Feature film about scouts fueled by adoration for Rusty Staub

Hall of Famer George Brett, Molly Secours and veteran Kansas City Royals scouut Art Stuart talk about scouting ... the backbone of the industry.

Hall of Famer George Brett, Molly Secours and veteran Kansas City Royals scouut Art Stuart talk about scouting ... the backbone of the industry.

By: Danny Gallagher

Canadian Baseball Network

Growing up in Massena, N.Y. across from Cornwall, Ont. and not far from the Quebec border, Molly Secours was more of a hockey fan than a baseball follower.

Yet, she had great adoration for this No. 10, who played for the Expos. His name was Rusty Staub.

“I don’t know why Rusty, but I had a lot of pictures of him in my room,’’ Secours was telling me the other day on the phone. “I was a Rusty Staub fanatic.’’

When she was asked who her all-time favourite baseball player was, she didn’t have to delay her answer too long.

“I would have to say Rusty, just because in my youth, he was the player I followed a lot. He’d be first and then Willie Mays would be second,’’ Secours said. “OK, we are getting into ancient history here and remember I was very young and really the only thing that I remember was that I thought it was cool that a guy could play both in the outfield and the infield.

“And I was a girl and I loved Rusty’s red hair and to be honest, my mother liked him a lot, too, and we all loved shouting his nickname La Grande Orange.’’

From that beginning of the Expos in Montreal, Secours developed a passion for baseball that extends to this time in her life when she’s producing a feature film called Scouting for Diamonds, which gives much due credit to the people who find the diamonds – the players.

From Massena, she moved on to other places like Maine and California and now her current residence of Nashville. She’s a writer, speaker and filmmaker. What first started out as a documentary on scout George Digby, who signed Wade Boggs, turned into something much larger.

“George died and after interviewing six or seven people, I realized the story was much bigger,’’ Secours said.  “It’s a feature film, a documentary, rather than a straight-up documentary. It’s basically a love story between scouts and baseball and deals with players who were discovered by scouts. Scouts are a very unique breed, they almost have a lovely genius, like their ability to recall, to pierce through what is not visible and recall the minutest of details. 

“Dozens and dozens of scouts are in the film like Gary Hughes. Willie Mays is in the film. George Brett. Wade Boggs. And Jim Deshaies, who is from Massena, will be in the film.’’

In light of recent publicity that tells the baseball world that some scouts are almost destitute and need financial support, this film is more than appropriate. It should be revealed that Secours needs more funding for her project to continue. She needs a major investor to help out and the general public can show its support. There are places to go and places to see and people to interview in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and maybe Venezuela so more money is needed.

“We need about $1.1-million,’’ Secours said. “While I know this film is about baseball, it is the making of this film that has made me understand baseball in a way that I understood hockey. This film has rekindled my passion for baseball and made me fall in love more for baseball than when I was a young girl.’’

That’s saying a lot for a gal whose major love was hockey.

“I grew up in a hockey house,’’ she said. “We were rabid hockey fans. My father's parents were from the Trois-Rivjeres area, but he grew up in Massena and only spoke French until he was about eight years old. So it made sense that both my mother and father were loyal Montréal Canadiens’ fans and stayed so the remainder of their lives.

“My father is 82 and watches hockey as many times as is televised in a week. He lives in Rochester, N.Y. He briefly played for the Maxville (Ontario) Millionaires. My mother was a Canadian from Cornwall and never became an American citizen. She was as loyal to Canada as she was to the Montreal Canadiens, whom she watched weekly until her death in 2013.’’

Names like Maurice Richard, Pete Mahovolich, Guy Lafleur and Ken Dryden were commonly mentioned in deterential tones regularly at the Secours dinner table. Molly worshipped the Boston Bruins and Bobby Orr. One of her sisters was a Detroit Red Wings’ fan and fantasized about Gordie Howe. Another rooted for the Blackhawks and swore Bobby Hull was a God. It was a war of the Bobbys because Molly adored Orr.

“No. 4 was the greatest defenceman to ever live,’’ Secours said.  “Because my father was French-Canadian we went to Montreal to visit our relatives a lot so went to quite a few Canadiens’ games. And I remember one year during the playoffs, he took me to see Boston and I wore my No. 4 jersey. We grew up in a house that was rather competitive and we often teased each other a lot when our teams were winning and I might have done the done a little of that in the Montreal Forum sitting amongst mostly, if not all, Canadians fans.’’

Once Secours’ film is finished and proceeds start coming in, she plans to donate some of the money to the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation founded by former player agent Dennis Gilbert and executives Roland Hemond, Dave Yoakum and Harry Minor. To make a donation to help her continue the project, click here. You can see a trailer for the film on that website.

Remember it’s the scouts who spot, observe, recommend and sign players to lucrative contracts. It’s those scouts who don’t get sufficient recognition and don’t get a lot of money for their services. Donate now so that this film can be produced in its entirety.

Comment

Danny Gallagher

Danny was born in Ted Lindsay's hometown of Renfrew, Ont. but his roots are in nearby Douglas. He played 27 consecutive seasons of top-level amateur baseball in the senior ranks in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec and thrived on organizing events himself, the major one being the highly successful 1983 Canadian senior men's tournament in Sudbury. He began covering the Montreal Expos in 1988 when he joined the Montreal Daily News. Later, he was the Expos beat writer for the Ottawa Sun and Associated Press. He has written four baseball books, including Remembering the Montreal Expos, which he co-authored with Bill Young of Hudson, Que. Gallagher and Young are currently working on a book about the ill-fated 1994 Expos squad. Gallagher can be reached here: dannogallagher@rogers.com