From the sandlots of Riverside Park to the bright lights of Turner Field as a member of the Atlanta Braves, Preston High School alumni Scott Thorman made it to the pinnacle of the sport as a player.
Now, Thorman’s attempting to re-climb the ladder all over again, this time as a manager in the Kansas City Royals organization.
It’s a journey that has seen stops in Burlington, NC, Lexington, KY, Wilmington, DE, Springdale AR and now Omaha, NE.
Most recently, he interviewed for the vacant Royals major league managerial position after the organization parted ways with Mike Matheny.
While the Royals eventually opted to hire former Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, it may not be long before the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame inductee is calling the shots in a big league dugout.
In 2014 he jumped into the coaching ranks as bench coach for the Royals Rookie level affiliate in Burlington and was promoted to the manager's seat for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
“I missed the game and had a passion for professional ball,” Thorman said.
“I was presented an opportunity to get back in the game and I decided to take it.”
Anyone who is wondering if Thorman deserves an opportunity to join a big league staff or lead a big league team must look no further than his minor league track record.
He led Single-A Lexington to the South Atlantic League championship in 2018. He then managed Class-A Advanced Wilmington to a Mills Cup Championship in 2019, before bringing the Double-A Central title to Northwest Arkansas in 2021.
A former player himself, Thorman points to his ability to communicate as a strength in the dugout.
“I think being able to relate to players is important, understanding what they’re going through,” he said.
“We (the Royals organization) pride ourselves on good pitching, timely hitting, aggressive base running and good defence. We spend a lot time and focus on that. Professional baseball games are won on thin margins.”
Add in the fact he was trusted to join the Royals coaching staff last July for their series at Rogers Centre against the Toronto Blue Jays when the team ran into COVID issues, and Thorman continues to build his resume.
“I wish the Royals would have won,” Thorman said with a laugh about the team’s 3-1 series loss to the Blue Jays.
“It was cool for my family and my kids to see me. They’ve made lots of sacrifices along the way.”
His brief stop in Toronto has only aided him in his ability to help the younger plays in the system develop. For now, Thorman will continue to mould the stars of tomorrow in the minor leagues, something he’s taken a great amount of pride in over the years.
“We put the players first and remember that’s why we have jobs, to help them get to the big leagues,” he said.
“I think at my last count I had the opportunity to be involved with 24 players being called up. Every one of them is special. We try to take the time to make sure every player gets the proper experience when they get the call. Sometimes it's mid-game, sometimes it happens when your travelling but it’s a milestone in their career and their life.”
No matter where he lands down the road, Thorman will always remember his days rounding the bases at the local baseball diamonds in Cambridge.
“I have a lot of fond memories of playing at Riverside Park, Waterworks Park and Dickson Park,” he said.
“Playing for coaches John Corbett and Rob Hedges helped me build a strong baseball foundation.”