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The 1965 baseball draft: The Pirates swing and miss

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1960 World Series - Game 7:  New York Yankees v Pittsburgh Pirates Set Number: X7026

This is an article I received from Erik Hinckley. It discusses the results of the Pirates’ first-ever amateur draft. As you can see from the third sentence in the second paragraph, MLB’s priorities in connection with amateur players haven’t changed in the slightest.

Much discussion has recently taken place regarding the Pirates prospects (both past and present) as well as recent draft history. To that end here is an abbreviated overview of the Pirates first MLB draft which took place in 1965.

In 1965 MLB held its first free agent amateur draft. This was the first time that teams participated in a draft where teams with worse records were supposed to have the opportunity to draft and sign better quality players from the high school and college levels. Additionally, according to William Leggett of Sports Illustrated, in a 1967 article, this new draft was also intended to “cut down on payments of excessive bonuses to untried players”. The Pirates went into the draft with a specific idea of the types of players they were looking to draft. George Zuraw, a Pirates scout at the time, stated, “You had to have enough arm strength, some bat control and the body type and if you allowed that type of athlete to improve the belief was that they could become a good player”. Besides the scouting department manager Danny Murtaugh and general manager Joe Brown also participated in the scouting for that year’s draft.

Rick Monday was selected 1st overall by the Kansas City A’s. The Pirates picked 10th and selected Doug “Wayne” Dickerson, an 18-year-old from Ensley (HS) in Birmingham, AL. He was the third outfielder taken after Monday and Billy Conigliaro, the next outfielder, wasn’t taken until the 24th pick. He signed for $25,000 and reported to the Salem Rebels (Rookie) of the Appalachian League. He played in the minors for 4 years and never reached higher than single A ball. His best season was 1965 for Salem where he hit .283 with 7 HR and 42 RBI. Other players selected after Dickerson in the 1st round included former Pirate manager Gene Lamont, selected by the Tigers at 13, and 3B Bernie Carbo, picked by the Reds with the 16th selection.

(2-30) Roger Hayward – a pitcher from Pontiac (HS) in Pontiac, MI. He pitched 5 seasons in the minors and reached AA. His best season was 1967 when he pitched for Raleigh (A) where he was 12-9 with a 3.63 ERA and 7 complete games. Other notable players selected after Hayward in the 2nd round were catcher Johnny Bench by the Reds and outfielder Larry Hisle by the Phillies.

(3-50) Richard Hendrix – a pitcher from Princeton (HS) in Cincinnati, OH. He was a career minor leaguer who played 10 seasons in the Pirates organization with 3 of those seasons at the AAA level. He had a career record of 47-35 with a 3.61 ERA, 22 complete games and 19 saves. Pitcher Andy Messersmith was selected by Detroit after Hendrix in the 3rd round.

(4-62) Edward Berube – a third baseman from Colby College in Waterville, ME. He only played two minor league seasons. He posted a career .205 batting average in in 76 minor league games in the rookie league and single A. Third baseman Craig Nettles was selected later in that round by the Twins.

(5-82) Robert Settle – a pitcher from Woodrow Wilson (HS) in Portsmouth, VA. He played for 7 minor league seasons including 1 year at AAA. His best season was 1968 with Salem (A) where he was 10-4 with a 2.92 ERA and 5 complete games. Later in this round outfielder Amos Otis was picked by the Red Sox.

(6-102) Ronald Young – a pitcher from Canton South (HS) in Canton, OH. He played four seasons and never made it past single A. He posted a career 18-16 record and a 3.90 ERA. Both Hal McRae (SS) taken by the Reds and Sal Bando (3B) selected by the A’s were picked after Young.

(9-162) Larry Killingsworth – a high school pitcher from David Starr Jordan (HS) in Long Beach, CA. He pitched in the minors for 7 seasons and made it to AAA. He posted a career 39-53 record and a 4.38 ERA with 25 complete games.

(11-202) Zelman Jack – a (1B/OF) from Pittsburg (HS) in Pittsburg, CA. He played 7 total seasons and 1 at AAA. He had a stellar 1968 season playing for both Gastonia (A) and Salem (A) where he hit .322 with 25 HR and 75 RBI. Pitcher Gary Gentry was taken by the Astros later in that round.

(12-222) Douglas Watkins – a pitcher from Bloomsburg (HS) in Cheverly, MD. His only season was very good going 8-1 with a 2.74 ERA and 5 complete games for Salem (A). Pitcher Nolan Ryan was selected by the Mets after Watkins.

(13-242) Jack Clark – an outfielder from St. Charles (HS) in St. Charles, MO. In 83 career minor league games between rookie and single A he batted .218 with 5 HR. It also appears he may have tried to resurrect his career as a pitcher in 1967 with Salem (Rookie) and Gastonia (A), he was 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA.

(14-262) Terry Sparks – a pitcher from Minford (HS) in Minford, OH. Over two minor league seasons he compiled a 2-4 record with a 5.47 ERA.

(16-302) Paul Giglio – an outfielder from Flushing (HS) in Bayside, NY. He appeared in 28 games over two minor league seasons and batted an anemic .148.

(17-322) Sam Angott – a collegiate pitcher from Ohio University. He pitched for two seasons in the rookie league and was 0-2 with an 11.12 ERA. Pitcher Dick Tidrow was selected by the Senators right after Angott.

(18-342) Bob Moose – a pitcher from Franklin (HS) in Franklin, PA. With this pick the Pirates finally hit upon major league talent. Over his 10 year career Moose appeared in 289 major league games and 7 post season games, all with the Pirates. His best season was 1969 when he went 14-3 and had a 2.91 ERA.

(20-382) Gene Garber – another pitcher, this time from Elizabethtown (HS) in Elizabethtown, PA. Garber spent 19 years in the majors. He appeared in 931 games, 20 with the Pirates. He also appeared in 7 post season games. Garber was traded in 1972 to the Royals for Jim Rooker.

(22-421) Fred Patek – a shortstop from Seguin (HS) in Seguin, TX. Patek appeared in 1650 major league games over 14 seasons, 292 with the Bucs. He also played in 15 post season games, 1 with the Pirates. In 1970 he was traded along with Bruce Dal Canton and Jerry May to the Royals for Jim Campanis, Jackie Hernandez and Bob Johnson.

(23-439) Ralph Custer – a pitcher from James Madison (HS) in Vienna, VA. He posted an 11-22 record and a 3.47 ERA in 4 minor league seasons with the Pirates and Indians.

(24-457) Virgil Bentley – an outfielder from Washington (HS) in Washington, OH. He appeared in 2 rookie league games in 1965. Pitcher Steve Renko was selected by the Mets after Bentley.

(25-475) Roger Banze – a pitcher from Francis Howell (HS) in St. Charles MO. He compiled an 11-6 record with a 4.40 ERA over 5 minor league seasons.

(26-493) Tom Dettore – a pitcher from Cannon-McMillian (HS) in Canonsburg, PA. He didn’t sign after the ’65 draft. He was re-drafted by the Pirates in 1967 (didn’t sign) and again in 1968 when he eventually signed. He appeared in 12 games for the Bucs in 1973 and was 0-1 with a 5.96 ERA. In 1974 he was traded to the Cubs (along with cash) for Paul Popovich. Over the next three years in Chicago he appeared in 56 games, posting an 8-10 record.

(28-527) David Tolley – a 1B from Grove City College (PA). He played the 1965 season in Rookie ball and batted .254 with 6 home runs.

(30-561) Lou Marone – a pitcher from San Diego Mesa College. Marone played 2 major league seasons for the Pirates. He appeared in 30 games compiling a 1-1 record and a 2.63 ERA.

(31-577) Jim Nelson – a pitcher from Luther Burbank (HS) in Sacramento, CA. Over two major league seasons he appeared in 32 games for Bucs where he posted a 6-4 record with a 3.06 ERA.

(32-592) Benjamin Grove – an IF/OF from Frederick (HS) in Frederick, MD. He played in two minor league seasons and hit .223 over 82 games.

(33-607) Robert Roadarmel – a pitcher from Florida Southern College. He compiled a 5-13 record with a 4.19 ERA over 4 minor league seasons.

(35-634) David Warmbrod – It appears he was born in Tennessee, but the record is unclear as to where he was drafted from. In 4 minor league seasons for the Bucs he posted a 24-21 record with a 3.03 ERA.

(36-646) Gregory Marotz – a collegiate pitcher from Colgate University. Over four minor league seasons he compiled a 12-9 record with 3.59 ERA.

(40-694) Dennis Pierce – a pitcher Conserega (HS) in Swain, NY. Another 4 season minor leaguer who posted a 7-14 record with a 4.50 ERA.

The Pirates made 41 selections in that draft with decidedly mixed results. Seven of the players drafted never signed with the Bucs; those seven were also not re-drafted in subsequent drafts. Another six draftees failed to sign but were all selected in later years by other teams and played in those organizations. Of the 28 players that signed, six made it to the Majors with the Pirates. Those six MLB players played in a combined 3,000 games at that level, unfortunately only 675 of those games were actually played in a Bucs uniform. Five of the players were pitchers; Moose, Garber, Dettore, Marone and Nelson, while one was a field player, Patek. Three of those MLB players that started their careers with Pirates were traded; Garber, Patek and Dettore. Of the remaining three, Bob Moose died tragically and Lou Marone and Jim Nelson each only pitched two seasons for the Bucs. Perhaps even more disconcerting is the fact that only three of the other draftees ever made it as far as AAA. The majority of the draftees played at the Rookie or single A level before their baseball dreams ended.

Conversely The Kansas City A’s had a draft that included Rick Monday, Sal Bando and Gene Tenace. The Oakland A’s had a nice run of World Series titles with those players in the 70’s. Those three A’s players alone combined for 5560 MLB games, of which 2912 were played for the A’s. To be fair it was the first MLB draft and many other teams also passed on the likes of Bench, Ryan and Seaver. The Bucs did have some success in drafting players from their home state as Moose, Garber and Dettore were all “home grown” products. This draft appears to have started the Pirates’ trend of drafting high school pitchers as they selected 18. The only other selection of note from this draft was the (41-706) selection where the Bucs selected the 1965 Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett from USC, by the way he didn’t sign either.