The Tigers went three years without a first-round selection, having surrendered them as free-agent compensation. Because of that, their participation in Major League Baseball's new tradition of honoring former legends as draft reps has been pretty much invisible.
This year, they not only kept their first-round pick, but added a sandwich pick at the end of the first round that they acquired from the Marlins in last season's trade for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante.
They'll get to honor Cook, who served as general manager of the Yankees, Expos and Reds during the 1980s. Though his highest-profile job was the GM post under George Steinbrenner in New York, he made his name for taking chances to accumulate talent that paid off in three seasons in Montreal.
Some of that came from trading established stars. When the Expos traded Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, Cook swung the deal for a package that included Hubie Brooks, who became an All-Star shortstop in Montreal. Cook pounced when the Orioles decided to trade Dennis Martinez, who went on to three All-Star selections, an ERA title and a perfect game as an Expo. Another risky signing, Pascual Perez, posted a 7-0 record in 1987 and threw a rain-shortened no-hitter in 1988.
Cook also made a key pickup for the front office when he hired Dave Dombrowski, who had just been let go by then-White Sox general manager Ken Harrelson, to become the Expos' director of Minor League clubs in December 1986. A year and a half later, Dombrowski became the Expos' general manager, and he now serves as Tigers president, CEO and general manager.
Though Cook became known in Cincinnati as the Reds' general manager during the Pete Rose scandal, he put together several of the pieces that helped lead them to the World Series in 1990. Cook traded for a talented young arm in Jose Rijo soon after his hire, sent Kal Daniels to the Dodgers for Mariano Duncan, and acquired Todd Benzinger in the Nick Esasky trade.
Cook has had a second career as a scout over the past two decades, including stints working for Dombrowski with the Marlins until 2002 and with the Tigers since 2007. He currently scouts central Florida and the Northeast for the Tigers' draft efforts.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.