Cardinals mourn loss of scout Peterson, 46

September 14th, 2020

ST. LOUIS -- Charles Peterson, an amateur scout for the Cardinals since 2012, died Sunday evening at the age of 46 after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

It was clear from stories and memories told Sunday and Monday how much he meant to those in the organization and around baseball.

“He was someone who brought just amazing life to a room,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said Monday. “Talked to a lot of people on our staff today, and there are a lot of people who are just sad. It’s hard to accept, someone that young, doesn’t feel fair. This was a difficult struggle for him. Needless to say, the outcome was awful. And all of us that knew him, he will be missed. It’s just a sad day for the Cardinals.”

Peterson, an area scout and a special assistant to Cardinals assistant general manager and scouting director Randy Flores, had been in the hospital since Aug. 17. A GoFundMe page was set up for him on Friday.

A native of Laurens, S.C., Peterson was the signing scout for Jordan Walker, the Cardinals’ top MLB Draft pick this summer out of Decatur, Ga. Walker’s father, Derek, tweeted a photo of Jordan and Peterson when Jordan signed with the Cardinals in June.

“I know Charles had enormous pride,” Mozeliak said of signing Walker. “Charles was one of those individuals that just liked drafting players and signing them. That’s what he lived to do when he came to this job. So being able to have a first-rounder meant a lot to him.

“I think the thing he loved most about the game was the opportunity it created for people. He took a lot of pride in the players he recommended. Obviously not all players you draft are going to become big leaguers, but maybe all players you draft become great citizens and do good things and that’s something that Charles really wanted his fingerprints on. And that’s what made him so special.”

D-backs scout Hudson Belinsky echoed that sentiment about Peterson in a post on Twitter: “I remember covering one of his players in the Cardinals system my second year scouting. We talked about a player he had signed. I remember Pete saying that he was happy to have signed this kid, regardless of whether he made it to the big leagues or not. Pete believed in his organization’s ability to help that kid develop as a baseball player but even more so as a person. Pete believed in providing opportunities for young men of all backgrounds.”

The Cardinals released a statement Sunday to extend their “condolences to the Peterson family and Charles’ many friends.”

“Charles had an incredible impact on our scouting department,” Flores said in the Cardinals’ statement. “He brought a tremendous work ethic, keen eye, and booming laugh with him every day. My prayers are with his wife Karen and family as anyone who ever talked to CP knew how proud he was of them.”

Peterson was the Pirates' 1993 first-round pick out of high school and reached Triple-A in his five years in the Pittsburgh system. He played more than eight years of independent ball as well as professionally in Canada, Mexico and Taiwan. He began his scouting career with the MLB Scouting Bureau and was hired by the Cardinals in 2012. He started scouting in the upper Midwest for the Cardinals before returning to South Carolina.

“I didn’t have the privilege of meeting Charles personally, outside of just in passing,” manager Mike Shildt said. “But I know he was well-respected in our organization and [by] people in the area, who I know all thought very highly of him. Very gracious and a good human, and this is the sad thing that unfortunately captures where we are in our world right now.”