Male scouts have nothing on Fox

By Scott Pitoniak, Democrat and Chronicle, Jul. 27, 2005

She wasn't looking to be a pioneer. She wasn't interested in breaking down any gender barriers.

Dorothy Fox made the proposal simply because she loved the game of baseball and thought she could assess future major-league players just as well as male scouts could.

But when the Charlotte High School graduate approached Baltimore Orioles general manager Harry Dalton with the idea in 1974 she was greeted with heavy skepticism. "He gave me one of those 'women don't know anything about the game' looks," Fox recalls. "I said, 'All I'm asking for is a chance. Let me do some reports on my own and I'll send them to you, and you can judge for yourself.'"

And that's what she did. She attended Red Wings games at old Silver Stadium and in Syracuse at old MacArthur Stadium that summer and wrote up reports on each of the players and sent them to Dalton. She didn't receive any feedback until the following spring.

"Mr. Dalton's letter began, 'I owe you an apology,'" Fox says. "He told me I had done a more thorough job than some of his male scouts and he offered me a position with the Orioles."

Nearly three decades later, the 83-year-old Fox continues to work as a major league scout, evaluating minor-league players for the Chicago White Sox. She has worked for the Orioles, Angels, Brewers, Red Sox and Blue Jays during her career and is believed to be the only female scout currently working in professional baseball. "It's always been a labor of love," the former Kodak marketing employee said from her perch in the box seats behind home plate at Frontier Field. "I've always had a passion for the game. I was going to be at the ballpark anyway, so why not put me to work?"

Fox said she has faced some discrimination along the way. But she also has been aided by forward-thinking men.

Early in her career, Orioles scout Tommy Thomas gave her some of his reports to use as an example. "He was always there if I had a question," Fox said. "He helped show me the ropes."

Now, she's an old pro. When Minnesota Twins farm director Jim Rantz visits Frontier, he'll often seek out Fox.

"He'll ask me, 'Dorothy, what's wrong with our ballclub here?' and I'll joke that I can't give him my assessment because I'm being paid by one of his rivals the White Sox," she says, smiling. "So far this season, we have the bragging rights in the AL Central, but it's a long season and anything can happen."