Scotti Madison Talks About His Baseball Career
April 11, 2007
This interview with Scotti Madison is exclusive to Commodore History Corner and VUCommodores.com.
Former Vanderbilt baseball great Scotti Madison did not have a stellar major league baseball career. What he did have was a great experience in 10 years of professional baseball that most kids growing up only dreamed about. The Pensacola, Fla. athlete had a tough time deciding on where to display his talents in college.
"I told him that I didn't want to play football anymore. When I came to Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt signed an agreement that I could play football and baseball, either one and still be on a scholarship. I decided I wasn't going to play football anymore. I was going to play baseball."
"In the top of the seventh, Coach Schmittou said we're going to stall. After every Bulldog batter that came to the plate, Coach Schmittou sent a new pitcher out to the mound. And this new pitcher wound take his customary eight or nine warm-up pitches. Coach Schmittou told them to throw half of them against the screen so the catcher would have to run back to get the ball. It got so ridiculous Georgia put players behind the screen so when our pitcher threw the ball wild, they could retrieve the ball quicker.
"They got a guy on first base and he stole second and we didn't try to throw him out. We were stalling as much as we possibly could. After about 20 minutes of a torrential downpour, the umpire told the players to get off the field. There was a small tarp there and the Bulldog players ran over to put the tarp on the mound. We were all sitting in the dugout laughing since it was raining so hard. We knew that there was no chance that game would be finished. We ended up winning that game."
The Minnesota Twins selected Madison in baseball's regular phase of the 1980 amateur draft. He was a third-round selection, which included Darryl Strawberry as that year's top choice by the Mets. Madison was also selected in the tenth round the previous year by the Giants, but chose to return to Vanderbilt for his senior year.
The future major leaguer was not thrilled when his agent, Robert Fraley, could only get him $12,000 from Twins tight fisted owner Calvin Griffith. Madison said that he was Fraley's first client as a professional who later became one of the country's top sports agent. Fraley was killed in the 1999 plane crash that also took the life of golfer Payne Stewart.
Madison played his first professional season with Orlando of the Double-A Southern League. He had a memorable trip with another Twins prospect when spring training broke in 1981. They were assigned to Visalia, Ca. of the California League.
"Kent Hrbek and I were teammates," said Madison. "We got in Herbie's pickup truck and drove from Melbourne, Fla. all the way to Visalia, Ca. We stayed at my family's house in Pensacola. I knew a Vanderbilt girl in New Orleans so we stopped there. I knew a girl in Houston and we stopped there. I knew a girl from Vanderbilt in Phoenix so we stopped there also.
"Then I said, we're pretty close to Las Vegas and I've never been there, do you want to go. He said, `Yeah, let's go to Las Vegas.' Here I am in a pickup truck, blue jeans and a tee shirt and we pull in front of Caesars Palace. We showed up two days late and our coach was so mad. He couldn't say a lot because we were the two best players on the team. That year Herbie makes it to the major leagues in Minnesota. It was an exciting time."
Hrbek did get the cherished call up to the big league team and became Rookie-of-the-Year, while Madison tore up California League pitching with a .342 average. In 133 games, Madison collected 26 home runs, 157 hits and 110 RBI's. He was also a member of the All-Star team.
In January 1982, the Twins traded Madison (and Paul Voight) to the Dodgers organization for Bobby Castillo. The Dodgers had just won the 1981 World Series with Tom Lasorda, Bill Russell, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Jerry Reuss and Davy Lopes.
"I got invited to the Dodgers spring training camp two years in a row," Madison said. "After practice and games, Frank Sinatra would be there eating dinner with us at night or Danny Kaye and Cyndi Lauper. It was Hollywood. It was exciting to sit around with celebrities eating dinner with them.
"I was not a Dodger. I did not fit the mold and needed to get out of the Dodgers' organization. I was hoping to get out. So about a week into spring training in my third year, they came up to me and said, `Scotti, you are no longer a Los Angles Dodger. We've sold your contract to the Detroit Tigers.' I thought this was awesome. When do I have to go? They said, `You leave today and good luck.' They wouldn't tell me at first how much I sold for until I pressed them. They said they sold my contract for $10,000 and thought they got a good deal. I was somewhat embarrassed."
While in the Dodgers' organization, Madison played for San Antonio (Texas League, Double-A) and Albuquerque (Pacific Coast League, Triple-A). In his best season as a Dodger farm hand, he clubbed 11 home runs with San Antonio (1983) and a .305 average and 57 RBI's.
While playing for Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson in Detorit, Madsion was hitless in two seasons while appearing in eight games. His teammates were such Tiger greats as Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris. And, of course, historic Tiger Stadium was home to Detroit.
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