Today in my thread of an imagined 1979 sub-set celebrating overall #1 draft picks from the decade, we reach 1976, and the amateur taken first by the Houston Astros, pitcher Floyd Bannister, out of Arizona State.
I have to say Bannister was pretty much the second most successful player taken first overall from the 1970's (the most successful hasn't been profiled yet-"hint hint").
Sadly for Houston, however, the success he found on the diamond was NOT for them!
Even though he made his Major League debut for Houston the year after being picked, he didn't really hit his stride until he played for the Seattle Mariners, where he became a solid starter, even leading the American League in strikeouts in 1982.
The very next year he joined the Chicago White Sox, for whom he had his best seasons as a pro.
In both 1983 and 1987 he posted a career high 16 wins, while also posting double-digit wins the other three years he played for them before moving on to Kansas City in 1988.
After going 12-13 that year, his career pretty much evaporated quickly, going 4-1 in only 14 starts before going under the knife and missing all of 1990.
He managed a couple of comebacks, with California in 1991 and Texas in 1992, but totaled only 62 innings between the two, and retired after that.
Nevertheless Bannister did manage to stick around as a dependable starter of sorts for 15 years, ending his career with a 134-143 record and 1723 strikeouts.
Twice he lead the A.L. in strikeouts-per-nine-innings (1983 and 1985), and made his only all-star appearance in 1982.
A little bit of a side-note: Bannisters senior year in high school was phenomenal, as he lead his school, Kennedy High School, to a state championship, going 15-0 with an incredible 0.00 earned run average! Whew!
Next up on my "#1 Overall Pick" sub-set, the clear-cut most successful future Major Leaguer taken #1 in the 1970's, Harold Baines, taken first by the Chicago White Sox.
Stay tuned for it…