Tuesday, July 10, 2007

? No. 6: Skipping the minors entirely

The list of major league players who skipped the minors entirely is short. There are plenty of Hall of Famers, from Koufax and Killebrew to Sisler and Yount. There are a few highly touted prep stars who went on to mediocre careers, like Pete Incaviglia, Moe Drabowsky, and Darren Dreifort. Plus a few who went on to relatively distinguished careers, like Bob Horner and John Olerud. There's one notable black player who went straight from the Negro Leagues to the big leagues — Ernie Banks. And there's even a one-handed pitcher — Jim Abbott.

But today's trivia question doesn't involve any of them. I want to know who the most recent player is to have skipped the minors. Here's a few clues. He was originally drafted in 1997 by the Cardinals in the fourth round, but opted to attend the University of California instead. After slugging .729 in college, he was taken in the second round of the 2000 draft by the Padres. Here's where the loophole comes into play: This player signed a major league contract, and played one game in the majors — in which he singled and scored a run in his lone plate appearance — before going to the minors for a few seasons. (So, he's only on this list due to a technicality.) In the minors, he was the Padres 2001 minor league player of the year. Since his rookie campaign in 2003, he's played for the Padres, Mets, and Pirates, primarily manning the outfield. He currently has 56 career home runs. Who is he?

Yesterday's Answer: A two-time All-Star with a career postseason ERA of 2.47, two World Series rings, 287 career wins, and 3,701 career strikeouts — Bert Blyleven. Bert allowed 96 home runs combined during the 1986 and '87 seasons. Granted that was in over 538 innings pitched and toward the end of his career. Throughout the first two-thirds of his career, he never allowed more than 24 homers in a season. The Metrodome was not so kind to him.


Don Gerard said...

These are HARD!

...um...Ida Lupino?

I believe in the early days of "bonus babies" (early 60's?) teams were required to put any player who received a "signing bonus" on their ML roster.

youthlarge said...

my first thought was xavier nady, but has he only been in the league since 2003? we miss you x-man!!!

Listmaker said...

i'm going to go with nady as well.

Jonathan Murphy said...

Now it is mister Mike Leake of the Reds.