Dick Groch didn’t want to come on too strong. The New York Yankees scout wasn’t the only person interested in Derek Jeter’s future, so Groch played it cool. He’d been tracking Jeter for a year, but didn’t want to let on, lest one of the teams drafting ahead of the Yankees snap up the kid from Kalamazoo.
“Derek Jeter’s not going to Michigan,” Groch told his Yankee scouting cohorts. “He’s going to Cooperstown.”
On April 8, 1992, with the spring chill still hovering over the high school baseball season in the Upper Midwest, Groch sat down and hand wrote a scouting report for those who’d be making the draft decision in a couple of months. Now, that artifact from Jeter’s Hall of Fame life is on the auction block, where it could sell for $50,000 or more. Heritage Auctions is offering Groch’s original 8 ½ x 11” report—still in triplicate—in the Yankee Legends Auction— where bidding has already topped $20,000 with the buyer’s premium factored in. The report comes with an LOA from Groch, who now works as a special assistant in the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
In the report, Groch calls Jeter a “blue chip” prospect, with a “long, lean, sinewy body” and “electric movements.”
“He did everything with such ease,” Groch recalled a few years ago to MLB.com. “Everything was so smooth.”
Groch did list some weaknesses in one area of his single-page examination. “Anxious hitter. Needs to learn to be more patient at the plate.” Overall, though, Groch knew Jeter was the greatest prospect he’d ever scouted. Under the heading entitled “Summation and Signability,” he wrote, “A Yankee! A five tool player. Will be a ML Star! +5!!”
Jeter slipped to sixth in the ’92 draft and right into the Yankees lap. Groch helped get his name on a contract and three years later, Jeter was playing shortstop at Yankee Stadium. Before long, he became one of the game’s all-time greats, earning a plaque in Monument Park and soon, one at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“He wanted to be a professional baseball player,” Groch said. “He wanted to perform at the highest level. He wanted to be a Yankee.”