In the first part of the 20th century, baseball became popular as a professional sport. Large eastern cities like New York and Boston were home to some of the best and most popular teams. While these teams competed in baseball stadiums, their scouts were competing to find talented, young players. Traveling by train through the South and Midwest, baseball scouts rushed from town to town in hopes of discovering the next Cy Young or Cap Anson.
Some scouts worked for professional teams while others signed players to personal contracts, hoping to sell those contracts to the owners of professional teams. As baseball became more organized, scouts began to work almost exclusively for one professional team. Soon, young prospects no longer were sent directly to Major League Baseball teams but played in the minor leagues or farm teams. These teams were set up to teach players, who already possessed excellent abilities, the subtle nuances of the game.
These new teams created a need for even more scouts. In addition to locating and signing talented young players, other scouts were assigned the task of watching these players develop and deciding when they were ready to advance to the next level.
As football, basketball, and soccer became popular sports, professional teams began to hire scouts to evaluate the talent of players and the strengths and weaknesses of other teams.
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