and Chris Buckley, national cross-checkers, make comparisons and scouting director Tim Wilken has the final say. But it’s the grassroots scouts who tell a team where players are.
Cambridge’s Ed Heather is a tireless worker and he’s the winner of our fourth annual scout-of-the-year award.
Heather scouts for the Jays, one of 20 that working director Bill Byckowski has blanketing the country, called Canada by most, Byckowski-Land by rival scouts.
Heather is the step-father of ex-Jay OF Rob Ducey, now with Seattle. He platooned in left before Jose Cruz’s arrival.
“Rob phoned Friday,” Heather said. “He said he wasn’t hitting as well as he would like, but he’s fielding as well as ever.”
Heather travels hither and yon to see 75-100 games a season, including tournaments. He covers the Inter-County, from Lake Erie to Tillsonburg and Port Dover.
“The late Bobby Prentice and Bill hired me in ‘92,” Heather said. On July 30, ‘92, C Greg Myers and Ducey were dealt to the Angels for reliever Mark Eichhorn.
“I’ve liked a lot of guys in my area, but they were drafted by other teams,” Heather said.
Royals scout Wray Upper scooped Cambridge RHP Jason Gooding of Texas Tech, a fifth-rounder.
“I’m glad Jason’s getting the opportunity,” Heather said.
Past winners were Buffalo’s Bill Scherrer (Marlins); Ottawa’s Bill McKenzie (Rockies); and Whitby’s Tim Harkness (Padres), who was in on San Diego selecting Canuck SS Kevin Nicholson in the first round.
This spring Heather was in Dunedin evaluating high school and junior college players.