Miguel Montero was 17. Every major-league club but one already had rejected him. He was ready to quit baseball, finish high school and go study mechanical engineering in college.
The Arizona Diamondbacks were his last hope.
Junior Noboa, the teams vice president of Latin operations, had flown to Venezuela to oversee the tryout from his native Dominican Republic. Noboa's plane was late. About 25 players were waiting. He didnt have time to look at them long.
Montero, a catcher, started off throwing to each base. Noboa, impressed, ordered the kid to join the first group of hitters. Montero took seven or eight swings. Noboa, impressed again, needed to see no more.
He liked Monteros ability, noted that the kid had a smooth swing with power and picked up immediately that he was a leader.
Im going to sign this guy, Noboa said.
It didnt happen that instant. The field, located next to President Hugo Chavezs office in Caracas, had to be cleared for security reasons. Noboa, Montero and M...