Simon: Picked one spot before Piazza, Al Bacosa aspires to be Hall of Fame dad

From SABR member Mark Simon at on January 7, 2016:

While Mike Piazza was getting ready for his mid-afternoon press conference to reveal the cap choice for his Hall of Fame plaque, Al Bacosa was at his photography studio in San Jose, getting ready to watch his son Kyle’s middle school basketball debut.

Bacosa is the answer to a neat trivia question. He was drafted in the 62nd round of the 1988 draft by the Atlanta Braves, 1,389th overall, one spot ahead of Piazza, the lowest drafted player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bacosa was a senior pitcher at San Jose State with a low-to-mid-90s fastball. He still remembers how he found out he was picked.

“You don’t forget that call,” he said. “My sister gave the phone to my dad. They told him he had been drafted. He said, ‘That’s cool, but I haven’t thrown a ball in 20 years.’ And then he gave me the phone.”

Bacosa recalls getting a signing bonus of about $3,500 (“I think Ted Turner paid me out of his own pocket,” he said), with a monthly salary of $575 and a deal on an apartment with wall-to-wall carpeting. His pro career was brief. He went 5-2 with a 4.35 ERA and six saves in the Pioneer League (rookie ball) with Idaho Falls. He could have gone to spring training the next year but declined, choosing instead to write a letter to then-Braves VP Hank Aaron explaining his decision to go back to school. Only one player from that Idaho Falls team made the majors, outfielder Tony Tarasco.

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Originally published: January 7, 2016. Last Updated: January 7, 2016.