Prior to the first game played by each of the new teams, a draft was held the year before for the new teams to attempt to put together a roster of players for the next season. The rules for the availability of players changed slightly from 1962 to 1998, but what was common was the opportunity for the new teams to decide which players they could use from the existing teams in MLB. Over a series of 14 posts, I will review the expansion drafts of each of these newer 14 teams. Included are trades made following the draft and which players were taken first overall. Without further due, here is a recap of the 1968 expansion draft for the Seattle Pilots.
MLB had promised a new franchise to Kansas City after the Athletics left there after only being there for 13 seasons. Of course, to keep all AL teams playing at the same time, another expansion team was needed. Seattle was given a franchise called the Pilots. The NL chose to expand also, with San Diego getting a franchise and MLB expanding into Canada for the first time with the creation of the Montreal Expos. This draft added 30 players to each of the four new teams. Each of the expansion teams could only select players from teams in their own leagues. With each league presently having 10 teams, that meant there would be six rounds causing each team to lose exactly six players. Because the Royals were not able to come to an agreement with their a couple of their 1968 draft picks, the draft was changed to help them out a little bit. Normally, the team that has the first overall selection, concedes the first selection of the second and third rounds, with the final rounds alternating between them. Though this was true in this case, the Royals were given the second and third selections of the 2nd and 3rd round of the expansion draft. This allowed Seattle to have consecutive picks of 2nd and 3rd overall in the first round.
The Royals selected Baltimore Orioles RHP Roger Nelson with the first overall pick in the 1968 expansion draft. The Pilots followed by taking their first player, 1B Don Mincher from the California Angels (2nd overall). They had the third pick as well, and used that to take Cleveland Indians OF Tommy Harper. The rest of the first round netted them Detroit Tigers SS Ray Oyler (5th), Chicago White Sox catcher Jerry McNertney (7th) and Minnesota Twins RHP Buzz Stephen.
The Pilots opened up the second round by taking Indians SS Chico Salmon (11th). They followed that up by taking Oakland Athletics LHP Diego Segui (14th) and White Sox OT Tommy Davis (16th). They also netted Twins RHP Marty Pattin (18th).
The third round got them Boston Red Sox RHP Gary Bell (21st). They also selected 3B Rich Rollins from the Twins (26th) and OF Lou Piniella from the Indians (28th). Their first pick of the 4th round was Baltimore Orioles catcher Larry Haney (32nd) and 5th round was Tigers OF Wayne Comer (41st). Also taken in the 5th round were Athletics RHP Skip Lockwood (46th) and New York Yankees LHP Gary Timberlake (48th). Their first pick of the 6th round was a guy by the name of Bob Richmond from the Washington Senators (51st). If I am not mistaken, Richmond never played a game professionally, even in the minor leagues. However, they took RHP Mike Marshall (53rd) from the Tigers, OF Jim Gosger (55th) from the Athletics and 3B Mike Ferraro (57th) from the Yankees. Their final pick was Angels RHP Paul Click (59th). The following is the entire expansion draft for the Seattle Pilots.
(1)Don MincherCalifornia Angels2nd
Tommy HarperCleveland Indians3rd
Ray OylerDetroit Tigers5th
Jerry McNertneyChicago White Sox7th
Buzz StephenMinnesota Twins9th
(2)Chico SalmonCleveland Indians11th
Diego Seguí Oakland Athletics14th
Tommy DavisChicago White Sox16th
Marty PattinCalifornia Angels18th
Gerry SchoenWashington Senators20th
(3)Gary BellBoston Red Sox21st
Jack AkerOakland Athletics24th
Rich RollinsMinnesota Twins26th
Lou PiniellaCleveland Indians28th
(4)Dick BatesWashington Senators30th
Larry HaneyBaltimore Orioles32nd
Dick BaneyBoston Red Sox33rd
Steve HovleyCalifornia Angels35th
Steve BarberNew York Yankees37th
John MiklosWashington Senators39th
(5)Wayne ComerDetroit TIgers41st
Bucky BrandonBoston Red Sox44th
Skip LockwoodOakland Athletics46th
Gary TimberlakeNew York Yankees48th
(6)Bob RichmondWashington Senators50th
John MorrisBaltimore Orioles52nd
Mike MarshallDetroit Tigers53rd
Jim GosgerOakland Athletics55th
Mike FerraroNew York Yankees57th
Paul ClickCalifornia Angels59th
The Pilots purchased 2B Marv Staehle from the Indians and RHP Jim Bouton from the Yankees. Salmon was traded to the Orioles for Gene Brabender and Gordy Lund. They also purchased 1B Mike Hegan from the Yankees. Piniella was traded to the expansion Royals for Steve Whitaker and John Gelnar. The following is the starting lineup for the 1969 Seattle Pilots:
Tommy Harper 2B
Mike Hegan RF
Tommy Davis LF
Don Mincher 1B
Rich Rollins 3B
Jim Gosger CF
Jerry McNertney C
Ray Oyler SS
Marty Pattin P
The Pilots finished in last place in the newly formed AL West division at 64-98. Manager Joe Schultz led the team, which clearly was missing talent. Their best offensive player was Mincher, who hit 25 HR and their best pitcher was Brabender, who went 13-14 in 40 games. Seattle paid the ultimate price for the season, as the team moved to Milwaukee. The only franchise that only lasted one season in a city in the history of MLB. The people of Seattle were pleased to find out that they would be granted another expansion, the Mariners, who would start play for the 1977 season. The Brewers, who the Pilots were now called, would stay in the AL through the 1997 season and have been in the NL ever since.