Josh Hamilton and the Most Successful No. 1 Overall Picks in MLB History
Josh Hamilton won the American League Most Valuable Player Award this week, putting the cap on an amazing year and an amazing comeback.
Hamilton has firmly established himself as one of the great hitters in Major League Baseball.
Hamilton's accomplishment is unique for an interesting reason: Hamilton becomes just the sixth player in the history of the June amateur player draft to be picked number one overall, and then go on to win the Most Valuable Player award.
Indeed, Hamilton's season already puts him on the list of the Top 10 Most Successful No. 1 Overall Picks in baseball history.
Let's have a look.
Honorable Mention: 1969 Jeff Burroughs, Washington Senators
Not a great player by any stretch of the imagination, Jeff Burroughs was nevertheless serviceable during his 16-year major league career, and with 240 career home runs in the 1970's and 1980's, Burroughs is actually a little underrated by today's standards.
Burroughs won the 1974 AL MVP for the Texas Rangers, becoming the first ever No. 1 overall pick to win the award.
10. 2000: Adrian Gonzalez, Florida Marlins
The current first baseman for the San Diego Padres, and one of the most underrated players in baseball today, Adrian Gonzalez was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 draft, and was somehow traded twice before becoming a major league regular.
Gonzalez was traded to the Padres by the Texas Rangers, which means that he would be teammates with Josh Hamilton and would be good for 50 dongs a year, if not for the Rangers impatience with him.
9. 2007: David Price, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
In his young career, David Price has already been to the World Series and established himself as one of the elite pitchers in the American League, finishing second in the 2010 AL Cy Young Award voting.
8. 1999: Josh Hamilton, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Drafted No. 1 overall in 1999, it has been a long 12 years for Hamilton.
To put into perspective how long ago Hamilton was made the No. 1 overall pick, check this out:
After Hamilton, Josh Beckett, Barry Zito, and Ben Sheets were drafted in the first round of the 1999 draft.
Tim Couch was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, the same draft that saw Donovan McNabb, Edgerrin James, and Ricky Williams go in the first round.
Elton Brand was the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, the same draft that saw Lamar Odom, Richard Hamilton, and Shawn Merion get drafted.
Patrick Stefan was the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft, the same draft that saw the Sedin brothers, Marvin Havlat and Niklas Hagman get drafted.
Basically, Josh Hamilton's career is only just getting going at a point where other professional athletes of a similar age are establishing themselves as all stars or even all time greats.
7. 2001: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
Joe Mauer has already won three batting titles, and AL MVP award, and is threatening the list of all time greatest catchers.
6. 1998: Pat Burrell, Philadelphia Phillies
A very underrated career left-fielder, Burrell has two World Series titles and is coming up on his 300th career home run, his 1,000th career RBI, and 900th career base on balls.
Of course, he is also approaching his 1500th career strikeout.
5. 1980: Darryl Strawberry, New York Mets
An incredibly great player for the first half of a career beset by injuries, cancer, and a host of bad decisions in the second half.
4. 1977: Harold Baines, Chicago White Sox
Harold Baines was a very good player who fell just short of a host of career milestones that probably would have gotten him into the Hall of Fame.
He finished his career with 1299 runs scored, 2866 hits, 488 doubles, 49 triples, 384 home runs, 1628 RBI, and a .289 batting average.
If he had gotten to 1300, 3,000, 500, 50, and 400, there is no way he isn't a Hall of Famer.
3. 1990: Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves
The 1999 NL MVP, a World Series champion, a member of the .300/.400/.500 club, and one of the greatest third basemen of all time.
I'd say the Braves spent their No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 draft pretty well.
2. 1987: Ken Griffey, Jr., Seattle Mariners
One of the top 50 major league baseball players of all time, if he'd done in the second half of his career what he did in the first, you could lop off that zero and call him one of the top five major league baseball players of all time.
1. 1993: Alex Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners
Alex Rodriguez has a World Series title, three Most Valuable Player awards, and has one steroid admission under his belt.
Steroid issues aside, A-Rod will go down as one of the greatest infielders of all time, and may one day be the all time leader in home runs.