The Baltimore Orioles upgraded its international scouting department by hiring legendary scout Fred Ferreira over the weekend. Executive V.P. of Baseball Operations for the Orioles, Dan Duquette, worked alongside Ferreira when both were with the Montreal Expos and was happy to announce a new relationship with “The Shark of the Caribbean” as Ferreira is affectionately known in baseball circles. Mr. Ferreira is the co-owner and director of Xtremeline Baseball School Camps, a free agent academy located in Weston. Mr. Ferreira’s official title with the O’s will be Executive Director of International Recruiting, congratulations Mr. Ferreira!
CATCHING UP WITH LEGENDARY SCOUT FRED FERREIRA
For legendary baseball executive and scout, Fred Ferreira, the opportunity to be immortalized for his body of work by the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame would be fitting, but his final baseball chapter remains incomplete. As Vice President and Director of International Operations with the New York Yankees, Montreal Expos, and Florida Marlins, Ferreira’s scouting eye has been responsible for the careers of 57 major leaguers including Bernie Williams, Vlad Guerrero, Jose Vidro, and Roberto Kelly to name a few. Pretty impressive considering the closest competitor scout is at 33 MLB careers.
Originally from the northeast, Ferreira’s baseball background began in Newark, New Jersey where his high school exploits caught the attention of the Boston Red Sox prior to entering the Army near the end of the Korean War. Baseball was put on hold in order to serve his country, but during his stint in the armed services he contracted hepatitis which effected his tour of duty and his ability to resume his baseball dream upon his return to civilian life. After his honorable discharge from the Army, Ferreira began an affiliation with the Cuban All Stars baseball club of Miami where he caught the attention of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his introduction to major league baseball was initiated. Fast forward to 2011 and you will find Ferreira’s resume hall of fame quality considering his work with the St.Louis Cardinals, California Angels, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and the Oakland A’s. His travels include two world championships with the Cincinnati Reds in 1979 and the Florida Marlins in 2003, but more importantly, relationships with some of baseball immortals including Warren Spahn, Billy Martin, Lou Pinella, and the late George Steinbrenner.
It was Steinbrenner, who’s Yankees were playing Ferreira’s baseball school all stars during the baseball strike of 1981, that elevated Ferreira to pin stripes after the Yankees were being embarrassed 12-0 in the third inning of an exhibition game. Steinbrenner called down to his staff and told them “Whoever is responsible for the Ft. Lauderdale team better be a Yankee by 12 o’clock tomorrow.” Thus, a ten year relationship with baseball royalty began. Of course, working for the Yankees had its advantages and hardships as well according to Ferreira. Steinbrenner was notorious for having dinner with many people who seemed to have the next major baseball star in their family, and he loved his role of celebrity that came with the most valued franchise in American sports, so conditions were always ripe for his eccentric moves. “I remember when I was the manager of the Sarasota Yankees in the mid-1980’s and George called me to tell me that he was sending me a player that he wanted me to sign for $5,000.” Ferreira recalled the player was the nephew of an airline stewardess that the Yankee owner met while traveling. Upon introduction, “I asked the prospect what position he played and he told me catcher, so I told him to go down to the bullpen and get the gear on. The next thing I know, my assistant is telling me that the kid doesn’t know how to put the gear on. I headed over to the newest Yankee and asked him that I thought he said he was a catcher and he replied, ‘No, that’s what I want to be!’ Well, you can imagine what a mess I was stuck with” he laughed.
The impact of Fred Ferreira on the baseball landscape isn’t limited to his work as a scout or with his time in Major League Baseball. In fact, while the country was turning to Woodstock in the 1960’s, Ferreira was turning youngsters into players at his Ft. Lauderdale Baseball School. Eventually the school was sold to fellow Yankee alum, Bucky Dent. Later, Ferreira’s Play Ball Academy in Pompano Beach was organized with the same blue print and was responsible for turning Broward baseball into a nationally recognized talent hotbed. In 1974, he became the first baseball coach at Ft. Lauderdale College which is now Lynn University in Boca Raton. His two year window at the school ended as he embarked upon his elevated scouting career with the majors.
Today, you can find Ferreira working the phone and hosting players and scouts at his Weston baseball academy. As part owner of Xtremeline Baseball Academy, the seasoned veteran offers players the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of top major league scouts, as well as offering professional instruction to players of all ages. As a sports agent with Arias & Goodman, Ferreira uses his many general manager contacts and contract negotiating skills to help players realize their dreams of signing a big league contract.
For his commitment to using baseball as a conduit for a better Broward community, the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame would do well to shine its light on Ferreira this November at its annual gala.