St. Petersburg Fl – Last night in St. Petersburg Florida, at Tropicana Field, the Ted Williams Hitters HOF inducted it’s class of 2017. A dinner attended by a little over 1000 baseball enthusiasts saw an array of guests that were a virtual who’s who in big league baseball.
Honored were, the All-time “Hit King” Pete Rose, the Tiger’s Willie Horton and the Twins pitcher Camilo Pascual. With the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award going to, Octavio “Cookie” Rojas and Tom “TBone” Giordano, who is celebrating his 70th year in professional baseball.
Many of you know who these ball players were, but you may not be familiar with Tom Giordano. He is known as T-BONE and there isn’t a ballpark minors or major league where he isn’t known. From ushers and security to broadcasters, writers, players, GMs, coaches and managers they all know T-BONE.
He just celebrated his 91st birthday and is the senior most scout in all of baseball. Being a part of professional baseball for over 70 years is amazing and a true testament of his ability to judge talent.
Here are some of his accomplishments: He played for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s as a late call up 1954, where he homered for his first big league hit off of Virgil Trucks. He also won the HR title in the SALLY league that year, beating out someone named Henry Aaron.
When his playing days ended, he began his career in scouting, working for GM Hank Peters. The two would forge a friendship that would bond them for life. Together they would build the great Oakland A’s team that won three consecutive World Series from 1972 to 1974. They then went on to Baltimore where Tom, as director of scouting and player development, drafted Cal Ripken Jr. winning the World Series in 1983 which lead to the building of Camden Yards.
One day while looking at a possible prospect in Florida, he discovered and offered a contract to someone who impressed him more than the player he went to see, the kids High School coach. That would be John Hart, who would go on to become one of the greatest innovators and general managers of the modern baseball era. He could see potential in anyone, not just players.
Tom and Hank Peters then went on to Cleveland, where Hart would replace Peters and rebuild the Indians into a powerhouse in the mid nineties bringing about another new stadium and record attendance for the city of Cleveland.
Tom was the driving force in drafting and signing Manny Ramirez among others. As VP of baseball operations, he played a key role in two World Series appearances. He then followed Hart to Texas who became their new GM and became his senior advisor and was a big part in a number of high profile trades.
He was the frontman for the trade of Josh Hamilton from the Reds and the hiring of Ron Washington as manager. He was also in the middle of the Alex Rodriguez trade to the Yankees helping to once again rebuild a team into a powerhouse. As mentor and Sr. advisor to the young brilliant 28 -year old GM, Jon Daniels, who replaced Hart, he continued to evaluate players that would lead to decisions by Daniels, to field a team that would go on to two World Series and be one out away from a championship.
Giordano has and continues to be one of the most gifted scouts in the history of baseball. Today, ‘T-BONE’ is a special assistant to the GM of the Atlanta Braves where he is part of the group working on rebuilding them into another dynasty.
At 91 years old, he told me he plans to work another ten years for the Braves and then move on to another challenge. Congratulations “TBONE”, a True “Baseball Man”.