Rangers scout Schroeder honored at Meetings

'It's overwhelming,' he says of West Scout of the Year award

Rangers scout Schroeder honored at Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Rangers drafted infielder Steve Buechele in 1982, pitcher Darren Oliver in '88 and pitcher Derek Holland in 2006.

Rangers amateur scout Rick Schroeder identified and signed them all. The Rangers would have also had Ken Caminiti out of San Jose State if they had listened to Schroeder instead of taking USC pitcher Sid Akins in the third round in 1984.

"Caminiti was my guy," Schroeder said. "The night before I told him we were going to take him and then they took Akins instead."

Schroeder has been searching for talent for 35 years and he was honored as the West Scout of the Year at the Winter Meetings on Wednesday night.

"Well it's probably the last award I'll receive in this business," Schroeder said before being introduced by Rangers general manager Jon Daniels at the award dinner. "It's overwhelming. It was certainly not expected. There are so many guys on this who could be here instead of me."

Schroeder has worked with the Rangers in three tours of duty. He was hired by general manager Joe Klein and legendary scout Paddy Cottrell, who landed outfielder Jeff Burroughs and pitcher Dave Righetti for the Rangers.

Schroeder started in 1982 and worked through '91 under Sandy Johnson before moving on to the Astros.

"They gave me the time to learn the business for 10 years," Schroeder said. "That's how it needs to be done if you are going to stay in this business and I was given the time to learn. Sandy Johnson was great to work for."

A memorable night for Schroeder came on June 28, 2003, when the Astros beat the Rangers, 2-0, behind six scoreless innings from starter Jeriome Robertson. Rangers starter Tony Mounce allowed two runs in six innings.

Schroeder was the amateur scout who originally drafted and signed both of those players.

"[Rangers assistant GM] Dan O'Brien gave me the lineup card," Schroeder said.

Schroeder was back with the Rangers from 2002-06 and found Holland pitching for Wallace (Ala.) State College in the Junior College World Series. The Rangers took Holland in the 25th round and signed him the following year as one of the last "draft and follow" players before the rules were changed.

Schroeder went to the Royals in '07 and signed Danny Duffy out of the third round of that Draft. Holland and Duffy never faced each other in a game but they both ended up pitching in the World Series.

"Rick has been a loyal employee who exemplifies what we are about," Rangers scouting director Kip Fagg said. "Hard work, dedication and an excellent eye for talent. I have tons of stories about this guy, he loves to stay under the radar and get players that others have overlooked."

Schroeder, a native of Madison, Wis., is now in his third tour with the Rangers in a career that began as an NAIA All-American at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He spent two years in the Giants' system and then went into coaching. He was a graduate assistant at the University of Arizona when they won the College World Series in 1976. He still wears the ring.

"The only one," Schroeder said.

He left Arizona to be an assistant coach at DeAnza (Ca.) College under former Major League infielder Eddie Bressoud before the Rangers hired him. He is a special assignment scout. When Gary McGraw had to take time off for personal reasons a few years ago, Schroeder worked his territory in the Pacific Northwest.

"I love it," Schroeder said. "I go where they send me. Basically I'm fishing in the river for carp."

The fishing has been good for 35 years and he was recognized for that on Wednesday night.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.