Cubs mourn sudden loss of longtime scout Stan Zielinski

Stan Zielinski, a prolific scout for the Cubs under three general managers, died suddenly overnight Wednesday at his home in Winfield, the team said — less than four weeks after his induction into the Midwest Scouts Association Hall of Fame in Kansas City.

He was 64.

Zielinski joined the Cubs’ scouting department in 2001 after scouting for the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins and was the area scout responsible for identifying and signing dozens of future major leaguers, including Cliff Floyd, Jeff Samardzija and Kyle Schwarber.

He was named the organization’s scout of the year for 2015.

Stan Zielinski, center, with Cubs scouting executives last January when he was honored as Cubs' 2015 scout of the year (Keith Law/Twitter photo).

Stan Zielinski, center, with Cubs scouting executives last January when he was honored as Cubs' 2015 scout of the year (Keith Law/Twitter photo).

Schwarber, a Cubs’ playoff hero the past two postseasons, tweeted Thursday of Zielinski: “My condolences go out to the Zielinski family. Stan was the scout who drafted me. Baseball lost a great person.”

Zielinski, who was used in multiple scouting capacities by former Cubs GM Jim Hendry, grew up in Northbrook and attended Loyola Academy in Wilmette and St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minn.

He was a professional scout since 1979.

“Stan was an incredible scout and an unfailingly kind person,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said in a statement released by the club. “For many of us, working closely with Stan was a highlight of being with the Cubs. He has been a big part of the heart and soul of the Cubs scouting staff for more than 15 years; without Stan we certainly would not have won the World Series. The impact he made on this organization and his co-workers will continue to live on.

“Together we grieve his loss, and we extend our deepest condolences to Stan’s wife Holly, his children Zach and Anna, the entire Zielinski family, and Stan’s many friends and colleagues.”