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Friday, April 29, 2022

Ray Fagnant got call to turn pro, one to turn scout; Played in four seasons, missed call to bigs

Ray Fagnant feared his baseball career was over before it had really begun. He'd gotten a job as an actuarial evaluation analyst and he'd even looked into substitute teaching, The Hartford Courant wrote.

But, after prior attempts went nowhere, he caught up with Red Sox scout Bill Enos. That eventually led to a call from the Red Sox's director of minor league operations, The Courant wrote.

"I was at work," Fagnant told The Courant in April 1990. "It was enough of a shock that he called me. But then he asked me if I could be in New Britain that night. The night before, we'd had a company softball game, so I went from slow-pitch to Double-A in 24 hours."

Fagnant went on to play in four pro seasons. He never got higher than AA. But he did stay in the game, as a scout himself.

Fagnant's career actually began in 1988, signed by the Pirates as a free agent after he'd played his college ball at Assumption College in Massachusetts.

His stay with the Pirates proved brief. He saw a single appearance with their Gulf Coast League team. 

The catcher then returned with the Red Sox with that call. He saw 19 games over three levels that year. He played six in the GCL, 10 at single-A Winter Haven and three at AA New Britain. He went 5 for 42 overall.

Fagnant returned for 47 games at Winter Haven in 1990 and 21 final games at New Britain in 1991. He went 6 for 46 that year to end his career.

He soon turned to scouting. He'd gotten another call from the Red Sox scout Enos.

"Bill was retiring and he asked me if I was interested in taking his spot," Fagnant recalled to Patch years later. "It was early in the spring and I was waiting to hear from a couple of teams, but I knew that it was what I wanted to do because it was a chance for me to stay in baseball."

By 1994, he was in charge of the Northeast territory and he continued in that role in 2013. He was among the Red Sox employees honored that year for their longevity.

Ahead of the 2003 draft, Fagnant explained to The Courant his approach to scouting, including on statistics.

"I'm not a huge stat guy, meaning I'll never eliminate a guy because his stats aren't great," Fagnant told The Courant. "They'll tell you a lot, but they won't tell you everything. I still like to see a guy and decide for myself why he has, or hasn't, got good stats."

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,902
Made the Majors:1,300-33.3%
Never Made Majors:2,602-66.7%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:528
10+ Seasons in the Minors:325

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