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Asheville player related to man who spotted Mays

August 10, 2004|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

As Willie Mays' limousine was on its way to Municipal Stadium Monday evening, one of the Hagerstown Suns' opposing players talked about his family's connection to the Hall of Fame center fielder.

Ed Montague, who played right field for the Asheville (N.C.) Tourists on Monday, is the son of the Major League umpire Ed Montague.

Montague the umpire is the son of the late Ed Montague the baseball scout.

It was the eldest Ed Montague who went to see a promising player for the Birmingham Barons of the Negro Leagues in 1950 - and ended up spotting a terrific young outfielder named Mays instead.

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Montague the scout called up his bosses at the New York Giants and got permission to sign him.

"It's probably considered the best find in baseball," said Montague of the Tourists.

He said he was 9 years old when his grandfather died in 1989.

It was just a coincidence that Ed Montague's mother, Marcia Montague, and his brother Brett, 14, who live in California, were at Monday's game.

They've followed the Tourists around a little lately, starting in Cleveland.

The family only found out a few days ago that Mays would be at Municipal Stadium when they were.

Marcia Montague said she heard the story from Ed Montague the scout about how he was amazed by Mays and "beat a path to the phone."

The New York Giants assigned Mays to their minor league team in Trenton, N.J. His first game with the Trenton Giants was in Hagerstown on June 24, 1950.

The Tourists' Ed Montague said his family still keeps in touch with Mays from time to time and sends him Christmas cards.

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