1967 Mets Draft Class Autographs

If at first you do succeed, the rest really doesn’t matter

Full list of 1967 Mets draft picks

1 Jon Matlack 2 Dan Carey 11 Jesse Hudson 38 Dave Schneck

In the third year of the amateur draft, the Mets had their least eventful group of selections yet. After getting lucky on Nolan Ryan in 1965 and infamously passing on Reggie Jackson with the first overall pick in 1966, the Mets took Jon Matlack with the fourth overall pick in 1967. Matlack would go on to be named Rookie of the Year in 1972 and put together one of the best pitching seasons to not get a single Cy Young vote in 1974. After a trade to the Rangers, he eventually began to break down as players tended to do in those days and opted for an early retirement at age 33. He has no certified autograph cards, so I leave this non-certified autograph here in the hopes of someday being able to replace it with something more official. And because without it, there would be nothing to see here. Because the rest of the draft was a bust.

The Mets actually did a pretty good job picking Matlack, who was one of only four star players to be taken in the first round. After that though, it got ugly; their next four picks failed to make the majors while other teams walked away with Vida Blue, Jerry Reuss, and Don Baylor in the second round and a handful of useful players in rounds 3-5. But that’s really where the 1967 draft ended. The Mets can’t be faulted too much for the rest of the draft, in which they signed only four players who would reach the majors, worth a total of -2.0 bWAR.

After the top 100 picks, the 1967 draft was an exercise in futility. 875 more players would be picked over 72 rounds, but many would fail to sign. Of those who did, only 25 made it to the majors, so the Mets’ four was better than most. And of the 21 others, only Rick Dempsey, Gary Lavelle, and Dusty Baker had any real success, plus Jim Willoughby, Mike Paul, Jack Brohamer, and John Wockenfuss if you lower your standard to a career total of 1 bWAR. That’s one even marginally useful player for every 125 picks. That the Mets failed to land even one with their remaining 55 picks is hardly surprising.

Looking at the Mets side of the 1967 draft alone paints a bleak picture of a franchise struggling at every aspect of the game. But a look at other teams’ results puts a positive spin on an organization that was building for a run at sustained contention. Only six of the 20 teams managed to sign multiple players who would rack up at least 1 bWAR over their career. And of those, only the Cardinals (Ted Simmons in round 1 and Jerry Reuss in round 2), Braves (Ralph Garr and Dusty Baker), Twins (Steve Brye in round 1, Dave Goltz, and Rick Dempsey), and Orioles (Bobby Grich in round 1 and Don Baylor in round 2) signed picks worth more than Matlack alone. The Mets did well in acquiring one of the top five players taken in the draft.

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