Baseball scouts are used to being overlooked by the public.
Scouts — and scouting directors — know their successes. And their bosses know. But most baseball fans couldn’t tell you who was responsible for drafting J.D. Drew, Shane Victorino, Paul Maholm, Jack Wilson or Javier Vazquez and others and helping get them to the major leagues.
So Ed Creech was surprised — and pleased — when, while riding in the World Series parade last fall in a vehicle that identified its occupants as members of the San Francisco Giants scouting staff, he heard the fans calling out “We love you guys!”
“Having people say that means a lot,” says Creech, the Giants senior advisor for scouting.
Riding in a World Series parade for the second time in three years was rewarding as well for the longtime Moultrie resident and member of the Colquitt County Sports Hall of Fame.
After being let go by the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of a front office purge in 2007 after serving as their director of scouting for six years, Creech landed on his feet with the Giants.
And he joined the organization in time to be part of its 2010 and 2012 World Series championship teams.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” he says. “I’ve been blessed.”
Creech has been in major league baseball for some 35 years, beginning when he was selected as the Montreal Expos second-round selection in the 1973 draft.
Following his six-year playing career, he became a coach and manager for six years in the Expos chain and after serving as an area scout from 1985-1991, he was promoted to the Expos scouting supervisor from 1991-1993.
Creech also has worked for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers during his career.
He has lived in Moultrie during most of his career and during a hiatus in the 1980s, he coached baseball and basketball at Pineland School.
He posted a record of 103-13 and won four state championships while coaching the Eagles baseball teams.
He saw his first shot at a professional championship vaporize when the 1994 major league baseball season was canceled on Aug. 12, while the Expos were in first place in the National League East, six games ahead of the Atlanta Braves.
The Expos were 74-40 at the time, the best record in baseball.
So the Giants successes over the last three seasons have been especially gratifying.
Over the past 90 years, only three other National League franchises have won two World Series championships in three years: the 1975-1976 Cincinnati Reds, the 1963-1965 Dodgers and the 1942-1944 Cardinals.
And October’s sweep of the Detroit Tigers is rare in itself. Only four other National League teams have done it: the 1954 Giants, 1963 Dodgers, the 1976 Reds and the 1990 Reds.
The 2012 Giants were a team for the ages, trailing the Cardinals 3-1 in the NLCS and never losing again. They became the first National League team ever to sweep a World Series after fighting off at least three straight LCS elimination games.
Even Creech confesses there were times during the regular season and during the postseason that he thought the team had run out of chances.
“It just shows you how resilient this team is,” he said.
“Our first big blow was when we lost Melky (Cabrera). He was Mr. Baseball for us.”
Cabrera, the All Star game MVP, was suspended for 50 games on Aug. 15. He was leading the league in hits with 159 and was second in batting average at the time.
But the Giants never missed a beat.
“The other players just picked up the slack,” Creech said. “That’s a tribute to (manager) Bruce Bochy.”
The Giants had outstanding pitching from Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito, who picked up the slack from Tim Lincecum, who had an off-year, going 10-15 with 5.18 ERA.
And, of course, the Giants had Lee County’s Buster Posey.
All Posey did was win the battling championship with a .336 average and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player. It was even more impressive considering Posey missed most of the 2011 season after being injured in a home plate collision on May 25.
“And how he handled the pitching staff,” Creech said. “It’s truly amazing what he did.”
Creech credits the decision of the Florida State University coaching staff to moved Posey from shortstop to catcher to helping turn the young player into one of baseball’s top young talents.
“And he could still play third base or first base in the big leagues,” Creech said.
Posey is just one example of the number of home-grown players the Giants used in 2012.
The Giants rely on players in their system or players they acquired in trades. They use few free agents.
“And that’s a credit to our general manager Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy.”
Creech is already working on scouting players for future Giants teams and is off to the Dominican Republic to look at talent there.
He is especially busy in the late winter and early spring and knows he is unlikely to be able to watch son Matt Creech play many games in his freshman season for UNC-Charlotte.
The Region 1-AAAAAA Player of the Year for the Packers last season is expected to get some playing time for the 49ers this spring.
“He’s really gotten bigger and stronger,” Ed Creech says of his son, who, like his father did, plays shortstop. “He was 158 pounds when he graduated last year and now he’s up to 180.
“And he’s faster. They really do a good job of getting them stronger and faster.”
As a Packers fan and as a scout, Ed Creech has kept an eye on Colquitt County’s Aubrey McCarty.
And he likes what he sees of the ambidextrous pitcher, who will be a senior on the Packers baseball team this season.
“He is one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever been around,” he said of McCarty, who has signed to play at Vanderbilt next year.
“He’s a loose kid and I like his arm action.”
And asked about whether throwing with both arms will continue to be an option at the college or professional level, Creech said, “If it works, it works.
Creech is looking forward to receiving his second World Series ring and said it likely will come at a dinner hosted by the Giants for their scouting and player development staff.
Two years ago, that dinner was held in Dallas and was a special event for those who attended.
Now, just two years later, another ring is on order.
And Creech would like nothing better than to added to the collection.
“Hey, I’ve got eight more fingers,” he said, laughing.
“And I like toe rings, too.”
Oh, and by the way, the scout responsible for drafting J.D. Drew, Shane Victorino, Paul Maholm, Jack Wilson, Javier Vazquez and more than 40 other future major leaguers is, of course, Ed Creech.
Baseball scouts are used to being overlooked by the public.
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