Hook, line, and sinker: Cape Catfish name new manager

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – A former professional baseball player from Scott City has been named to manage the Cape Catfish baseball team.

Scott Little was associated with several major league organizations for nearly 40 years.

Little’s appointment was announced at a news conference Wednesday morning by Catfish president and minority owner Glenn Campbell.

He succeeds Stephen Larkin who had managed the team since its inaugural season in 2019.

“We were certainly blessed our first three seasons with him (Larkin) along with assistant coaches Dave Lawson and Josh Meyer,” said Catfish GM Mark Hogan, “but personal circumstances changed for these guys and we went in a different direction. It’s baseball and it happens.”

“I’ve known Scott since high school when he was a senior at Scott City and I was a freshman at Notre Dame,” Campbell said. “They (Scott City High School) had an incredible baseball program back then and so did we, but with him on the team they were very hard to beat. To think that our paths would cross again now with the Catfish is just crazy.”

Hogan has known Little for many years. He says he was glad to learn of Little’s availability and willingness to join the Fish.

“We were prepared to do a national search, but we found the best guy right in our backyard,” Hogan said.

Campbell says they knew they needed to find someone to carry on the winning tradition of the first three seasons.

The Catfish have been among the most successful teams in the Prospect League in recent years.

They compiled a record of 113-75. The team made it to the league finals in 2019 and won the league championship in 2021. The Catfish came within one win of a playoff berth in 2022.

“I’ve known these guys (Campbell and Hogan) for a while,” Little said when asked about the hiring process. “We got to talking and it just kind of snowballed into a lot of good things. I feel honored and blessed that they asked me to come on board.”

Little now lives in Jackson. He played college ball at the University of Missouri-Columbia and was drafted as an outfielder by the New York Mets in 1984. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1987. Little briefly made it to the big leagues with the Pirates in 1989.

Most of  professional baseball career was spent in the minor leagues where he played, coached, managed and was involved in various aspects of player development.

Little has also worked for several minor league teams affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers and, most recently, the Colorado Rockies.

“I’ve been involved in minor league baseball for a long time and as much as we wanted to win, our objective was also to give our fans a good show and to get them out to the ballpark,” Little said. “We wanted people to come out and have fun while at the same time trying to win a ballgame.”

The new manager has had several conversations in recent weeks with Campbell and the rest of the Catfish front office staff about the team’s direction for the 2023 season.

“We’ve already discussed things like creating a Catfish summer camp for kids and some of the crazy promotional stuff I want to do and he’s all in on making it fun for the fans,” Campbell said.

Little will manage players from college teams all over the country whose coaches want them to gain experience by playing in the Prospect League.

“Those coaches are entrusting us with their players to help them get better,” Little said. “It’s our job to take what they’re giving us and to do what we promised we’re going to do and that’s to give them an opportunity to get better. It’s basically doing the same stuff I’ve always been doing. It’s player development, and when you win, it’s awesome!”

Campbell says that while winning is important, what he loves about “Coach Little is he’s a developmental guy as well and the players who come here are going to be better for it.”

The Catfish open their season on the road May 31 against the O’Fallon (Missouri) Hoots. Their home opener at Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau will be Saturday, June 3, when they take on the Rockabillys from Jackson, Tenn.

The Cape Catfish was founded in 2019. They are members of the Prospect League, an 18-team summer baseball league of NCAA-eligible players from across North America and around the world.

Named for the state fish of Missouri, the Catfish play their home games at 2,000-seat Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau.

The Catfish, along with other Prospect League teams, offer collegiate players an opportunity to experience wooden bat baseball while showcasing their skills in front of major league scouts.

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