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On Friday morning in Ontario, Canada, Jim Ridley passed away.
“Who?” you ask.
The Minnesota Twins are well-known as an organization that values scouting very strongly. The Twins scouting department is very well respected around the game of baseball. Jim Ridley had been a scout for the Minnesota Twins since 2003, but he had been around the game of baseball and the scouting arena for decades. For the Twins, he covered Canada (Twins Canadian Scouting Supervisor) and the Eastern United States. He had played baseball professionally. He had coached in the Olympics for Team Canada. He had signed a lot of major leaguer ballplayers, and in his tenure with the Twins, he signed Mark Zamojc, Jonathan Waltenbury, and Rene Tosoni.
Please take a few minutes to read this incredible article from The Canadian Baseball Network for some of the tales of the career, the life and times, of Jim Ridley. The man was incredibly well-respected by people throughout the world of baseball. The article’s author, Bob Elliott (Blue Jays beat writer), must have asked for comments from those who knew him. There are quotes from GM Bill Smith, former GM Terry Ryan, a Twins scout named Tim O’Neil, Twins Australian scout (who previously had covered Canada and other places around the world) Howard Norsetter, Twins Minor League Field Coordinator Joel Lepel, and many others from around the game of baseball.
Articles like this can, and should, make baseball fans appreciate the scouts, those at the grass roots of an organization. Those are the names that you don’t read about in the paper very often, and many of them don’t want their names mentioned. But they are the people who really help build an organization, and the Twins have benefited greatly by having great scouts who know the game and know what to look for in players. Jim Ridley was a name I had not heard before today, and that clearly is unfortunate.
My condolences to his family and friends, the Twins organization and those who knew him best.