Special Report

Deepest Drafts in Sports History

Deepest draft classes in MLB history:
Source: Getty Images

5. 1967 MLB Draft
> Top overall pick: Ron Blomberg
> Total Hall of Famers: 2
> Best player: Carlton Fisk

The 1967 MLB Draft featured two catchers who made it to the Hall of Fame — Carlton Fisk and Ted Simmons. Simmons, who was voted in posthumously in 2020, made eight All-Star games as a catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers. Fisk caught for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox for 24 years, making 11 All-Star games. Several other 1967 draftees had great careers, like pitcher and 1971 AL MVP Vida Blue, Gold Glove second baseman Bobby Grich, and Darrell Evans.

Source: Jonathan Daniel / Allsport / Getty Images

4. 1971 MLB Draft
> Top overall pick: Danny Goodwin
> Total Hall of Famers: 3
> Best player: Mike Schmidt

The alumni of the 1971 MLB Draft racked up dozens of major awards, honors, and championships. Pitchers Frank Tanana, Ron Guidry, and Steve Rogers all posted the best ERA in their league at least once in their careers. Four different batters from this legendary draft class won MVP as well. Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt won three MVPs, 10 Gold Gloves, and made 12 All-Star games. Royals legend George Brett, Red Sox Hall of Famer Jim Rice, and 42nd round pick Keith Hernandez each won an MVP as well.

Source: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

3. 1999 MLB Draft
> Top overall pick: Josh Hamilton
> Total Hall of Famers: N/A
> Best player: Albert Pujols

Many of the best players from the 1999 MLB Draft were pitchers who had their best moments in the World Series. John Lackey won titles with the Angels, Red Sox, and Cubs. Josh Beckett and Jake Peavy each won a pair of World Series titles in their careers, and Cy Young winner Barry Zito won a ring with the 2012 San Francisco Giants.

The best batter from the 1999 class is Albert Pujols, who has two titles and three MVPs from his time with the Cardinals. Top overall pick Josh Hamilton’s career was sidetracked by addiction issues, but he eventually came back to baseball, winning the 2010 AL MVP as a Texas Ranger. Other batters drafted in 1999 like Carl Crawford, Shane Victorino, Brandon Phillips and Brian Roberts all made multiple All-Star games during their careers.

Source: Rick Stewart / Getty Images

2. 1981 MLB Draft
> Top overall pick: Mike Moore
> Total Hall of Famers: 1
> Best player: Tony Gwynn

One of the best hitters of all time, Tony Gwynn, had to wait until the third round of the 1981 MLB Draft to be selected. In his Hall of Fame career, he won eight batting titles and retired with a career .338 batting average. Though Gwynn never won a World Series, other notable 1981 draftees like Fred McGriff, Devon White, and Lenny Dykstra each took home at least one title. Many of the best pitchers from that year experienced postseason success as well. Sid Fernandez, Frank Viola, and Mark Gubicza all won a championship, while Blue Jays and Yankees pitcher David Cone won five.

Source: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images


1. 1985 MLB Draft
> Top overall pick: B.J. Surhoff
> Total Hall of Famers: 3
> Best player: Barry Bonds

Some of the greatest baseball players of all time were drafted in 1985. Second round pick Randy Johnson won five Cy Young awards in his Hall of Fame career, while fellow Hall of Famer John Smoltz wasn’t drafted until the 22nd round. Barry Larkin is, so far, the only batter from the 1985 draft class elected to the Hall of Fame, though the most impactful player drafted that year was Barry Bonds. Bonds won a record seven NL MVPs and racked up 762 home runs in his career — the most all time. Yet he and fellow 1985 draftee Rafael Palmeiro have been kept out of Cooperstown for their links to performance-enhancing drugs.