From the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
COOPERSTOWN, NY – The Hall of Fame is feeling the draft.
Three of the six members of the Class of 2019 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum are former first-round selections, the first time in history a Hall of Fame class will feature a trio of No. 1 picks. Harold Baines (No. 1 overall in the 1977 MLB Draft), Mike Mussina (No. 20 overall in 1990) and Roy Halladay (No. 17 overall in 1995) were each taken in the first round of their respective drafts.
Lee Smith is the fourth member of this year’s induction class who was a second-round selection of the Cubs in 1975. Edgar Martinez and Mariano Rivera, the two other members of the Class of 2019, were signed by the Mariners and Yankees, respectively, as amateur free agents.
The only previous Hall of Fame class to have as many as two first round picks was the Class of 2001 that featured Kirby Puckett, selected No. 3 overall by the Twins in the January 1982 Draft; and Dave Winfield, selected No. 4 overall by the Padres in the June 1973 Draft.
When the 2019 MLB Draft wraps up later this week, chances are that a future Hall of Famer will be among the 1,200-plus players selected. Of the tens of thousands of players drafted since MLB’s amateur draft began 54 years ago in 1965, 43 players 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.
As a member of the Class of 2019, Baines becomes the third No. 1 overall pick – following Ken Griffey Jr. and Chipper Jones – to be elected to the Hall of Fame. The elections of Baines, Halladay and Mussina bring the total of first-rounders elected to the Hall of Fame to 15.
With Baines’ election, the 1977 MLB Draft has now produced four Hall of Famers – including Paul Molitor, Tim Raines and Ozzie Smith – tied for the top spot among any draft class. The 1976 and 1989 draft classes also produced four future Hall of Famers apiece: Wade Boggs, Rickey Henderson, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were all drafted in 1976, while Jeff Bagwell, Trevor Hoffman, Frank Thomas and Jim Thome were selected in the 1989 Draft.
On average over the last 20-plus years, about one Hall of Fame electee per year is a former draft choice.
A list of drafted players who eventually were elected to the Hall of Fame, in chronological order of their draft selection: