John Barr doesn’t hesitate when asked his proudest moments in baseball – and rightfully so.
“Being a part of four World Series championship organization, especially the last three with the Giants, and the number of home-grown players on those teams,” he said. “Having an entire home-grown infield was special.”
It’s real special in light of the fact that the focus of what has been a 36-year career in professional base for Barr has been scouting, from his initial days with the Mets, where he was an administrative assistant in baseball oepraitons (1984-87), after which he had held several jobs, ranging from a scouting supervisor to an assistant general manager with a focus on scouting.
He has spent the last 12 years in the front office of the Giants, where his current title is senior advisor to the president of Baseball Operations, and his heart remains in the world of scouting. And his efforts in that area were underscored by those world championship teams in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
The 2014 team featured five products of the Giants scouting/player development department – the entire starting infield of first baseman Brandon Belt, second baseman Joe Panik, shortstop Brandon Crawford, and third baseman Pablo Sandoval, as well as catcher Buster Posey.
Barr’s mark on the game is underscored by his selection by peers this year as the East Coast Scout of the Year.
A first baseman who was a key to Audubon (N.J.) High School’s first state title in 1975, who went on to become a four-year letterman at Rider University, Barr majored in accounting and earned a Bachelor of Science in Commerce, but it was baseball that was always his priority, and baseball in which he chose to pursue a livelihood, getting his first opportunity at the processional level in 1984, at the age of 27, as am an administrative assistant to baseball operations with the New York Mets.
Four years later, he was given his first chance to actually being in the field, joining the Minnesota Twins as an East Coast Supervisor, and a year later beginning a three-year term as the scouting director of the Baltimore Orioles, where his draft choices included Ben McDonald and Mike Mussina.
After serving as an assistant general manager of the Padres (1988-90) he returned to the Mets in 1994 for a four-year term as the director of scouting. He returned to the field in 1998, embarking on what became a 10-year term as the Dodgers East Coast Scouting Supervisors, finally joining the Giants in 2008 as a Vice President and Assistant General Manager.
For all the players he has been a part of helping get to the big leagues, Barr’s true moment of pride remains, “the number of people I was able to give a start in scouting and the success they have had.”
It’s been quite the ride, Barr admits.
And there is one ride he distinctly remembers, in the aftermath of the Mets winning the 1986 World Series against the Red Sox.
“In the parade, I was in a car near the back and people were yelling, `Who the hell are you?” Barr recalls. “They were throwing toilet paper at us, and they were not unrolling them.”
Over the years, people in baseball have certainly known who Barr is.
He has earned the respect and admiration of his peers for the job he has done in the world of scouting, which has earned him recognition early this year by the Legends in Scouting, and led to his recognition over the years by the Mid Atlantic Scouts Hall of Fame, Professional Scouting Hall of Fame, and New York Pro Scouts Hall of Fame.