I was scouting in Chattanooga back in
2008 and ran into former manager and
scout Cal Ermer during a rain delay of a
Double-A Lookouts game. As rain drops
fell on the tarp; sitting in the press box
Ermer shared stories of his playing days,
baseball owner Calvin Griffith and
managing the Minnesota Twins in the
With the rain subsiding and the tarp
being tugged off the diamond, I
mentioned to Ermer that the next day I
was driving up the road to Cleveland, TN
to see our old friend Lou Fitzgerald.
Though suffering from Alzheimers at age
84, Ermer was quick to point out that he
heard Fitzgerald was not "doing well."
The next day on my visit to Cleveland,
Fitzgerald greeted me in pajamas with
robe half open. Unshaven and slow
moving, but still lucid, we shared a few
hours of baseball talk. Upon hearing that
I was with Ermer the previous night,
Fitzgerald noted that he heard Cal wasn't
doing too good and that he he's got the
It was as if I was stuck between the two
old men on The Muppets, both crusty
and hoping to outlive the other.
Ermer would pass away the following
year and now I am sad to say that Lou
Fitzgerald passed away the other day,
January 27th at age 93.
My paths crossed with Fitzgerald during
the early years of the Marlins. He was
one of several old time scouts hired as a
"master scout" to help scout for the
expansion draft while helping teach the
younger scouts of the organization.
I spent a week with Fitzgerald in 1992
hearing stories of players and picking his
brain for tips while scouting a couple
Carolina League games. I'll always
remember us sitting outside his Days Inn
room in Lynchburg, VA as he chomped
on a cigar and we talked about the
players from the previous evenings'
game. What a great learning experience.
Covering the State of Tennessee during
the 1990's, Fitzgerald would see games
for me in the Chattanooga area. It was
always a good day at the ballpark when I
was able to share a game with Lou. I
loved hearing the stories of how he
managed future Hall of Famers Johnny
Bench and Joe Morgan in the minors.
In 2011, Fitzgerald was honored by the
baseball community with the "Legends in
Scouting Award." The following is a story
on Fitzgerald which reviews his career
better than I can scribe.
Here's to you Mr. Fitzgerald... thanks for
the time together.
Lou Fitzgerald article in The Cleveland
Lou Fitzgerald (1919-2013)