We have recently been revisiting the No. 1 overall picks from each decade. Having already taken a look at 2010-19, 2000-09, the 1990s and the 1980s, let’s turn our attention to the ’70s. As you’ll see below, when it comes to top overall selections, it was a disappointing decade…
1970 – Mike Ivie, C, Padres:
- There were only two eventual All-Stars from the opening round of the ’70 draft, and Ivie wasn’t one of them (those honors went to Darrell Porter and Bucky Dent). But that’s not to say Ivie didn’t have his moments. He was a 27-home run hitter with the Giants in 1979, and ended up slashing a decent .269/.324/.421 (108 wRC+) with 81 homers and 7.5 fWAR in a combined 2,962 plate appearances with the Pads, Giants, Astros and Tigers from 1971-83. While Ivie was drafted as a catcher, he saw almost no action there in the bigs, instead getting the majority of his reps at first base.
1971 – Danny Goodwin, C, White Sox:
- George Brett (29th) and Mike Schmidt (30th) are among the luminaries from this draft class. But the White Sox went with Goodwin, whom they failed to sign because he chose to play college baseball instead. They weren’t the last team to make the mistake of taking him at No. 1. More on that later.
1972 – Dave Roberts, 3B, Padres:
- No, not the current Dodgers manager, who also happens to be an ex-Padres player and skipper. Aside from pitcher, the Dave Roberts who went No. 1 played every position on the diamond during his career from 1972-82, but he never provided the Padres, Rangers, Astros or Phillies much value as a hitter. Roberts batted .239/.286/.357 (81 wRC+) with 0.6 fWAR in 2,189 trips to the plate.
1973 – David Clyde, LHP, Rangers:
- Clyde garnered tons of hype coming out of high school, but injuries played a role in what became a letdown of an MLB career. He appeared with the Rangers in five different seasons and only managed a 4.63 ERA with 4.93 K/9 against 3.89 BB/9 over 416 1/3 innings. Clyde went two picks before Robin Yount and three ahead of Dave Winfield. Yount and Winfield are now in the Hall of Fame.
1974 – Bill Almon, SS, Padres:
- The Padres had three of the first five No. 1 overall picks of the ’70s, but none of them turned out particularly well. Almon had a long career – he played with San Diego, the White Sox, Oakland, Pittsburgh, the Mets, Philadelphia and Montreal from 1974-88 – but hit a meek .254/.305/.343 (82 wRC+) with 2.5 fWAR in 3,659 PA. The Padres chose Almon four picks before the Braves hit a home run (398 of them, to be exact) with Dale Murphy at No. 5.
1975 – Danny Goodwin, C, Angels:
- You have to be a pretty good prospect to go No. 1 twice in a half-decade, but Goodwin never made a mark in the majors. The former catcher spent just about all of his time in the field as a first baseman and hit .236/.301/.373 (84 wRC+) with minus-1.2 fWAR across 707 PA among the Angels, Twins and Athletics. If it’s any consolation for the Angels, not one of that year’s other 23 first-rounders ever made an All-Star team.
1976 – Floyd Bannister, LHP, Astros:
- Bannister enjoyed a nice career with the Astros, Mariners, White Sox, Royals, Angels and Rangers from 1977-92, during which he combined for a 4.06 ERA and 30.8 fWAR in 2,388 innings. He was a one-time All-Star during that run; notably, he’s the father of Brian Bannister, who also pitched in the majors. Brian’s now the director of pitching for the Giants.
1977 – Harold Baines, OF, White Sox:
- Baines is the lone Hall of Famer in this group, though there has been plenty of debate over whether he should actually be in Cooperstown. Regardless, you can’t deny Baines put up a far better career than most who have set foot on an MLB diamond. As a member of several teams (mostly the White Sox) from 1980-2001, Baines batted .289/.356/.465 (119 wRC+) with 389 homers and 38.4 fWAR in just under 11,100 PA.
1978 – Bob Horner, 3B/1B, Braves:
- Horner had an odd career, but it was a pretty solid one. After posting a line of .278/.339/.508 (127 wRC+), hitting 215 homers and recording 19.4 fWAR in Atlanta from 1978-86, he left to play in Japan in ’87. Horner was tremendous that year with the Yakult Swallows, but he returned stateside the next season to join the Cardinals. Horner struggled then, though, and it proved to be his last season. Years later, he was a key figure in a fight against MLB owners’ collusion.
1979 – Al Chambers, OF, Mariners:
- The last No. 1 selection of the decade didn’t live up to the pick at all. Chambers totaled a meager 141 PA in the majors, all with the Mariners from 1983-85, and hit .208/.326/.292 (77 wRC+) with two HRs and minus-0.5 fWAR.