The Orioles will observe a moment of silence before today’s game to honor longtime major league scout Bruce Kison, who passed away early this morning.
Kison was diagnosed with bone cancer shortly after retiring over the winter. He was 68.
Manager Buck Showalter spoke earlier today about how much Kison looked forward to the next phase of his life and the opportunity to go fishing, one of his passions that had been neglected during his nearly 50 years in baseball.
Kison joined the organization in 1999 as pitching coach under manager Ray Miller before Sammy Ellis replaced him the following season as part of Mike Hargrove’s staff. Kison was reassigned in the organization and made his mark in the scouting department.
Longtime fans of the Orioles will remember Kison pitching for the Pirates in the 1971 and 1979 World Series. The Orioles lost in seven games in both Series
Kison was the winning pitcher in the first night game in Series history in 1971, shutting out the Orioles on one hit over 6 1/3 relief innings as a 21-year-old rookie in Game 4 at Three Rivers Stadium. He also started Game 1 in 1979 at Memorial Stadium and allowed four earned runs and five total in one-third of an inning.
In a major league career that spanned 15 seasons, Kison also pitched for the Angels from 1980-84 and the Red Sox in 1985. He went 115-88 with a 3.66 ERA and was known for his tenacity on the mound.
Five months ago, Kison was honored as a “Legend in Scouting” by the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation. His career spanned nearly 50 years.
“Bruce was pure business,” Showalter said. “It’s really sad. He retired basically at the end of the Winter Meetings. He was so excited. He was a big fisherman. I’d call him sometimes in the off-season. I’d say, ‘Where have you been?’ I didn’t hear from him. He’d say, ‘I’ve been out two miles off the coast.’ He loved to fish and he was looking forward to it.”
Kison visited Orioles camp a few times this spring, but back pain had led to an examination that revealed his cancer.
“He was a really good scout, too,” Showalter said. “His reports were always to the point, painted a picture. And he was very good at pointing out the intangibles that separated good players. He’d give you statistically what you could expect, but he would tell you a lot of the other things. He had a lot of contacts in the game. He didn’t make many mistakes. I’m going to miss him. Tough.”
Orioles managing partner Peter G. Angelos issued the following statement:
“Our entire Orioles family is deeply saddened to learn of Bruce Kison’s passing. For nearly two decades, Bruce played an integral role in all aspects of our organization as a pitching coach, a scout, and a trusted advisor. Bruce will be remembered for his tremendous work ethic, professionalism, and personality, as well as his dedication to the Orioles. Our thoughts are with Bruce’s wife, Anna Marie, as well as his family, loved ones, and many friends and colleagues throughout our game.”
A statement also was issued on behalf of executive vice president Dan Duquette:
“Bruce was an integral part of the Orioles for many years, working exceptionally hard on behalf of the organization. We will fondly remember Bruce for his mental toughness as a competitor on the field; his scouting insight and integrity, especially for pitchers; his folksy and dry sense of humor; and his personal humility. We send our sincerest condolences to his wife, Anna Marie, as well as his family and loved ones.”
The Orioles mourn the loss of longtime O’s scout & former pitching coach, Bruce Kison, & send our condolences to his wife, Anna Marie, & the entire Kison family, as well as his many friends & colleagues throughout our game. We will honor him with a pregame moment of silence. pic.twitter.com/ecN9gCJXZB-- Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) June 2, 2018