I love the draft because it is a culmination of all the hard work and effort of the scouts, who I have always said are the backbone of our game. I also love it because it gives a new crop of young ballplayers the opportunity to realize their dreams. The kids who are drafted today have been working towards this day for a long time, and I am very happy for them and their families.
Being draft day, I can remember the 1968 draft, which for the Dodgers was probably our best ever. We drafted Bill Buckner, Bobby Valentine, Steve Garvey, Tom Paciorek, Joe Ferguson, Doyle Alexander, Sandy Vance, and the “Penguin” Ron Cey just to name a few. Back then there were more than 70 rounds; today we’ll only draft about 50 players.
That draft was engineered by the great Al Campanis who at that time was our scouting director, and Buzzie Bavasi who was the general manager. Both men were tremendous baseball men with knowledge, insight and instinct into what makes a great ballplayer.
Think about all those years of big league service of the players I named above: Buckner (22), Garvey (19), Tom Paciorek (18), Joe Ferguson (14), Doyle Alexander (19), and Ron Cey (17).
To produce that much big league talent in one draft is outstanding, and I really hope Logan White and his staff can duplicate 1968. I have faith in our scouts, and I’ve seen how tirelessly they’ve worked to find the best talent in this year’s draft.