Lajoie chosen for Scouts Hall of Fame

Longtime Tigers scout-turned-manager to be inducted June 9

By Charleston RiverDogs | April 17, 2012 4:48 PM ET

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Bill Lajoie, a longtime Detroit Tigers scout who later served as general manager when the Tigers captured the 1984 World Series, will be enshrined in the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame on Friday, June 9, prior to the Charleston RiverDogs game against the Savannah Sand Gnats at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.

This will be the fifth year of honoring pro scouts, with the selections announced by The Goldklang Group, owners of the Charleston RiverDogs.

"The honor of inducting scouts that have given their lives to this profession and the game of baseball remains a tremendous privilege," said Tyler Tumminia, senior vice president of The Goldklang Group. "Over the past five years, the SHOF has transformed from an idea into an initiative that is widely lauded within the industry. We are proud to continue this tradition of celebrating the careers of these deserving and distinguished scouts."

Criteria for induction includes a minimum of 20 years of pro scouting experience, with selection based on a combination of quantifiable success in the field, contributions made to the game in other areas of the sport whether professional or amateur, and importantly, their involvement and dedication to the local community that is honoring them through induction.

Lajoie, who will be enshrined posthumously but will be represented by his widow, Mary, was a player, manager, scout and front-office executive. The general manager of the Tigers from 1984-'90, Lajoie was at the helm when Detroit captured the 1984 World Series over the San Diego Padres. That championship team featured manager Sparky Anderson, pitchers Jack Morris and Willie Hernandez, and stars Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker and Kirk Gibson.

"We're just delighted to have received the news, and this is simply wonderful," said Mary Lajoie. "Bill was a good 'baseball man,' who did a lot of good for the game. He never looked for personal recognition, but he would certainly be pleased with this honor.

"He probably would say a simple 'thank you' and thank all the people that helped shape him," she added. "But deep in his heart, I know that although he would be pleased and proud, yet at the same time he'd probably be embarrassed and uncomfortable."

Born in Wyandotte, Mich., Lajoie attended Western Michigan University and earned a bachelor of science degree in 1956. An All-American athlete at WMU, he was signed by the Baltimore Orioles following graduation. After a nine-year playing career as a Minor League outfielder in the Orioles, Dodgers, Reds and Twins farm systems, Lajoie became a scout and Minor League manager with Cincinnati.

He then joined the Tigers organization in 1974 as a member of the scouting department. By 1979, he was named the assistant general manager to Jim Campbell. During his time as the general manager, Lajoie is credited with several transactions that helped the Tigers to the 1984 championship and a 1987 division title. Notable transactions include signing aging veteran Darrell Evans in 1984; Gibson leaving as a free agent and trading John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander in 1987. While ridiculed by Detroit fans now, the Smoltz trade helped the Tigers make the playoffs in 1987, as Alexander posted nine wins and no losses in 11 starts with a 1.53 ERA.

At the time of his death on Dec. 28, 2010, at age 76, Lajoie was special assistant to the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also served as a special assistant or consultant to the Atlanta Braves (1995-'98), Milwaukee Brewers (2001-'02), Boston Red Sox (2003-'06) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2006-'09).

In 1988, Lajoie was honored with a distinguished alumni award from the Western Michigan University Alumni Association, and in 2004, he received the East Coast Scout of the Year Award.

All members of Charleston's entry into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame are represented with a plaque that is on permanent display at Riley Park.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More