Cesar Presbott used to drive a taxi and worked at Macy’s after immigrating to the United States from the Dominican Republic in the 1970s, while working for free as an associate scout for the New York Yankees.
In 1985, Presbott was added to the Yankee payroll by suggestion of Yankees legend Billy Martin. On Friday, July 7, Presbott, a New York-area scout for the Yankees, organized an open tryout for local amateur ballplayers in front of professional and college scouts at Adlai Stevenson High School’s baseball field.
Presbott’s goal was twofold: give kids an easier path to a career in baseball than he had, or more importantly, give them a chance to catch a college scout’s eye and use the sport as a tool to get an education.
Presbott has organized tryouts in the Bronx before, but 2011’s was by far his biggest. About 50 scouts from college and major league organizations showed up, and over 100 amateur baseball players.
Castle Hill native and St. Raymond’s High School alumni Sandro Ferriera was one of the players who turned out.
Ferriera just finished the year playing at Westchester Community College, and had already secured a scholarship to play next year at NAIA University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky.
Position players got to take batting practice in front of scouts, while pitchers threw about 30 pitches. Most of the time, Presbott was roaming the field and hollering pointers.
In such a short period of time, it was hard for any talent evaluators to get a true sense of the players. If anyone catches their eye, they find out when the player’s next actual game is so they can watch them in a competitive setting.
“You just look for flashes, good mechanics, body language,” said Bill Maddock, an assistant at Fisher College in Boston. “I’ve seen a lot of guys here today I’ll definitely follow up with.”
Similar showcases across the country can cost up to $600 per participant, but Presbott’s was free.