CLEVELAND -- Mike Russell has scouted for four World Series teams, signed seven Major League players and provided the background work that led to franchise-changing trades such as the Miguel Cabrera deal to Detroit. In a profession that doesn't get a lot of honors, Russell is near the top.
On Thursday, Russell received some long-overdue recognition for his work. The Tigers' scout became the ninth inductee into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame during ceremonies in Fort Myers, Fla.
Russell was one of the first scouts Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski brought over from his former staff in Florida when he changed jobs in 2002. Since then, he has become a trusted voice on the Tigers' scouting staff, providing input not only on National League East teams and their players but also scouting the Tigers' own prospects and evaluating their readiness for the big leagues.
"Mike Russell is well deserving of this honor and it's a tribute to his hard work, dedication and outstanding contributions to the game," Dombrowski said in a statement. "The Tigers organization salutes his induction."
It's the latest step in a career that has spanned a quarter-century. Russell made the jump from a Division II championship coaching staff at Troy State University to the scouting world as an area supervisor with the Giants in 1987. Except for a one-year stint recruiting at Tennessee, Russell has been scouting ever since.
Russell's ties with Dombrowski began with the Marlins as a special assignment scout in 1996, the year before they became the quickest expansion team ever to win a World Series. He progressed from there to the scouting staff to the inner circle of Dombrowski's advisors.