Frank Mattox, who starred at Acalanes High and Cal, then spent his professional career in baseball, mostly with the Seattle Mariners, died Sunday night at his home in Peoria, Ariz. He was 49.
Mattox collapsed suddenly while sitting down to watch the Academy Awards, according to MLB.com. He's survived by his parents, his wife and three children.
Mattox, who spent 17 years in the Mariners' organization, including six as scouting director, played at Cal in the early 1980s for coach Bob Milano. He was a second baseman on an infield that included Brian Guinn (whose son B.J. is a Padres minor leaguer) and big leaguer Lance Blankenship.
Mattox returned to Berkeley last November for Cal's Hall of Fame banquet to celebrate the induction of former Bear and current Cincinnati Reds pitching coach Bryan Price.
After leaving Cal, Mattox played seven seasons in the Brewers farm system, finishing his career in 1990 playing for Triple-A Denver. He then went on to work for Denver and then became a scout for the expansion Colorado Rockies.
He joined the Mariners organization in 1995 as a West Coast crosschecker. Mattox became scouting director in September 1997, running six drafts for the organization while working for vice president of scouting and player development Roger Jongewaard, who is now a pro scout for the Marlins.
"I scouted him and I hired him," Jongewaard said Monday. "Frank's just a good guy and a
Left-hander Matt Thornton, now with the White Sox, was the first of Mattox's draft picks, in '98, and Seattle took Adam Jones with their top pick in the last draft he ran, in 2003. In between, he oversaw drafts that produced big leaguers such as Willie Bloomquist, J.J. Putz, Bryan LaHair and Eric O'Flaherty.
Mattox also was featured in a Microsoft commercial in 1997, showing him working on a laptop computer with Microsoft software. "The best thing about the commercial," Mattox told BA's Alan Schwarz at the time, "is the recognition it gives to scouts and the profession itself. Some of us played, some didn't, but we're all trying to be ambassadors of the game."
Baseball America and the Seattle Times contributed to this story.