SPOTLIGHT: A jewel who looks for diamonds in the rough

THE REV. SCOUT: Dave McQueen has a keen eye for baseball talent, and a big love for sharing his faith and motivating young people.

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

Go to a high school baseball game and there’s a good chance you will see Dave McQueen. He’s not hard to spot; he will be the guy with the Panama Jack hat, a Colorado Rockies shirt and a notepad.

And if you can’t find him, just wait. He will probably find you.

For a guy who is not a player and not a coach, Dave McQueen is perhaps the biggest institution in local high school baseball in the last 20-plus years.

He’s also the biggest cheerleader.

Technically, he is a scout for the Rockies, but if you think that’s all he does, you’d better get comfortable.

He is also a minister and a motivational speaker and he found that baseball, quite by accident, is the best way to put all of those passions together.

“My message is a message of hope,” McQueen says. “These kids need to understand that dreams do come true. We talk about being a good teammate and play with enthusiasm and having a good attitude. Just the things that it takes to go along with being a player who has the skills.”

Between games of a Saturday doubleheader? There’s McQueen speaking in the dugout to a team that’s not even from North Louisiana.

It’s what he does.

It’s who he is.

“It’s motivation,” McQueen says. “I’ve spoken to sales groups as a motivational speaker. I can get them fired up, but I can’t play for them. You just have to get them to understand what recruiters and scouts are looking for and to love the game.”

The 77-year-old McQueen is a Bossier High graduate, Class of 1963. “I wanted to be a preacher, but it just didn’t work out,” he says. “I didn’t have the grades and we really didn’t have the money for me to go to school.”

The road started as a PA announcer at Airline High baseball games and he began doing PA at other venues as well. In 1994, he was doing a tournament at Fair Grounds Field when a Florida Marlins scout put him to work as an associate scout, commonly known as a “bird dog” in the baseball business. “Since you are going to all these games anyway, let me know if you see anybody we should look at,” the scout told McQueen.

But an ownership change with the Marlins put McQueen out of work a few years later, until the Rockies came calling. “Whoever came through first (with an offer) is who I was going to sign with,” he says. “Colorado came first.”

He is now in his 20th year – this will be his last – with the Rockies and he has also rekindled his passion for the ministry. McQueen has more than 2,000 followers on social media and his story has been published in the book titled “SAY THE PRAYER, WAIT FOR THE PLAN: A Tribute to the Life and Ministry of Dave McQueen, Professional Baseball Scout” by Tammy Jones.

“I love the game; I love life,” McQueen says. “I just enjoy being out here with the kids and the fans and spreading the Lord’s word. I want these young men to know I support them and I will help them in any way that I can.”

If there’s a game to be played, McQueen will pack up his notebook and radar gun and be ready for the first pitch because it’s baseball and you never know what (or who) you might see.

“I look for a guy who loves the game,” he says. “Everybody will tell you that they do, but you can stand here and just tell when they take the field how much they love the game. The guy who is first on the field and first off and you look at him a little longer than the others. Then you look to see if he’s got the tools. When you see a guy like that, you follow him and see if he can develop.”

Watching and following is McQueen’s calling card. A few years ago, he went to watch a pitcher named Jim Miller, a junior college transfer to Louisiana-Monroe. Miller was very good in the first inning but couldn’t get out of the second. Instead of scratching Miller from his list, McQueen thought the right-hander might make a good closer.

He didn’t see ULM the rest of the year, but did go to the conference tournament where the Warhawks were playing in the loser’s bracket. McQueen stayed to watch, just to see if Miller might come in and pitch again. Sure enough, he came into a game and dominated as a closer.

The Rockies drafted Miller in the ninth round of the 2004 draft. (He made it to the major leagues in 2008 and had a five-year career.)

In the winter meetings after the 2004 draft, the general manager of the Rockies had McQueen stand up before the assembled group and spoke of how McQueen had doggedly stayed after a potential prospect.

He gets a little choked up telling the story.

“That,” McQueen says, “was my proudest moment.”

Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL


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