Typically, when a team gets scared off of a player, it’s because of a fear the player may not pan out or won’t be worth the effort. In the case of the White Sox and Starling Marte, it was because of a gun.
A story posted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette details the unusual circumstances surrounding the scouting process of Marte. The White Sox had the first big opportunity to sign the then-teenage Marte.
As the Post-Gazette describes it, Marte “dazzled” the White Sox scout. However, a former street-agent for Marte showed up claiming the baseball player had been stolen from him.
The White Sox scout offered me $70,000, Papiro recalls. And then almost at the same time, Lucas arrived with a gun. As Starling watched in shock, Papiro stood his ground with Lucas, telling him that he had squandered his chance with Marte and to leave the boy alone. No shots were fired, but the White Sox scout pulled his offer and hightailed it out of Centro Olympico.
The young star outfielder was signed by the Pirates just a few weeks after the White Sox passed. In fact, the Pirates signed him to a deal worth $15,000 more than the White Sox offer.
Before the start of the 2014 season, Pittsburgh re-signed Marte to a six-year $31 million deal.
Marte quickly climbed through the Pirates farm system and by 2012 was with the big league club. He’s turned into a key player for a Pirates team that will reach the postseason for the third time in a row this season.