Neyer: The 1968 Dodgers and the greatest draft class in history

From SABR member Rob Neyer at The National Pastime Museum on June 9, 2017:

It’s rare for a single draft to clearly determine the long-term fortunes of a franchise. When that does happen, it’s generally because of a single great draft pick. What would the Royals have been without George Brett? The Mariners without Ken Griffey Jr. For gosh sakes, the Pirates without Barry Bonds.

In 2009, the Cardinals drafted Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly, Matt Carpenter, Trevor Rosenthal, and Matt Adams, all of whom would play, beginning three years later, significant roles in the fortunes of the franchise. That draft was so great, I put together an entire oral history about it.

But with all due respect to Matt Carpenter and his fellow ’09 draftees, they will not match the achievements of the players drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968. They won’t nearly match those achievements. Because what the Dodgers’ front office accomplished in 1968 would essentially determine the club’s fortunes throughout the 1970s and the early 1980s, including four National League pennants and one World Championship.

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Originally published: June 9, 2017. Last Updated: June 9, 2017.