Diamond's Debut Still Shine's in Guelph Baseball History

by Neil Srivastava

My cell phone rang late one Monday night eleven years ago.  It was Greg Layson from the Guelph Mercury Sports department.  I figured I messed something up with a stat or he was looking for a player's email or cell number to do a story on them.

He was in a scramble looking for Scott Diamond's stat line from his brief stint with the Royals in 2005 and who he pitched against in the Junior Elimination Tourney.  The panic was that Scott got called up by the Twins and was going to throw the next day in game two of the doubleheader.

Those words hit me.   Scott made it.  Holy Crap! (pretty sure I used more colorful words but I can't publish them)  

He was the first kid from Guelph in 140 years to finally get the call to the show.  The last one was Bob Emslie who pitched for Baltimore in 1883. Emsile of course would gain more fame as an umpire a few later in the majors and a rather infamous "Bonehead "incident but that's a tale for another day.

Minnesota Twins long time broadcaster Dick Bremer said Scott hailed from "Gulf or Gwelp" and his hall of fame partner Bert Blyleven didn't even attempt to take a stab at it, telling viewers "it's close to Toronto and that was all we needed to know."

But to Guelph natives, and Royals fans it meant that one of us defied the odds and finally made it to the show. For so many kids playing for Guelph Minor Baseball and in school yards in the Royal City it was proof that if you loved baseball, and were passionate about chasing the dream you, could someday make it too.

Diamond,  like so many others,  was coached by John Benvie, and Brian Pogue (father of Cardinals bullpen catcher and coach Jamie Pogue) while in the minor ball program before joining the traveling Team Ontario elite team followed by three years at Binghamton University where he was named the America East Conference Rookie of the Year in 2005.  

Diamond pitched briefly for the Royals in that same summer posting a win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in which I seem to recall him posting 10 strikeouts.

It was in that start where it became apparent to local ball fans (myself included)  that Scott had evolved from a soft throwing lefty that barely broke 80 mph on a good day while in the GMBA ranks and into a smart pitcher who reminded a couple of Braves scouts of a young Greg Maddux so they lobbied their scouting directors to sign him as an undrafted free agent in 2007 just weeks before he was set to return to Binghamton for his fourth year. 

Diamond was very dominant in his first year in the Braves system going 15-3 with a 2.89 ERA, ringing up 123 strikeouts, and 39 walks. That season warranted a promotion to Double-A in 2009 and by 2010 he was up to Triple-A in the Braves organization.   Following the 2010 season, Diamond was taken by the Twins in the Rule 5 Draft.

Diamond pitched 123 innings in Triple-A in 2011.  The unlikely call to the big leagues came to pitch game two of the doubleheader came as  Scott Baker who was scheduled to pitch the 2nd game but wound up on the disabled list so the call
came down to Diamond.

On July 18, 2011, he took the mound against the Cleveland Indians. Diamond threw 6.1 innings while allowing 3 earned runs and picking up one strikeout.   The Crowd gave him a loud ovation as he exited the game and a few thousand miles away in the Royal City baseball fans  (again myself included) marveled to see one of our own put our town on the pro sports map for something other than hockey.  

He closed out the season with the Twins throwing a total of 39 innings over seven games.

The following two seasons were spent almost entirely in the majors as Diamond threw 173 innings for the Twins in 2012 leading to a 3.54 ERA, his best season in the MLB. In 2013 he tossed another 131 innings for the Twins but he was eventually released and quickly picked up by the Cincinnati Reds just five days later.

Diamond found his way back to Canada and to the Toronto Blue Jays where he would throw his final big league inning, a one-inning appearance against the Phillies in June 2016.

He closed out his pro career overseas after signing a one-year deal with SK Wyverns in the KBO League.