Cy Williams

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Professional Baseball Scout

In professional baseball, the stars of tomorrow are often found not only in the bright lights of the big cities but on backwater sandlots across the land. Finding that talent and bringing it home to the major leagues is the job, and the passion, of professional scouts. The job requires not only a keen eye for ability but also an innate sense of whether a prospect will have (or develop) the emotional and mental maturity to reach, and stay, at the major league level. For over 42 years, Cy Williams was among the best at discovering “diamonds in the rough” in the high-stakes, competitive world of scouting.

A native of South Buffalo, Cy turned down a pro contract with the Detroit Tigers in 1945 which would have landed him away from home, in Toledo, Ohio. As an alternative, he accepted a position as a scout with the Tigers, an occupation which, ironically, kept him on the road away from his growing family for over eight months a year. The early years were particularly trying, featuring endless hours scouring isolated portions of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, scouting high school and pick-up games in search of major league talent.

Cy’s perseverance paid off, as he eventually developed the contacts which blossomed into a distinguished career in scouting. In 1955, he was named supervisor of scouts in the Eastern United States and Canada for the Tigers. He spent 29 seasons with the Tigers, earning World Series rings in 1945 and in 1968. Cy was responsible for signing several key components of the Tiger’s 1968 Championship team, including Dick McAucliffe, John Hiller and Lancaster’s Pat Dobson, a fellow member of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. In addition, Williams later signed stars Mel Hall and Dave LaPointe during the 13-year stint with the Major League Scouting Bureau, which rounded out his career. This “baseball scout non-pareil and class-act extraordinaire” (Bob Curran’s tribute) retired in 1987, having signed 43 players who eventually played in the major leagues.

Cy has been honored by many awards acknowledging his contributions to baseball and to the community. A Buffalonian of the Year in 1994, he is a member of the Western New York Baseball Hall of Fame (1996) and the Middle Atlantic Major League Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame (1994). Even in retirement, the flame still burns; until September 1999, Cy had attended every Bisons game at the downtown ballpark since 1988. The Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame is honored to salute the life and career of a true Buffalo Baseball legend, Cy Williams.