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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The story of Scott Miller(s)

The cool thing about researching former baseball players is that it's pretty easy to know if an article is written about that player.

That's because there is Baseball-Reference and The Baseball Cube. They have the stats, and any article I find that is consistent with that record, is something I can use to construct a picture of that player's career.

I can also use that information to cut through the noise, especially with players who had common names, and players who have the same name.

Sometimes, though, information can be contradictory. I have to do more research to confirm that I'm using the correct information. Sometimes the B-R information can be inaccurate, sometimes the ProCard card is inaccurate.

Such is the case with 1990 Myrtle Beach Blue Jay Scott Miller.

In researching Scott Miller, I soon realized something wasn't right. I found the Miller listed as playing for Myrtle Beach. Baseball-Reference has him playing from 1990 to 1992, drafted out of Elon University in North Carolina in the 34th round of the 1990 draft.

That Scott Miller, S. Scott Miller, is listed 6'1", 180 pounds, born July 7, 1967.

Problem is, the back of Miller's ProCards card has this Scott Miller listed as playing at rookie Medicine Hat in 1989 and signing with the Blue Jays in 1989. ProCards also gives the same birth date, same height and same weight.

So, does Baseball-Reference list anyone by that name playing at Medicine Hat in 1989?

Yes, a Steven S. Miller played there. That is, a Steven S. Miller who is listed 6'1", 180 pounds, born July 7, 1967.

The back of the ProCards card lists the Myrtle Beach player's full name as Steven Scott Miller, fitting both.

So, they're the same person, right? All the information matches. They played in the Blue Jays system and somehow the two parts got separated in the files?

Not all the information. The schools for each Miller are listed different. Steven S. Miller is listed as attending the University of South Florida. S. Scott Miller is listed as being drafted from Elon University in North Carolina in 1990.

If the schools are to be believed, then there are two Millers, especially if S. Scott Miller was drafted in 1990. That means he couldn't have played at Medicine Hat in 1989.

Do the schools have records of Scott Millers playing there at those times? Yes, they do.

First, the University of South Florida lists a Scott Miller as playing for the school from 1988 to 1989, a term ending in time for that Scott Miller to be signed by the Blue Jays and play at Medicine Hat.

And Elon University also lists its own Scott Miller, with its Scott Miller being drafted in 1990 by the Blue Jays.

Add to those, a possible third Scott Miller, a pitcher for Medicine Hat in 1990 with no listed school, which I realized was there as I researched the 1989 Medicine Hat Scott Miller.

My thoughts now are that the Scott Miller from South Florida is the hitter Scott Miller from 1989 to 1992. That's based on multiple cards connecting the two, including his ProCards card and his 1991 Classic Best card.

Then, even though the Scott Miller of Elon University was a position player there, it appears he turned pitcher at Medicine Hat. That's what makes the most sense.

And, one more search, with the help of the Trading Card Database, confirms this hypothesis.

The Trading Card Database, where I realized the pitcher Scott Miller existed and pulled the Medicine Hat card scan from, also includes the card back of his 1990 Medicine Hat card. That includes a hometown for that Scott Miller as Morrisdale, Pa.

Searching for "Scott Miller" "Morrisdale" and "Elon" turned up the Scott Miller Rosetta Stone. And that's a Newspapers.com entry from the Tyrone Daily Herald. Hometown kid Scott Miller, the entry reads, went to Elon University. He was a position player there, drafted by the Blue Jays.

The Clincher: He was drafted by the Blue Jays, and projected to be a pitcher.

To recap: Scott Miller of the University of South Florda played in the Blue Jays system from 1989 to 1992 as a position player; The Scott Miller of Elon University played in the Blue Jays system for a single season, at Medicine Hat in 1990, as a pitcher.

Even though the 1990 ProCards card is 100 percent correct in talking about the correct Scott Miller, I think I'll feature the Medicine Hat Scott Miller, as well. Just because I put so much work into figuring out that he existed.

Read about the career of Scott A. Miller, of Elon University
Read about the career of S. Scott Miller, of the University of South Florida

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