Former Expo scout Eddie Haas managed in ‘85 with Braves
By Danny Gallagher
Along a winding road to his 80th birthday today, Eddie Haas has a few stories to tell.
He reflects on a splendid career as he takes it easy in the city that is home to the Kentucky Derby, the Louisiville Slugger, and the Cincinnati Reds Triple A team.
He had cups of tea in the majors, several seasons as a manager in the Atlanta Braves’ organization before he was promoted to the big show for the 1985 season as skipper. Then for close to 20 years beginning in 1986, he embarked on a new career as a scout, first with the Expos and then the Boston Red Sox.
In 1957, while with the Chicago Cubs, he would run across a Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, the late Jim Fanning, the beginning of a lengthy friendship.
“I came up with the Cubs and that is when I met Jim Fanning. I knew him real good,’’ Haas said.
Haas was later traded to the Milwaukee Braves and would enjoy his last cup of tea in the majors in 1960 after he missed the entire 1959 season with a broken ankle. He played in the minor leagues for another few years and then embarked on another association with the Braves in non-player roles. From 1965-73 and then from 1978-84, he was a minor-league skipper for the Braves. In between those two stints from 1974-77, he was a major-league coach for the Braves.
Then when this fellow by the name of Joe Torre was having trouble gaining any kind of solid reputation as a major-league manager before he suited up with the Yankees, Haas replaced him for much of the 1985 season in the days when they were sad-sack losers even though they boasted the likes of Dale Murphy, Bob Horner and Glenn Hubbard.
“I remember a 19-inning game we played in 1985 on the July Independence Day weekend and it ended at four in the morning,’’ said Haas who was fired in August and by the following season, he was employed by the Expos.
“When I was in Montreal, the general managers were Murray Cook, Bill Stoneman, Dave Dombrowski and Dan Duquette so they had pretty good people running the place,’’ Haas said.
Haas would scout a lot of players and submit his evaluations to the various scouting directors and GMs.
“I remember guys like Delino DeShields, Marquis Grissom, Cliff Floyd, Rondell White and so on,’’ Haas said.
After a long stint living in his hometown of Paducah, Ky., Haas is living in the same city where Deshields is in his first season as Cincinnati’s Triple- A manager so one day Haas decided to make a trek to the park to see Deshields.
Of course, Deshields remembered Haas.
“I worked with Delino a lot in the minor leagues,’’ Haas said.
Then Haas proceeded to tell a tale about when DeShields showed in Louisville for a news conference announcing his appointment as skipper.
“DeShields started talking about the Expos and what a great group of guys they were and how it was a lot of fun. I had to laugh because a reporter then asked, ‘But you got traded, what did you think of that?’ ‘’
Without missing a beat, DeShields elicited a few chuckles saying: “Well, I got traded for a guy who won three Cy Young awards.”
“I don’t suppose you know to remember Pedro Martinez?’’ Haas needled this reporter, of course, all in fun, talking about the guy acquired in exchange for DeShields.
“I was in on discussions for the two times Pedro was traded, first from the Dodgers and then from the Expos,’’ Haas said.
Haas also was in on a lot of discussions involving many Expos before they were drafted and when they were up for possible trade.
“We had a lot of frank discussions about certain players,’’ Haas said.
Following the 1994 season scuttled by the strike, Haas went to work with Duquette in Boston and stayed there until 2003.
One player Haas didn’t scout or recommend for the Expos was someone who is his favourite Expo.
“Larry Walker was already taken by the Expos before I went to work for them,’’ Haas said. “Walker had a good feel for the game. He had a lot of good ability and he played hard. You could see it when he went out there in the first inning.’’
Then as the conversation was drawing to a close, Haas made a point of menioning to this Toronto-based reporter that the Blue Jays hitting coach is Brook Jacoby.
“Jacoby was one of my pupils when I managed the Braves’ Triple-A team in Richmond, Va.,’’ Haas said. “He was a good player. If you see Jacoby, say hello to him.”