Journey to Cooperstown Begins at MLB Draft
Since 1965, 34 Hall of Famers Have Been Selected
(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – When the 2017 MLB Draft wraps up later this week, chances are a future Hall of Famer will be among the 1,200 or so players selected.
This summer, two former draft picks will each complete their big league journey when they are inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Of the tens of thousands of players drafted since MLB’s amateur draft began 52 years ago in 1965, 34 players who were signed by the team that drafted them have gone on to earn a place in the Hall of Fame. The first was Johnny Bench, drafted by the Reds in the second round in 1965 and elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989. Ten years later, Nolan Ryan – taken in the 12th round of the 1965 draft by the Mets – joined Bench in Cooperstown.
The two newest members of that club, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 30 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown. The third member of the Class of 2017 who will be inducted as a player, Puerto Rico’s Iván Rodríguez, was signed as an amateur international free agent by the Rangers in 1988 before MLB Draft rules applied to players from the island nation.
Raines becomes the first former fifth-round pick to earn election to the Hall of Fame, having been taken in the fifth round by the Expos in the June 1977 MLB Draft. Four former Expos draft picks – Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Randy Johnson and Raines – have been inducted to the Hall of Fame. Only the Red Sox -- with Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Bagwell -- have as many.
Bagwell was taken in the fourth round of the 1989 MLB Draft by the Red Sox. Bagwell and Frank Thomas are the Hall of Famers drafted most recently, each having been taken in 1989. They also share the same birthday: May 27, 1968.
On average over the last 20-plus years, about one Hall of Fame electee per year is a former draft choice.
The 1971 draft class, the 1973 draft class and the 1985 draft class each produced three Hall of Famers apiece, the most ever in one draft. Jim Rice, George Brett and Mike Schmidt were drafted in 1971, Robin Yount, Dave Winfield and Eddie Murray were chosen in 1973 and Barry Larkin, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz were drafted in 1985.
A list of drafted players who eventually were elected to the Hall of Fame, in chronological order of their draft selection:
Johnny Bench – Drafted 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
Tim Raines – Drafted by the Expos in June 1977 with fifth-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)
Randy Johnson – Drafted by the Expos in June 1985 with second-round pick (No. 36 overall)
John Smoltz – Drafted by the Tigers in June 1985 with 22nd-round pick
Ken Griffey Jr. – Drafted by the Mariners in June 1987 with first-round pick (No. 1 overall)
Craig Biggio – Drafted by the Astros in June 1987 with first-round pick (No. 22 overall)
Mike Piazza – Drafted by the Dodgers in June 1988 with 62nd-round pick
Frank Thomas – Drafted by the White Sox in June 1989 with first-round pick (No. 7 overall)
Jeff Bagwell – Drafted by the Red Sox in June 1989 with fourth-round pick
For scouting reports on amateur and professional players – including Hall of Famers – check out the Museum’s database at http://collection.baseballhall.org/