Before today's amateur draft, let's have a little fun. The most fun with the draft, in fact, comes with the goofy tidbits that have turned up over its 36 years. These are the dozen factoids that every draft fan must know:
In the weeks leading up to the amateur draft, Alan Schwarz of Baseball America magazine did a number of stories on draft-related issues.
Lots of picks: A bonanza?
The A's have seven of the first 39 picks in the amateur draft, but such a bonanza isn't always a good thing.
Trading picks makes sense
The time has arrived for baseball to reconsider its stance and permit teams to trade draft picks.
While there are still some things that need to be worked out, baseball is close to establishing a worldwide draft.
The best No. 1 overall picks ever? Have to be Alex Rodriguez and then Ken Griffey Jr., taken by the Mariners in 1993 and 1987, respectively. (A close third is Chipper Jones, the Braves' No. 1 pick in 1990.) The worst busts at the top spot? The New York teams duke it out with Steve Chilcott (Mets, 1966) and Brien Taylor (Yankees, 1991). The Mets will forever lament choosing Chilcott -- they passed on Arizona State outfielder Reggie Jackson, who went No. 2 to the Kansas City A's.
One player has been the No. 1 overall pick twice: Danny Goodwin was chosen with the top selection in 1971 by the White Sox as a hard-hitting high school catcher, but he enrolled at Southern University instead. Four years later, Goodwin was drafted No. 1 and signed by the Angels. All that, and he wound up playing just 252 big-league games, batting .236 with 13 home runs.
In one of the draft's oddest twists, the two best third basemen ever, Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and George Brett, were drafted consecutively in June 1971. It wasn't even in the first round -- the Royals tabbed Brett with the fifth pick of the second round out of El Segundo (Calif.) High, and the Phillies followed by taking Schmidt out of Ohio University.
Speaking of the Phillies, their draft record before 1993 was horrible (remember Trey McCall and Jeff Jackson? Didn't think so), but since Mike Arbuckle arrived as scouting director it's been fantastic. In fact, all 11 of his first- and second-rounders from 1993-97 have reached the majors, including Scott Rolen and Jimmy Rollins.
The Tigers' June 1976 draft could be considered the best ever. Detroit signed seven future major leaguers, including Alan Trammell (second round), Dan Petry (fourth) and Jack Morris (fifth). The club's seventh-round pick, who didn't sign, was a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo shortstop named Ozzie Smith.
Everyone knows that Mets catcher Mike Piazza was a 62nd-round afterthought by the Dodgers in 1988. (Other low-round stars include Ryne Sandberg, a 20th-rounder by the Phillies in 1978; Don Mattingly, a 19th-rounder by the Yankees in 1979; and Jose Canseco, a 15th-rounder by the A's in 1982.) The lowest-drafted player ever to make the majors? Devil Rays right-hander Travis Phelps went in the 89th round in 1996. Phelps' record, in fact, will probably never be broken: With the draft now limited to 50 rounds, few players in the minors remain who were drafted any later than the 89th round.
Then there are the guys who fall so far in the draft that they don't even get picked. Many former first-rounders would kill to have the careers of these guys, all signed by teams after going through the draft unselected: Bobby Bonilla (Pirates, 1981), Mike Bordick (A's, 1986), Dan Quisenberry (Royals, 1975), Bruce Sutter (Cubs, 1971) and Frank White (Royals, 1971). Twenty-nine players on 2002 Opening Day rosters were signed as undrafted free agents.
Three times in draft history, one high school produced two first-rounders the same year. In 1972, Rancho Cordova (Calif.) High had Jerry Manuel (the current White Sox manager) and Mike Ondina. In 1997, Michael Cuddyer and John Curtice both were produced by Great Bridge High in Chesapeake, Va. A third came two years ago, as Rancho Bernardo (Calif.) High's Scott Heard and Matt Wheatland both went in the first round.
Believe it or not, one woman has been selected in the draft. Carey Schueler, the daughter of then-White Sox general manager Ron Schueler, was taken in the 43rd round by her dad in 1994. She enrolled at De Paul University on a basketball scholarship.
The most stacked college team ever? Arizona State's 1976 squad saw 26 of its 27 players eventually get drafted, including 13 major leaguers. Two No. 1 overall picks played on that team: Floyd Bannister (Astros, 1976) and Bob Horner (Braves, 1978). The most-drafted high school team was probably last year's Seminole (Fla.) High, which had six players selected. The top draftee was first baseman Casey Kotchman, who went 13th overall to the Angels.
Brothers have been taken in the first round of the same draft only once, when outfielder J.D. Drew was taken No. 2 overall by the Phillies in 1997 and his younger brother Tim, a right-handed pitcher, went to the Indians at No. 28.
Does your favorite NFL team need a quarterback? Perhaps it should pay attention to this year's baseball draft. More than a dozen future standout signal-callers have been picked in hopes they would play baseball, including John Elway (second round, Yankees, 1981); Archie Manning (third round, White Sox, 1971); Dan Marino (Royals, fourth round, 1979); Kenny Stabler (second round, Astros, January 1968); and Joe Theismann (Twins, 39th round, 1971).
Alan Schwarz is the Senior Writer of Baseball America magazine and a regular contributor to ESPN.com.