Professional sports teams have fought over the best talent since inception, and since the days of Si Griffis, the richest team often won. Enter the entry draft- a place where lousy teams still had a shot at scoring fine young bucks that could assist their club from the basement. But teams often had their own minor programs, like the one than sent Bobby Orr to Boston. It did take some time to catch on and rules had to be changed. Here are the first picks of the first drafts in their respective sports and what came of them.
Never dare to dream.
NFL - 1936 - Jay Berwanger - Philadelphia Eagles
Traded to Chicago, Mr. Berwanger decided that pro football was not his game. Blessed with intellect that added to the game itself, he became a known sportswriter and car parts innovator. However, what is best known about this Heisman honoree is the scar bestown upon the face of bulky future president Gerald Ford's face. Jay Berwanger was a multi-talent; his 1936 decathlon record at the University of Chicago broken 5 years after his death. He was a humble man and passed away in 2002 at the age of 88.
Major League Baseball - 1965 - Rick Monday - Kansas City Athletics
Tommy LaSorda, a scout for the LA Dodgers, wanted Rick Monday badly. He offered the high-school senior a whopping $20, 000 to go pro. He opted to go to college instead, winning accolades and the college World Series. All-in-all it was good. If Monday made the pros, he'd have a career; if not, he could go back and finish a degree. He went on to a 19 year pro career that included all-star selections and a real Mc
Coy World Series ring in 1981. In 1976, he was noted for stopping protesters from burning a flag as a visiting player at Dodgers Stadium to the applause of normally ornery fans.
Now long retired, you can hear Mr. Monday providing a voice to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a club he won his ring with.
NHL - 1963 - Garry Monahan - Montreal Canadiens
Early in the years of NHL drafts, most players were busts. A rare exception was 16 year old Garry Monahan. While he was no Ovechkin, he did have a formidable NHL career that began 4 years after his selection. With noted stints in Toronto and Vancouver, he provided size and work ethic. He became an early star in Japan until retirement at 35, after which he lent his colourful voice to Vancouver radio.
NBA - 1947 - Clifton McNeely - Pittsburgh Ironmen
A 28 year old gent who had served with the Army Air during World War II, McNeely led the NCAA in scoring at Texas Wesleyan. Choosing to not go pro, he became as great of high school coach as one could be. This PE teacher scored 4 Texas State Championships and is enshrined in the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame. At 74, he served as an assistant coach on the Houston Cougars and passed away in 2003 at age 84.