SAN DIEGO — Glenn “Goose” Gregson has been in baseball for more than 47 years, but this moment was the highlight of it all.
On Sunday, just before the craze of Winter Meetings commenced, the 69-year-old Gregson was honored with the 2019 Mike Coolbaugh Award. The award is given to a person for work ethic, knowledge of the game, and mentoring young talent.
“I can say this with all honesty, being recognized for something like this is something I never expected,” Gregson said. “I am humbled that my name was even mentioned in the same sentence.”
Last season was Gregson’s 18th as the Red Sox’ Latin American pitching adviser. He speaks Spanish fluently, helping to be a bridge for many of the players who are in the organization. He taught himself for all the time he was in Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic during his playing days, knowing that if he wanted to stay in baseball, he had to learn another language.
“It’s one of the things I take the most pride in,” Gregson said on knowing Spanish. “I take more pride in being able to bridge that gap. I have a very special bond with [the Latin players]. It’s always nice for them to come to the [United States] and at least there’s a face that they’re comfortable with.”
One of those players was Pedro Martinez, whom Gregson knew when he worked for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Martinez was a young prospect.
“Pedro is like my son,” Gregson said. “He was 16 years old [when] I took all the pitchers over to Dodgertown to watch pitchers throw.”
After watching all the major league pitchers throw, Gregson said Martinez made a confident observation.
“He said, ‘Goose, I’m as good as any of those guys,’ ” Gregson said.
The faces have changed over the years, but Gregson’s spry personality and willingness to instruct has left an indelible impact on young players.