May 28, 1984 12:00 PM

by Kevin Kerrane

The scouts who seek out major league prospects are like explorers, wandering the country’s amateur diamonds in the hope of finding a treasure—or a raw talent that can be turned into a treasure. A lot of what romance remains in baseball centers on this perennial quest, and Kerrane, an English professor at the University of Delaware, captures it in this wonderfully affectionate book. It is based on his travels with scouts during the 1981 season and includes some fascinating reminiscences, such as those of the scouts who found Roberto Clemente and Sandy Koufax, and those who turned down Hank Aaron and let Mickey Mantle slip by. Another scout recalls how, when confronted with a rugged-looking but sluggish young first baseman, he fell back on a classic line in his report: “Looks like Tarzan, runs like Jane.” (Beaufort, $15.95)

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