A painful topic among Detroit Tigers fans during baseball's postseason is how many former Tigers are on the two World Series teams. The one who's made the biggest splash has been Cody Ross, who was named MVP of the NLCS after batting .350 with three home runs and six RBIs.â†µ
Ross began his Tigers career as a fourth-round pick out of high school in 1999. He spent five years in the Tigers' system, appearing in six games with the big league club in 2003 before a knee injury ended his season. The next season, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Steve Colyer.
With Ross in the postseason spotlight, MLB.com tracked down the Tigers scout who signed Ross, Jim Olander. In just his second year as a scout, he convinced Ross to pass up playing at Arizona State and got him to sign a $400,000 deal with Detroit.â†µ
Based on what he saw in Ross 12 years ago as an 18-year-old, Olander isn't surprised he's found success in the major leagues.â†µ
"Even as a young player, he could square up on a fastball. He also was a really good center fielder in high school, and he had an outstanding arm. He was a left-handed pitcher when he wasn't in the outfield, and he could throw 93 or 94 [mph], and there were some teams and colleges that wanted him as a pitcher.â†µ
Olander went on to say that what he remembers most about Ross in scouting him was his sheer enjoyment of playing the game.â†µ
There can't be a much better feeling as a scout to know that you were right on a player, and to see the kid you projected as a major leaguer succeed at the game's highest level.