Problems are the price you pay for progress. -Branch Rickey- Every strike
brings me closer to the next home run. -Babe Ruth- You can't think and hit
at the same time. -Yogi Berra- Baseball is ninety percent mental and the
other half is physical. -Yogi Berra- Ability is the art of getting credit
for all the home runs somebody else hits. -Casey Stengel- It's a great day
to play two. -Ernie Banks- A baseball manager is a necessary evil. -Sparkey
Anderson- There are only two seasons - winter and Baseball. -Bill Veeck-
was born in Fredericktown, Missouri and his father worked in the coal
Joe, who loved baseball, also loved his country and family. Like so
many that went to War during World War II and Korean War he put his
aspiration's on hold.
Joe was honored twice by his country by being awarded two Air
Joe, like so many other Veterans during World War II and the Korean
War, came back after their service to find out that previous opportunities were
limited at best. While
Joe had the opportunity to sign with the Boston Red Sox, he knew
that the days of playing professional baseball may have passed him by. That
didn't stop him though from playing the game he loved so dearly. That is where
the story was just beginning but that was not where it ended.
Joe continued to play baseball in the Navy and at that time each of
the branch services, whether it was the Navy or Marine Bases, had teams from
Honolulu to San Francisco/Oakland to Long Beach and down to San Diego.
Competition was stiff as each Base Commander wanted to win. They would actually
look for players to transfer in to make their team more competitive.
Joe was a pitcher and center fielder and was very instinctive. While
in the outfield he would actually read the hitters hands in the batter box to
get a better jump on the ball. He was always looking for the edge and was a big
proponent of just moving slightly when the pitch was thrown, to not be caught
flat footed, whether it was in the outfield or the infield. When not playing
the outfield and hitting, he also pitched and many thought he could reach the
major leagues at either position.
Joe had so much knowledge to give as he saw things that many others
didn't see in the game. Joe always thought that kids were over coached and use
to say, "Roll out the balls and just let the kids play."
Joe finished playing baseball in the navy, he started to see his
son, Ken, play little league. Ken became a prospect and was signed by the San
Francisco Giants in 1964 by George
Genovese. Ken played three sports in high school, football, baseball,
and basketball and collegiately could have played any of the sports as he
had numerous scholarships.
Joe also had two other sons Robbie and Joe Jr. who also played
Joe gave so much of his time in the Clairemont Area in San Diego to
help build fields, batting cages, and dugouts so others could achieve their
dreams too. If someone called him for his knowledge or help, he was always
there for them.
In the late 60's, the bond with George
Genovese grew even stronger as George would periodically call him about
players in San Diego, and as the San Diego Area grew he needed someone like
Joe to scout the area. George knew players and he also knew
Joe started as an associate scout for just expenses with
Genovese, working a full-time job/graveyard shift from midnight to eight
(at North Island) and then working from 2 till 6 in the afternoon scouting
baseball, not to mention working weekends as well with minimal sleep, just
to get the experience working as a scout. On top of that, his eldest son was
in the big leauges and his other two sons were aspiring baseball players and
played other sports as well.
Joe immediately made an impact. He had an eye for talent and helped
bring to the Giants Gary
D'Acquisto, and Matt
Nokes out of San Diego, not to mention his own son, Ken
Henderson. When you're an area scout, as most scouts will tell you, you
are subject to front office decisions. Ironically,
Joe had written a number of reports on an outfielder from San Diego
State who continually progressed over the course of time and was a two sport
athlete in basketball and baseball,
Tony Gwynn, a future Hall of Famer.
Joe loved athletes and knew Tony's arm projected to get better if he
opened up a little more to throw, and it did.
Joe loved how instinctive he was, whether it was on the bases or in
the outfield, and he knew that he could swing the bat.
Joe did miss one thing with
Tony Gwynn, he thought he would average 10-15 home runs per year. He
urged the Giants to draft him no later than the
2nd round pick in 1981. Instead they drafted a
first basemen from Oral Roberts named
Kelvin Torve. The Giants'
first round pick
that year was
Mark Grant. The Giants' plan was to
Tony Gwynn in the
third round if he
was still available. Unfortunately, he was already drafted in the
2nd round by the San Diego Padres.
Joe decided to leave the Giants and go to the Detroit Tigers, where
the Tigers won the World Series and
Joe received a World Series Ring in 1984. He went on to work with
the Seattle Mariners, and then to the San Diego Padres and to work with
Waller, back home, to cross check the top baseball prospects throughout
the country. While
Joe cross checked many great players, his passion was to find that
athlete that maybe didn't project to the major league level as a shortstop, but
might be a catcher, pitcher, or another position.
started as a part-time scout, but
Joe never did anything part-time. There were never any shortcuts in
his life for him. His legacy will live on with his sons, grandsons, and
I will never forget sitting at Navy Field in San Diego and some one behind me
saying "See the street son?", I said yes sir, "See that sand?" I said yes sir,
"See the water?" I said yes sir, "Your Dad hit a home run one day into the
bay." I am sure that ball had to travel almost 500'. That person telling me the
story was none other than
Eddie Mathews a Hall
of Famer. Mr. Mathews said, "Son your Dad could swing it and
could really throw." During that whole conversation, Dad never said a word
as I was sitting next to him. He was looking for that kid that may have been
out of position, that may be a catcher, pitcher or another position.
One thing we all know in our
family, there are no shortcuts to