Tim McIntosh was Derek Jeter’s teammate and Mariano Rivera’s roommate, so he had a deep understanding of what greatness looked like, and as a Yankees scout, he first saw Aaron Judge play high school ball.
And that’s how McIntosh came up with the Mountaineer slugger from tiny Linden, California.
“There was nothing there,” McIntosh told the Post.
Nothing appealing to a big league club.
Some of the other scouts felt the same way. As one of the Giants told McIntosh, the umpire said, “It was a guy who was kicking the ball back.” [batting practice] Screen, I will not lose. Nothing comes off the bat.”
A Red Sox scout on a plane to see his son play for the Linden High Lions turned to McIntosh during the game and said, “Are you kidding me? They fly my ass here, and [Judge] He can’t even play dead.”
These criticisms only confirmed what Mackintosh had seen with his own eyes. A third-round pick of the Twins in 1986, he already had a significant baseball career as a former batting champion in the Cape Cod League (.392) and as a shortstop/outfielder/first baseman who played for three major league teams. The team that launched the Jeter/River dynasty over five seasons, including a brief stint with the 1996 Yankees.
“And George [Steinbrenner] He took me out of the World Series ring,” McIntosh said. Four years later, Steinbrenner’s family business took him on as a Yankees scout.
By the time he saw Judge as a teenager, McIntosh had left baseball and owned a vineyard before returning first to the Yanks as a minor league coach and then as an amateur scout in Northern California. He knew his way around the local cherry orchards before hearing about Judge through a family connection — Mackintosh’s then-wife was a TV personality who grew up in Linden. A cousin coached Judge in basketball and reported that he was a good kid but a bit “soft” about the worst adjective to apply to an athlete.
McIntosh lived 10 minutes from Linden, so Judge’s poor equipment did not prevent him from attending five or six games. The scout admitted he was only covering his ass because of Judge’s size — the prospect was on his way to becoming a fully formed 6-foot-7, 282-pound Yankee. McIntosh had national cross country supervisor Kendall Carter look at the referee as a favor.
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Carter didn’t like what he saw either, but told the scout, “Write it down. It’s raw, but it’s so big, anything can happen. I’ve seen crazier things happen.”
So McIntosh wrote the Yankees’ first report on Aaron James Judge. The scout doesn’t remember exactly what he said, but he believes Judge needs to get stronger in college. McIntosh Judge says he’s quick for his size, but he’s not impressed with his arm. “When he spat, there was nothing coming out of it,” the scout said.
So McIntosh’s final role in the Judge Draft (32nd overall pick in 2013) hardly compares to Dick Groch’s role in drafting Jeter (sixth-overall pick in 1992). Grock was famously in love with the gangly Michigan sophomore and predicted he would become a Hall of Famer. But still, if McIntosh “tricks Kendall Carter into going to see a judge” (his word), and doesn’t file that report, who knows what will happen?
“These were the first data points,” McIntosh said. “I put it in the system just in case something crazy happens. And then something crazy happened.
He was rejected by the Oakland A’s, who drafted him in the 31st round in 2010, and blossomed into Division 1 at Fresno State. During Judge’s sophomore season, Fresno State coach Mike Batesol told McIntosh that he had never had a player carry the team on his shoulders like the former Linden Lion.
Confused, the scout saw the umpire hit a potentially fatal line drive down the middle. “Oh my God,” McIntosh said to himself. “Where did that come from?” He was taking a pro scouting job with the Angels before the Yankees drafted Judge in the first round.
“Even in the minor leagues, you hear that the umpire is taking a lot of pitches, not being aggressive,” McIntosh said. “Everyone misses him. But he just kept getting better and better. I saw it with Jeter and Mariano [in ’96] – Not everyone can play under the New York lights. But Aaron was born with the gift to keep that calm. I’ve been in that clubhouse, and it’s magical. You want those cleats on you, and Aaron rose to the occasion.
When he was a judge He’s busy matching Babe Ruth’s iconic 60-homer season On Tuesday night, and trying to match and surpass Roger Maris’ 61-homer season on Wednesday night, the first Yankees scout was busy selling houses near his hometown of Minneapolis. The pandemic and his sports focus on analytics conspired to send him to his beloved real estate career.
Tim McIntosh still misses the game and the pinstripes. Meanwhile, he is very proud of Aaron Judge, and is very happy that he died because of his mistake.