These Draft Day Stars Ended Up in Cooperstown

Since start of MLB Draft, Averages Point to One Hall of Famer Per Year

June 05, 2014
2014 electee Frank Thomas was the highest drafted player in this year's Hall of Fame Class.

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – Some of the nation’s best amateur players will embark on their professional careers Thursday night as selections in the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

For some, that journey could take them all the way to Cooperstown.

Of the tens of thousands of players drafted since MLB’s amateur draft began in 1965, 27 players who were signed by the team that drafted them have gone on to earn a place in the Hall of Fame. The most recent players drafted who earned Hall of Fame election are Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas – three members of the Class of 2014, which will be inducted July 27 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown.

On average over the last 20-plus years, about one Hall of Fame electee per year is a former draft choice.

Glavine and Maddux were each taken in the second round of the 1984 MLB Draft: Maddux with the 31st overall pick by the Cubs and Glavine with the 47th overall pick by the Braves. The duo becomes the fourth pair of Hall of Famers picked in the same round in the same draft, following George Brett and Mike Schmidt in 1971 (both second-round picks), Dennis Eckersley and Gary Carter in 1972 (both third-round picks) and Robin Yount and Dave Winfield in 1973 (both first-round picks).

Thomas was taken in the first round of the 1989 draft with the seventh pick overall by the White Sox. Thomas becomes the ninth former first-round pick to be elected to the Hall of Fame and is the most recent draft pick to earn election.

Reggie Jackson, drafted No. 2 overall by the A’s in 1966, is the highest draftee ever to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Ken Griffey Jr. was the No. 1 overall pick by the Mariners in 1987. If he remains retired, Griffey will become eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2016.

A list of drafted players who eventually were elected to the Hall of Fame, in chronological order of their draft selection:

  • Johnny BenchDrafted by Reds in June 1965 with second-round pick
  • Nolan Ryan – Drafted by the Mets in June 1965 with 12th-round pick
  • Reggie Jackson – Drafted by the A’s in June 1966 with first-round pick (No. 2 overall)
  • Carlton Fisk – Drafted by the Red Sox in Jan. 1967 with first-round pick (No. 4 overall)
  • Bert Blyleven – Drafted by the Twins in June 1969 with third-round pick
  • Goose Gossage – Drafted by the White Sox in June 1970 with ninth-round pick
  • Jim Rice – Drafted by the Red Sox in June 1971 with first-round pick (No. 15 overall)
  • George Brett – Drafted by the Royals in June 1971 with second-round pick (No. 29 overall)
  • Mike Schmidt – Drafted by the Phillies in June 1971 with second-round pick (No. 30 overall)
  • Dennis Eckersley – Drafted by the Indians in June 1972 with third-round pick (No. 50 overall)
  • Gary Carter – Drafted by the Expos in June 1972 with third-round pick (No. 53 overall)
  • Robin Yount – Drafted by the Brewers in June 1973 with first-round pick (No. 3 overall)
  • Dave Winfield – Drafted by the Padres in June 1973 with first-round pick (No. 4 overall)
  • Eddie Murray – Drafted by the Orioles in June 1973 with third-round pick
  • Andre Dawson – Drafted by the Expos in June 1975 with 11th-round pick
  • Rickey Henderson – Drafted by the A’s in June 1976 with fourth-round pick
  • Wade Boggs – Drafted by the Red Sox in June 1976 with seventh-round pick
  • Paul Molitor – Drafted by the Brewers in June 1977 with first-round pick (No. 3 overall)
  • Ozzie Smith – Drafted by the Padres in June 1977 with fourth-round pick
  • Cal Ripken Jr. – Drafted by the Orioles in June 1978 with second-round pick
  • Ryne Sandberg – Drafted by the Phillies in June 1978 with 20th-round pick
  • Tony Gwynn – Drafted by the Padres in June 1981 with third-round pick
  • Kirby Puckett – Drafted by the Twins in Jan. 1982 with first-round pick (No. 3 overall)
  • Greg Maddux – Drafted by the Cubs in June 1984 with second-round pick (No. 31 overall)
  • Tom Glavine – Drafted by the Braves in June 1984 with second-round pick (No. 47 overall)
  • Barry Larkin – Drafted by the Reds in June 1985 with first-round pick (No. 4 overall)
  • Frank Thomas – Drafted by the White Sox in June 1989 with first-round pick (No. 7 overall)

For scouting reports on more than 4,000 amateur and professional players, check out the Museum’s database at scouts.baseballhall.org as part of the Museum’s Diamond Mines exhibit.