Editor’s Note: This is part of a summer Q&A series in which every Wednesday sports writer Jared Bell will talk with local people in the sports news.
What started as a game in Mendota has led Larry Corrigan around the world.
A three-sport star at Mendota High School, the 62-year-old Mendota resident is currently a special-assignment scout for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and was one of the key members of the Angels organization who scouted, drafted and signed Ottawa graduate Michael Hermosillo.
Corrigan graduated from MHS in 1968, played baseball at Iowa State University and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a pitcher in the fourth round of the 1972 MLB Draft.
He played six seasons in the minor leagues and had never played in the majors when he was asked to be an assistant coach at Iowa State.
He eventually became head coach and later coached at Cal State-Fullerton before being pulled into scouting.
He started his MLB career as an area scout for the Oakland A’s before he began a nearly 20-year stint with the Twins, for whom he was the West Coast Scouting Supervisor from 1987-1992, Director of Scouting from 1992-93 — during which the Twins drafted outfielder Torii Hunter — and Minor League Field Coordinator from 1994-98 as well as a pro scout.
In 2007, he began working with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a special assistant to the GM before he later left for the Angels.
During his time, he’s traveled the country and the world looking for baseball’s next top talent.
While in Minneapolis Tuesday morning before he scouted the Minnesota Twins-Chicago White Sox series, Corrigan discussed his coaching career, scouting and life on the road.
NewsTribune: Can you talk a little bit about your role with the Angels and your responsibilities?
Larry Corrigan: It’s a little multi-faceted. I go to spring training, I watch amateurs and now I am doing major league stuff, but I also do minor league stuff.
When I scout, I’ll put the information in the computer and it will go right to Anaheim. The director of pro scouting will look it over and the general manager will look it over, too. It goes to a bunch of people.
NT: You’re one of the key people on the road for the Angels, and in many ways you’re the eyes and ears of the organization. What’s it like to be in such a crucial position?
Corrigan: You just try to do the best you can on a daily basis, that’s all you can do. I am working right now, sitting a breakfast table. I’ll go back up to my room later to do some more work. For me, it’s like the phrase they always say, ‘Done never happens.’ There’s always something else. It never ends. I did the amateur stuff and all the paperwork, and now I’m doing (the pro scouting).
NT: This year’s MLB Draft was a few weeks ago and you were drafted in the fourth round of the 1972 MLB Draft out of Iowa State. What do you recall about being drafted?
Corrigan: In the spring (of 1972), I knew a lot of the scouts because they all tried to talk to me, but when the (Dodgers) scout drove up the driveway I had never seen him before and didn’t recognize him. Come to find out, he had seen me play the opening series of the year and never saw me again after that. That was a pretty crazy time.
NT: So how did you get into scouting?
Corrigan: I’ve been involved in baseball my whole life, so I knew Terry Ryan — who was the (scouting director) of the Twins at the time — and he offered me a job as the West Coast Scouting Supervisor.
NT: Do you prefer coaching college baseball or working in professional baseball?
Corrigan: That’s an interesting question because it’s one I get all the time since I’ve been involved in both development and scouting. Really, it doesn’t matter to me. If they want me to get up tomorrow morning and go to Europe, I’ll go. If they want me to go to Hong Kong, I’ll go. If they want me to scout somewhere, I’ll go. If they want me to teach somewhere, I’ll go. So it doesn’t matter and I don’t care. I’ll just do what they want me to do because I enjoy all of them.
NT: Is it more satisfying to be a coach and see a player fulfill his dream by getting drafted or being a scout who searches and finds a future superstar?
Corrigan: I don’t want to sound cold, but I’ve been doing this so long that you kind of get numb. It’s pretty hard to go and get excited about a baseball player. I’ve seen all of them, so you just try to do your job with calm and logic and go with your principles, so in terms of emotions and going through the roof on a daily basis, I don’t.
When I was scouting director, I had a hand in scouting Torii Hunter. Well, I just watched Torii Hunter last weekend so I texted him and congratulated him on his 300th (career) home run. There’s satisfaction in stuff like that.
NT: What’s the best and worst part of being on the road so much?
Corrigan: The worst part is you’re gone all the time. I left home last Friday and I won’t be home again until July 31 — so a month and a half on the road, and that’s not the first time I’ve done that this year. It’s a long grind.
The best part is that I enjoy traveling and seeing old friends. I watch the show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, so if I see those places, I can go to them if I choose. (On Monday), I went to an Italian restaurant (in Minneapolis) that was on the show with a friend and it was marvelous.
But I know people all over the country that I keep in touch with, which is one thing I do better than most.
NT: With your time in baseball, what’s the one thing that you’re most proud of?
Corrigan: Probably making a career out of something that you love. I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to be in the room with the best there ever was, both at the collegiate level and the professional level — and I know those people. Just the whole experience in baseball has been great.
NT: You were one of the people who scouted Ottawa graduate Michael Hermosillo. What did you see and the Angels see that led the organization to draft him?
Corrigan: I saw him in a game last year at L-P and he showed me enough skills then that we had somebody come back and see him again this spring. Another time when I was home, I went to see him again. And other times I was home I went over to see him, so I saw him quite a few times.
I think he has some of the traits that you are looking for to be a Major League Baseball player. Kind of going down the checklist of tools, statistics, roles, makeup and risks. He showed tools. Statistics, he’s obviously done pretty well for his level. With role, I tried to put him in what role I think he would fit offensively and defensively. Then I tried to figure out the makeup of him. I did see him play in the three football games. Then with risk, I tried to evaluate the risk.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.