Expansion Drafts are exciting, not only because that means there are new teams establishing themselves in MLB, but also because they often represent a fresh start for players who end up becoming stars. Tuesday marked the 61st anniversary of the first MLB Expansion Draft in 1960, when the Los Angeles Angels and new Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers) made their selections to become the 17th and 18th franchises in the Majors. .
Here’s a look at Expansion Drafts from 1968:
1968 – Kansas City Royals
First pick: Orioles RHP Roger Nelson
Nelson’s ended up being a good pick, as the right-hander posted a 3.10 ERA in 80 games (51 starts) for Kansas City from 1969 to 1972.
Best pick: White Sox RHP Al Fitzmorris
KC took Fitzmorris from the White Sox with the 40th pick and ended up pitching eight seasons for the Royals, with a 3.46 ERA in 1,098 innings.
Another notable selection: LD Hoyt Wilhelm
Although Wilhelm is best remembered for his days with the Giants, Orioles and White Sox, the Royals selected the future Hall of Famer with the 49th pick.
Royals record in 1969: 69-93-1 (first made postseason in 1976)
1968 – San Diego Padres
First pick: Giants RF Ollie Brown
Brown put up solid numbers for the Padres in his first three seasons in SD, hitting .276 / .331 / .422 with 52 home runs between 1969 and 1971.
Best pick: Astros utility Nate Colbert
Colbert ended up being one of the best picks in Expansion Draft history. Between 1969 and 1973 with the Padres, he hit .260 / .333 / .483 with 149 home runs. To date, he remains SD’s all-time HR leader with 161.
Another notable choice: OF Cito Gaston
Gaston, best remembered for being the manager of the Blue Jays who won the 1992 and 1993 World Series, hit .318 / .364 / .543 with 29 homers in 1970 and was called up to the All-Star Game after being drafted in the 1968 Draft. from Atlanta.
Padres record in 1969: 52-110 (first made the postseason in 1984)
1968 – Seattle Drivers (now Milwaukee Brewers)
First pick: Angels 1B Don Mincher
By now, Mincher had gone to the All-Star Game twice in nine MLB seasons with the Senators. He responded by leaving an .821 OPS with 10 home runs in 140 games.
Best pick: Cleveland’s LF Lou Piniella
The Pilots took him from Cleveland, but before the 1969 season began they traded him to Kansas City, where he won the American League Rookie of the Year award. He ended up having a solid 18-year career in the Big Top, the last 11 for the Yankees.
Another notable selection: the LF / 3B Tommy Davis
The Pilots selected Davis, who had had a solid career with the Dodgers, was taken from the White Sox. But in 1969 he had an OPS of just .697 with six home runs in 123 games for Seattle.
Pilots’ Record in 1969: 64-98-1 (first made the postseason in 1981 as the Milwaukee Brewers)
1968 – Montreal Expos
First pick: LF Manny Mota of the Pirates
Mota was a solid producer in six seasons with Pittsburgh before the Expos made him their first choice in the Expansion Draft. He was not long in Montreal, however, as in June 1969 he was traded with Maury Wills to the Dodgers for Ron Fairly and Paul Popovich.
Best pick: Pirates’ SS Maury Wills
Wills had been MVP and seven-time All-Star, as well as leading steals six years in a row between 1960 and 1965 with the Dodgers before moving on to the Pirates. Already 36 years old, Wills was still running (he had stolen 52 bases the year before) but Montreal sent him back to the Dodgers alongside Mota.
Another notable selection: the 1B Donn Clendenon
First baseman played just 38 games for the Expos before being sent to the Mets, where he ended up being the MVP of the World Series in New York’s unlikely win over Baltimore in five games.
Expos record in 1969: 52-110 (first made postseason in 1981)
1976 – Seattle Mariners
Top / Top pick: Royals OF Ruppert Jones
Jones, who made his MLB debut in August 1976 for Kansas City, quickly made his mark for the Mariners, becoming the team’s first All-Star in 1977, when he hit .263 / .324 / .454 with 24 home runs and 13 bases. stolen.
Mariners record in 1977: 64-98 (first made the postseason in 1995)
1976 – Toronto Blue Jays
First pick: Orioles OF / SS Bob Bailor
He had a solid rookie year with the Blue Jays, hitting .310 / .335 / .403 in 122 games. He spent a whole three more years before being sent to the Mets in 1980.
Top pick: Rangers RHP Jim Clancy
After making his MLB debut for Toronto at age 21 in 1977, he spent a dozen years with the franchise, leaving a 4.10 ERA in 352 appearances (345 starts).
Other notable picks: BD Rico Carty and LD Pete Vuckovich
Carty, who had been a batting champion in 1970 and hit 204 home runs in 15 years in MLB, was taken from Cleveland with the 10th pick in the Expansion Draft, and traded back to the Indians, who traded him back to Toronto before the 1978 season. He played just 104 games with the Blue Jays before being moved to the Athletics in August.
Vuckovich, drawn from the White Sox, spent a season with Toronto, leaving a 3.47 ERA in 1977. In 1982 he would win the LA Cy Young for the Brewers.
Blue Jays record in 1977: 54-107 (first made the postseason in 1985)
1992 – Colorado Rockies
First pick: Braves RHP David Nied
The Braves selected Nied in the 14th round in 1987 and he rose rapidly through the ranks to make his major league debut in 1992, before being taken over by Colorado. It opened the first game in franchise history on April 5, 1993.
Best selection: The SS / 3B Vinny Castilla de los Bravos
Another of the Rockies’ picks from the Braves ended up being one of the best in Expansion Draft history. In a matter of two years, the Mexican became the team’s starting third baseman. He was one of the “Blake Street Bombers”, along with Larry Walker, Dante Bichette, the Venezuelan Andrés Galarraga and Ellis Burke. Between 1995-1999, the Oaxaca native hit .302 / .348 / .545 (OPS + of 110) with 191 home runs for Colorado.
Other notable picks: 3B Charlie Hayes, 2B Eric Young, RHP Armando Reynoso
The Rockies selected Hayes in third place from the Yankees and led the NL in doubles (45) in 1993. Young established himself in the record books by hitting a home run in the first inning at home in club history. Mexico’s Reynoso finished with a 4.65 ERA in four years with Colorado.
Rockies record in 1993: 67-95 (first postseason: 1995)
1992 – Florida Marlins
First pick: Blue Jays’ OF Nigel Wilson
Florida took him for second place in the Expansion Draft and made his big-team debut in September 1993, going 1-for-16 with 11 strikeouts. Ultimately, the Marlins put him on the waiver list in 1995.
Best pick: Reds RHP Trevor Hoffman
His stint in Florida was so short – 28 games with the Marlins in 1993 – that you probably don’t remember that he was the eighth pick in that draft. The club traded him to San Diego in June 1993 in a trade that brought Gary Sheffield to Florida. The mountaineer ended up being the second best closer in history, with 601 saves, surpassed only by the Panamanian Mariano Rivera. It was in San Diego that he began to chart his path to the Hall of Fame.
Other notable picks: CF Chuck Carr, LD Bryan, 1B / LF Jeff Conine and OF Carl Everett
Carr was a great midfield defender and fast leadoff hitter during his three years with Florida. In 1993, he led the Nacional with 58 stolen bases.
Harvey saved 45 games with a 1.70 ERA in 1993, but injuries derailed his career.
Conine spent eight seasons of his 17-year career with the organization, spanning two internships. The two-time All-Star game helped the club win two World Series titles.
Everett played just 27 games for Florida before being traded to the Mets.
Marlins record in 1993: 64-98 (first postseason: 1997)
1997 – Tampa Bay Devil Rays
First pick: Marlins LZ Tony Saunders
Saunders made his debut with the Marlins in 1997 and helped them win the World Series, before being selected by Tampa Bay. He pitched two years with Tampa Bay, in which he started 40 games and posted a 4.53 ERA. He suffered a terrible injury on May 26, 1999, fracturing his left arm. The following year he fractured the same arm again in the minors, thus ending his professional career.
Best pick: OF Bob Abreu of the Astros
The Venezuelan, who is on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, has been one of the most underrated hitters of all time, hitting .291 / .395 / .475 with 288 career home runs of 18 years. He made his debut with the Astros on September 1, 1996 and was later taken over by the Rays. Tamba Bay traded Abreu to the Phillies that same day, where he spent more than eight seasons.
Other notable picks: 1B Dmitri Young and OF Randy Winn
Tampa Bay selected Young from the Reds and then traded him back to Cincinnati for outfielder Mike Kelly.
Winn spent the first five years of his 13-year career with the Rays. He was a below-average hitter until 2002, when he was called up to the All-Star Game.
Devil Rays record in 1998: 63-99 (first postseason: 2008, like the Rays)
1997 – Arizona Diamondbacks
First Pick: Cleveland’s LZ Brian Anderson
Anderson spent four seasons with Arizona in which he posted a 4.52 ERA (101 ERA +) and helped the club lift the 2001 World Series.
Best pick: Athletics INF Tony Batista
The D-backs traded Batista to the Blue Jays for Dan Plesac in June 1999. After posting a .731 OPS with five homers in 44 games for Arizona that year, Batista spliced 25 homers in 98 games with Toronto.
Other notable picks: LZ Omar Daal and C Damian Miller
The Venezuelan immediately became one of the D-backs’ best pitchers, posting a 2.88 ERA in 33 appearances (23 starts) in the club’s inaugural season.
The D-backs selected Miller and he became the starting catcher in 2000 and was called up to the All-Star Game in 2002.
Record of the D-backs in 1998: 65-97 (first postseason: 1999)
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MLB Expansion Drafts since 1968