MLB Draft...First Round Success Stories
Last year's number one overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg is starting this season in Double-A Harrisburg instead of pitching in the Majors.
But I thought being the first pick in the draft meant instant success?
Try telling that to the 1985 me and I'd sooner spit in your face than agree with you.
Please...allow me to explain.
In 1985, the Topps card company had, among their seemingly ENDLESS amount of sub-sets, a block of cards reserved for baseball's past number one draft picks. All the big ones were there...Bill Almon, Al Chambers, Bob Horner. Even Shawn Abner, first pick overall by the Mets in 1984 was included.
Suffice it to say...I was hooked and I had to collect all of those first picks.
25 years later, I got to thinking..."is this year's number one pick destined for the greatness everyone seems to think he is?" I mean, after this kid threw his first pitch this spring, he was being heralded as a Hall of Famer.
And if he isn't...who was?
Reggie Jackson, 1966 MLB Draft
In the 1966 Major League Baseball Draft, Jackson was selected by the Kansas City Athletics. He was the second overall draft pick in the first round, behind catcher Steve Chilcott, who was selected by the New York Mets.
For his career, the slugger would end up hitting 563 career home runs, being named to 14 All-Star teams and hold the dubious distinction of being the all-time leader in strikeouts with 2,597. Jackson was the first major leaguer to hit one hundred home runs for three different clubs, having hit over 100 for the Athletics, Yankees, and Angels.
He played 21 seasons and reached the post-season in 11 of them, winning six pennants and five World Series. His accomplishments include winning both the regular-season and World Series MVP awards in 1973.
Reggie Jackson was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.
Robin Yount, 1973 MLB Draft
In the 1973 Major League Baseball Draft, Yount was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers. He was the third overall draft pick, just ahead of Dave Winfield.
For his career, the shortstop-turned-outfielder would wind up with 3,142 hits and become the Brewers all-time leader in games played, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBIs, total bases, walks and strikeouts.
He played 19 seasons and took home the regular-season MVP award in 1982 and 1989 making him (at the time) one of only three players to have won the award at two different positions.
Robin Yount was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.
Dave Winfield, 1973 MLB Draft
In the 1973 Major League Baseball Draft, Winfield was selected fourth overall by the San Diego Padres. He was also drafted by both the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) and the Utah Stars (ABA) and even though he never played college football, the Minnesota Vikings (NFL) selected Winfield in the 17th round of their draft. He is one of two players ever to be drafted by three professional sports
For his career, the slugger would end up hitting 465 career home runs, collecting 3,110 base hits, being named to 12 All-Star teams and winning seven Gold Gloves.
And after 19 years in the Majors, he took home a World Series ring in 1992 as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Dave Winfield was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Paul Molitor, 1977 MLB Draft
In the 1977 Major League Baseball Draft, Molitor was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers. He was the third overall draft pick in the first round, and went on to play for Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins.
Molitor's lifetime statistics 3,319 hits, a career .306 batting average and 504 stolen bases. He batted .368 in five postseason series, and was an all-star seven times.
He is one of only four players in Major League history with at least 3,000 hits, a .300 lifetime batting average and 500 stolen bases. The other three are Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Eddie Collins, none of whom played the game beyond 1930.
Paul Molitor was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004.
Ken Griffey Jr., 1987 MLB Draft
In the 1987 Major League Baseball Draft, Griffey was selected first overall by the Seattle Mariners. In his eleven seasons with Seattle (spanning from 1989 to 1999) he established himself as one of the most prolific and exciting players of the era, taking home the American League MVP award in 1997.
After stints with the Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and, currently, a second tenure with the Mariners, Griffey enters the 2010 season with 630 home runs, 2,638 hits, 1,829 RBI and a career batting average of .285.
After he retires, Ken Griffey stands to be the first number one overall draft pick elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Chipper Jones, 1990 MLB Draft
In the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft, Jones was selected first overall by the Atlanta Braves.
Through the 2009 season, Jones is a lifetime .307 hitter with 426 home runs and 1,445 RBI. He is behind only Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray on the all-time switch hitters career home run list and is considered one of the game's best all-around hitters.
He is the only switch hitter in Major League Baseball history to have a .300+ career batting average and 400 or more home runs. 1999, he took home the National League MVP Award.
Alex Rodriguez, 1993 MLB Draft
In the 1993 Major League Baseball Draft, Rodriguez was selected by the Seattle Mariners. He was the first overall draft pick and was signed by Roger Jongewaard right out of high school.
On July 8, 1994, in Boston, at 18 years, 11 months, and 11 days of age, he became just the third 18-year-old Major League shortstop since 1900...Robin Yount being one of the others.
Currently, at 34 years old, Rodriguez is a lifetime .305 hitter with 583 home runs and 1,706 RBI. He has taken home the American League MVP Award three times (with three different teams) and is a 12 time All-Star.
Last season, he won his first World Series ring with the Yankees.