I've always been very interested in the June amateur baseball draft through the years.
I was particularly psyched when Topps decided to have those "#1 Draft Pick" designations on those 1989 cards as a small sub-set.
How cool was it to see those draft picks on a card? Guys like Jim Abbot, Andy Benes, etc?
Well, I thought it would be kind of cool to create a sub-set for the 1979 set that would have all the #1 overall picks of every draft during the '70's.
I based the design off of Topps "Record Breaker" cards in the set, with minor tweaks here and there.
Today I'll start with the #1 overall pick in June of 1970, Mike Ivie, with all the other #1 picks to follow in the near future.
Take a look:
Ivie was taken first by the San Diego Padres out of Decatur, Georgia's Walker High School as a catcher.
Although he managed to make it up to the Majors at the age of 19 in 1971, appearing in 6 games, he was sent down to the Minors for the next few years before getting called back up in 1974.
1975 saw his first substantial playing time, playing in 111 games, good for 411 plate appearances, but it was nothing really to write home about, as he hit .249 with eight homers and 46 runs batted in. (In all fairness those were some terrible Padre teams however, and he wasn't surrounded by the best guys).
Sadly for him (and the Padres), that first "full" season would pretty much represent his output during his 11 year career.
In February of '78 San Diego traded Ivie to the Giants for Derrel Thomas, and in 1979 he gave San Francisco arguably his finest season, as he hit .286 with 27 homers and 89 runs batted in, doing so with only 402 official at-bats.
But that really would be it for Ivie as far as any substantial accomplishments on the big league level.
The Giants sent him to Houston during the 1981 season, playing sparsely until the Astros released him at the end of April, 1982.
After that he signed on with Detroit in May of the same year, but didn't manage much and was released about a year later, ending his career.
As far as 1st overall picks, Mike Ivie didn't pan out as the Padres hoped, but he did stick around for eleven years, good for 857 games, MUCH better than some of the other picks we'll see as I profile them one by one in the near future.
Stay tuned as we next look at the only guy to be a #1 overall pick TWICE in Major League history…