Monday, March 18, 2019

Draft Years: 1968

 With the fourteenth pick in the 1968 amateur draft, the White Sox chose shortstop Rich McKinney out of Ohio University. Rich had parts of seven seasons in the majors with the White Sox, the Yankees and the Athletics. McKinney started out as a third baseman, before moving to second base and then the outfield, occasionally filling in at shortstop. After 1971, Rich became more of a utility player, playing all but catcher, pitcher and center field.

Players like Thurman Munson and Greg Luzinski were taken before Rich, but notables such as Gary Matthews, Bill Buckner, Burt Hooten, Tom Paciorek, Cecil Cooper, Doyle Alexander, Al Bumbry, Steve Stone, Oscar Gamble, Ken Forsch and Bill "Spaceman" Lee were all taken after McKinney. The White Sox chose Hugh Yancy in the second round.

A better choice for the first pick would have been the 248th pick in the eleventh round...

Ben Oglivie

Of the eleven picks that the White Sox had in the draft before Oglivie was selected by the Boston Red Sox, only the first three ever made the majors. All three (Rich McKinney, Hugh Yancy and Lamar Johnson) made their MLB debuts with the White Sox in the seventies. Lamar Johnson had the best career out of the three picks, playing nine seasons in the majors with the White Sox and the Rangers. Lamar was also a nice key player for the 1977 "South Side Hitmen" White Sox team, hitting .302 with eighteen homers.

Oglivie would play for sixteen seasons with the Red Sox, Tigers and Brewers and would finish with a .273 career average. Ben would be selected to three All-Star teams (1980, 1982 and 1983) and win a Silver Slugger in 1980.

As with any retrospect, it's easy to say what should have happened. It's fun to speculate the fortunes of the White Sox, if they had better drafts. It's still frustrating to see wasted opportunities, even if there was no sure fire way of knowing how things would pan out.

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