Larry Beinfest, who built the 2003 Florida Marlins championship team and has risen to the top levels of that organization, is one of many people around baseball who considers Roger Jongewaard (pictured above in 1995) a mentor. Beinfest began his career at the lowest levels of the Mariner organization, as detailed here, and worked his way up.
Beinfest eventually returned the favor and hired Jongewaard as a Marlins scout, his last job before his death yesterday.
I contacted Beinfest today and got a nice e-mail expressing his admiration for Jongewaard, along with a wonderful anecdote:
My introduction to scouting and player evaluation came from Roger…fun story:
I think it was my first year with the Mariners (1990) and Roger was living in Southern California but was coming up while the Mariners were at home and also to see our Northwest League team in Bellingham. I was really excited when Roger asked me to drive with him to Bellingham to see a game. We left the office mid-afternoon and headed up I-5. I thought this was great…hanging out with the VP of our department and learning about scouting. We had a nice time, Roger began to teach me scouting lingo and what to look for in players.
Everything was great until on the way home Roger said “Thanks for riding with me…the traffic would have been terrible if we couldn’t use the HOV (diamond lane)”. From that day forward, I became “Diamond Lane Larry”.
Roger told me there are two important things to remember in scouting: 1. Never park with your windshield facing the field. 2. Turn in your expenses on time. These two items are well known in scouting except Roger added a third…3. Eat before you go to the game!
On a serious note, Beinfest concludes: “He was awesome. Patient, nurturing, a lot of fun. Signed some great players and had tremendous feel for the game. It was an honor to hire him with the Marlins and have him work in our Pro Scouting Department.
Everyone he knew he made better.”