Monday, May 20, 2019

Draft Years: 1971

With the first pick overall in the 1971 draft, the Chicago White Sox selected catcher Danny Goodwin out of Peoria Central High School in Peoria, Illinois. And then Danny did not sign.

Goodwin opted to go to college instead. In an unusual anomaly, Danny was selected as the first overall pick in the 1975 draft by the California Angels. He did sign with the Angels and made his MLB debut on September 3, 1975 against the Texas Rangers. Goodwin had a mostly unremarkable career over seven seasons for the California Angels, the Minnesota Twins and the Oakland Athletics, ending in 1982.

It certainly did not live up to the lofty standards of being selected twice as the overall first pick in the draft. Seven years in the majors, even mostly under the radar, is a pretty remarkable feat.

The 1971 draft had some notable prospects, such as Frank Tanana, Jim Rice, Rick Rhoden, Craig Reynolds, Ron Guidry, Jerry Mumphrey and Keith Hernandez.

The White Sox had the first and twenty-fifth picks in the draft and there were two Hall of Fame superstars that were selected at picks twenty-nine and thirty. Theoretically, the White Sox could have selected both of these players. Both played third base primarily, but one was also considered a first baseman as well.

The White Sox selected outfielder Bill Sharp with the twenty-fifth pick. Bill did sign, but only lasted four seasons in the majors. I would've been comfortable with the White Sox selecting one of the available future Hall of Fame players at pick twenty-five.

With the first pick in the draft, the White Sox should have selected....

Mike Schmidt.
I selected Schmidt at pick number one because Mike had power numbers and a Gold Glove defense. While he didn't hit for consistent high average, he wasn't horrible. His glove and power balanced out a slightly above average batting average. Schmidt also bowed out gracefully when his numbers started to decline.

Since it's rare that two Hall of Fame superstars are still available after two picks by the White Sox, I'm going to say that the White Sox should have selected at pick number twenty-five...

George Brett.
George had a little pop in the bat and was no slouch in the defense department, but he consistently flirted with high averages, including a run at the elusive .400. Since Mike Schmidt would have been selected for third base, George would have shifted to first base much earlier in his career.

Can you imagine an infield for the White Sox with Mike Schmidt and George Brett at the infield corners? It could have happened!

Out of twenty-six prospects picked by the White Sox in the 1971 June amateur draft, only ten signed. Only six of those twenty-six picks ever made it to the majors.

The 70s and 80s certainly would have been different with Schmidt and Brett on the team!


Jim from Downingtown said...

The draft is a funny thing. In 1965, Johnny Bench wasn't selected until the 36th overall pick, and was the EIGHTH catcher drafted (behind Ray Fosse (#7), Gene Lamont (#13), and Ken Rudolph (#26), among others).

Steve Gierman said...

The sad truth is that most teams are really bad at drafting. It's a lot of luck that a draft pick will work out and the smallest of margins that he'll be any type of success.

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