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Winter 2007 • Volume 13, Issue 1

At the ol' ball game

Steve McAllisterWork and play go together for Steve McAllister ’85, whose passion for baseball has led to a lifelong career. “I went to Bradley for baseball, and a byproduct was an education. Professional baseball was always in the back of my mind,” says McAllister, who majored in health and physical education.

McAllister played in the minor leagues for six years, with Houston and Pittsburgh. Since then, he has followed his dream as a baseball scout. Noting many scouts are former players or coaches, he says, “We’re a fraternity with a passion for baseball.”

In his 19th year, McAllister currently scouts for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He also has worked for the Milwaukee Brewers, Anaheim Angels, and the Boston Red Sox. “In baseball, you develop friendships and gravitate to where your friends are. My boss in Arizona was in Boston, too.”

Scouting involves a yearly cycle, starting in February with high school, junior college, and college players. “I’m the Midwest supervisor, so I’m responsible for four area scouts, and I see their top players. I start in the south and work my way north as the weather gets better. At the end of May, I go to Arizona and make a draft board. I rank players for the June draft.”

He continues, “I switch gears in the summer and do pro scouting. We cover the professional leagues, Class A through Class AAA. We’re always looking for possible trades and releases. In the fall, we get a quick look at college players eligible for next year’s draft. From November to January, I work at home making telephone calls and preparing for the upcoming season.”

McAllister is directly responsible for watching six teams in the Midwest League: Clinton, Cedar Rapids, Burlington, Quad Cities, Dayton, and Peoria. He also covers the Chicago Cubs in September. “I’m looking at throwing, fielding, running, hitting, and power abilities. I also look at intangibles, like how hard he plays and his baseball instincts.” He adds, “Pitchers are bigger and stronger now than ever before, and players hit the ball farther. The negative is that players are not as well schooled on how to play a game, but as far as athleticism, they’re better. With pitchers, we look for a clean delivery. Each pitcher has to repeat his delivery to throw a lot of strikes.”

McAllister has signed three eventual Big League players: Cal Eldred, who played for the Brewers, Chicago White Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals; Dennis Tankersley, who played with San Diego; and Morgan Burkheart, who played for Boston.

Remembering his days at Bradley, McAllister says his coach, Dewey Kalmer, was outstanding at teaching the fundamentals of play and the mechanics of pitching. “I always listened when he talked to the pitchers, too, so I was ahead of the game when I started scouting. He gave me a good start, and he gave my son Zach a good start. Zach graduated from high school in May and was drafted this spring by the New York Yankees in the third round.”

McAllister is married to Jeannine Ruff McAllister ’87 MA ’94. She is principal at St. Edward’s Grade School in Chillicothe.

McAllister concludes, “It’s a fantastic job. I’m paid to go to ball games, and I get the good seats. I love the game, and I enjoy being affiliated with a Major League team.”