By Melissa Verge
Canadian Baseball Network
CARBERRY, Man. _ Welcome to Carberry, Manitoba.
It’s a small town where the nearest farm is a quick walk away, and the nearest Tim Hortons is a 40-minute drive. There’s open fields for miles, and beautiful sunsets.
On one of the streets is a big house with a yard covered in flowers. From the outside, its impossible to tell that the man inside has devoted so much of his life to the game of baseball.
The proof, that’s through the door. There’s lots of trophies, pictures, and the man himself, white haired and happy to share his story, 85-year-old Gladwyn Scott. He’s a former scout for the Toronto Blue Jays, and was an assistant coach on Canada’s first national team. He is a well decorated baseball man, also known fondly as “Mr. Baseball,” who’s been involved with the sport for more than 60 years.
Mr. Baseball says that over time baseball has given back to him in different ways. “You travel a lot, see the world, meet a lot of great people, and have a lot of fun. It’s a great thing,” he says.
One of the places Scott travelled to was Toronto when the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and 1993 and they flew him and his wife there. He also travelled to West Palm Beach, Florida to the Atlanta Braves training camp when he scouted for them.
He was a scout for seven years with the Toronto Blue Jays and seven years with the Atlanta Braves. “We were looking for anybody who was a good ball player, whether you were a pitcher or a catcher. I recommended a few of them, the whole idea is they’re good, but are they going to be good enough to play with the Toronto Blue Jays?” he says.
When he first got involved with baseball, it was back in the time where there weren’t school buses, but he would instead get picked up in front of his house by a “horse and van,” a compartment pulled by two horses. He would get dropped off at the small school schoolhouse that he attended, where he remembers as a youngster playing ball and his first baseball glove.
“It was a pretty cheap one and not very good,” he says. As the years went on you learned that you were a better player with a better glove.”
The main reason why Scott first got involved with baseball was because of his family.
“My father was a catcher in a small community team,” he says. I have a brother and we would play catch with my Dad pretty much everyday, he would hit us fly balls and ground balls. There was even a time in 1954 where Scott, his brother, and his dad all played on the same team. In rural Hamiota, Man. where he grew up, playing ball was one of the few things to do other than being a farmer.
As he got older and ventured into coaching, Mr. Baseball had one of the highlights of his involvement with the sport, as an assistant coach on Canada’s first national team. “It was something new, it was very exciting to play against Cuba and the United States,” he says.
As a coach Scott was very competitive who emphasized the importance of good offence in his training.
“There’s only one way to play, and that’s to win,” he says. “Something I always believed in was a lot of batting practice. For the national team in 1967 I can remember I would throw batting practice to them an hour before every game.”
Throughout the years Scott remained involved with baseball in his home province of Manitoba, and he just resigned last year as head of the chairman of the Manitoba senior baseball council.
Scott says he’s happy that baseball is still big even in the less populated areas of the province. “Every little town has a ball team, and I think that’s good. Out in rural Manitoba baseball is still pretty big, and I’m proud of that.”
At 85-years-old he’s still keeping his ties to the game. “I can’t play anymore but I enjoy watching,” he says. “I don’t try to coach anybody now, but if they ask me I might offer an opinion. I’m a sports writer now, that’s what I spend a lot of my time doing.”