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Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Jerry DiPoto played in bigs, scouted, survived cancer; He's since become a major league GM

Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers recounted Jerry Dipoto's resume to The Arizona Republic in September 2011.

Dipoto had been a major league player, a closer, a scout, worked in development and, the previous year, Dipoto had served as interim Diamondbacks general manager, Towers noted to The Republic.

"He has tremendous recall. He knows players. He's very organized, thorough, people skills, work ethic. Really no negatives," Towers told The Republic of Dipoto, then the organization's senior VP for scouting and player development. "Do I think he'll be a good GM? I think he'll be outstanding. I think he's already been outstanding."

Dipoto soon took that resume directly there, to the general manager's office, hired by the Angels for 2012. He stayed there four seasons, before moving to the Mariners, a job he continues to hold in 2022.

Before that, though, he was a player. He saw time in eight major league seasons. He also worked his way back from cancer to have the best seasons of his career.

Dipoto's career began in 1989, taken by the Indians in the third round of the draft out of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dipoto started with the Indians at short-season Watertown. He went 6-5 in 14 starts, with a 3.61 ERA. He made high-A Kinston in 1990, then AA Canton-Akron for 1992 and for 1992.

He then made Cleveland for 1993. He saw 46 games, all in relief. He went 4-4, with 10 saves and a 2.40 ERA. Dipoto had some rough spots early, but he knew what he needed to do: trust his coaches, according to The Akron Beacon-Journal.

"I've been in the big leagues nine days. The coaches know a lot more than I do, so why not ask them?" Dipoto told The Beacon-Journal that May. "It's their job to explain things."

Then came a routine spring training physical in 1994. Team doctors felt a lump on his neck. It was cancer. He underwent surgery and recovery and made it back to the field.

He moved to the Mets for 1995 and soon became a regular. He saw 58 outings that year. He went 4-6, with a 3.78 ERA. 

"I come to the ballpark and it's fun again," Dipoto told The New York Daily News that April. "Last year wasn't a lot of fun. It was the first time in my life I was moody. I couldn't jerk up the energy to be there. Now, I remember how much fun it is to play baseball."

From 1995 to 1999, a span of five seasons, Dipoto saw no fewer than 57 relief appearances each year. He moved to the Rockies in 1997 and saw a career high 74 appearances. He went 5-3, with a 4.70 ERA and 16 saves. He then saved 19 in 68 appearances in 1998.

Dipoto stayed with the Rockies into 2000, when he saw 17 outings and had a 3.95 ERA. That season proved his last in the bigs. 

He then turned to his post-playing career, making general manager of the Angels by 2012. In 2016, he joined the Mariners as GM. In April 2022, Dipoto looked at his team on his radio show and liked what he saw.

"We're very excited by just the complete nature of the team," according to

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,007
Made the Majors:1,333-33.3%-X
Never Made Majors:2,674-66.7%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:547-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:329

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