June 10, 2001
By Bob Elliott
The Blue Jays wanted Scott Thorman. They were all-set to make the Cambridge infielder the 33rd pick over-all.
They thought they’d be safe -- after all a Canadian high schooler had never been selected in the first round.
Brampton’s Jim Kane didn’t have a lot to say about it -- but he pushed to make sure cross-checkers Tony LaCava of Pittsburgh and John Stewart of Albany, N.Y., come to Etobicoke to see Thorman work out during winter indoors.
Legendary Paul Snyder, the former Braves scouting director and now their special assignment scout, went to Montreal to see Thorman two weekends ago for Team Ontario.
“I first saw Scott three years ago,” Kane said. “Scott has tremendous bat speed and work ethic. Out of all the Ontario kids, he kept getting better and better the deeper into the season we went.”
Coming off an injury to his left shoulder, Thorman hit two doubles and a homer while his fastball was clocked at 94 miles per hour on the radar gun.
“It’s a great day for Canadian baseball,” Braves director of scouting Roy Clark said in Atlanta. “We’re looking for Braves-type players, people who have championship ability.
“I’ve met (Thorman) and he has tremendous character, work ethic and makeup. We feel he’s a tremendous asset to this organization.”
Noting Thorman is both a pitcher and and a hitter, Clark said: “It’s nice to have an insurance policy for a guy who throws 94, 95 (miles per hour), but we really like his bat.”
A year ago, the 30th pick, Texas A&M right-hander Chance Caple, was given a $1.2-million US signing bonus by the St. Louis Cardinals. Caple, though, was a collegian. Thorman, who attends Preston High School, has a scholarship to play for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
“I’m probably the lowest-paid scout in North America with a first-round choice,” Kane said jokingly.
Besides his family and his garden, there wasn’t anything Kane liked more than going to a ball game, whether he was coaching or scouting.
Kane had many a battle, whether it was playing junior hockey for the Lachine Maroons along with future NHLers Yvan Cournoyer, Pierre Bouchard and Phil Myre, or coaching minor ball.
He coached his peewees to national honours in 1991 and his midgets to a third-place finish at the nationals in 1995.
He didn’t lose many battles. Unfortunately, one of those losses a year later when he finally lost a long bout to cancer.
Kane, 54, touched a number of players’ lives as coach and scout for the Atlanta Braves. He signed Newmarket infielder Peter Orr and Thorman.
Both Braves scouting director Clark and international director Drayton Moore hope to leave the Braves camp in Kissimmee, Fla., for the funeral.