Sometimes, a long, long climb pays off, even if with only a brief bust of glory.
Just ask Dick Scott.
Drafted in the 17th round of the 1981 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees out of Ellsworth High School in Maine, Scott faced a steep climb the entirety of his professional career.
But he put one foot in front of the other, as the old song goes …
Rookie ball in 1981 …
Single-A with (Double-A and Triple-A hops along the way) from 1982 through 1984, Double-A from 1985 through 1988, with another couple of Triple-A showings sprinkled in.
And then … released in October of 1988 at age 26.
A good ride, but it was over, right?
Nah, not quite.,
The mighty Oakland A’s, coming off a disappointing World Series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers but gearing up to again romp through the American League, signed the not-so-young shortstop to a minor league free agent deal in December and sent him to Triple-A Tacoma to start the season.
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But then, in mid-May, while they were still trying to figure out who they were and what all they had, Oakland called up their prize pick-up.
On May 19, 1989, manager Tony La Russa brought the rookie in for the top of the 10th as part of a double-switch during a death match against the Boston Red Sox — a rematch of the 1988 ALCS.
Alas, Dwight Evans smashed a grand slam off Dennis Eckersley to break open the game, 7-3, but Scott stayed in for the bottom of the frame.
He would come to bat with Carney Lansford on third and one out and, though Scott himself grounded out, his first Big League plate appearance yielded an RBI.
As it turned out, that ribbie would be the only one of the season for Scott … and the only one of his entire career.
After two more late-inning replacement assignments, Scott was headed back to Tacoma by the end of May. The 1990 season brought another short stint at Triple-A, and then that was it for Scott’s professional baseball career.
His final Major League batting line shows two at-bats, with zero hits and that single RBI.
That driven-in run stands in good company, though, because Scott’s brief May tenure with Oakland was enough to land him a spot in the the 1990 Topps Major League Debut set, right alongside luminaries like Ken Griffey (Jr.), Deion Sanders, and, uh, Stu Tate.
See the kind of company a little persistence can land you in??