Where do the Best Baseball Players Come From?

General : : Blog
Jerry Ford        
Published: Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Perfect Game’s Anup Sinha wrote a great story awhile back for pgcrosschecker and it got me to thinking about things.

Anup’s story (The Draft and the Hall of Fame) revealed that there were 23 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame that were products of the draft. Johnny Bench being the first Hall of Famer to come out of the draft.

In chronological order, here are the 23 drafted Hall of Famers. The year they were drafted, the clubs that picked them and the round are noted. We’ve also added an extra wrinkle by including the players’ signing bonuses.

Year Player Pos. School Hometown Club (Round) Bonus Inducted
1965 Johnny Bench C Anadarko HS Binger, Okla. Reds (2) $6,000 1989
1965 Nolan Ryan RHP Alvin HS Alvin, Texas Mets (10) $12,000 1999
1966 Tom Seaver RHP U. of Southern California Fresno, Calif. *Braves (Jan./1) $40,000 1992
1966 Reggie Jackson OF Arizona State U. Wyandotte, Pa. Athletics (1) $80,000 1993
1967 Carlton Fisk C (No school) Charlestown, N.H. Red Sox (Jan./1) $10,000 2000
1970 Goose Gossage RHP Wasson HS Colorado Springs, Colo. White Sox (8) $8,000 2008
1970 Bruce Sutter RHP Donegal HS Mt. Joy, Pa. Senators (21) did not sign 2006
1971 Jim Rice OF Hannah HS Anderson, S.C. Red Sox (1) $30,000 2009
1971 George Brett 3B El Segundo HS El Segundo, Calif. Royals (2) $25,000 1999
1971 Mike Schmidt 3B Ohio U. Dayton, Ohio Phillies (2) $32,500 1995
1972 Dennis Eckersley RHP Washington Union HS Fremont, Calif. Indians (3) unavailable 2004
1972 Gary Carter C Sunny Hills HS Fullerton, Calif. Expos (3) $35,000 2003
1973 Robin Yount SS Taft HS Woodland Hills, Calif. Brewers (1) $60,000 1999
1973 Dave Winfield RHP/OF U. of Minnesota St. Paul, Minn. Padres (1) $65,000 2001
1973 Eddie Murray 1B Locke HS Los Angeles Orioles (3) $25,500 2003
1976 Rickey Henderson OF Technical HS Oakland Athletics (4) $10,000 2009
1976 Wade Boggs 3B H.B. Plant HS Tampa Red Sox (7) $7,500 2005
1977 Paul Molitor SS U. of Minnesota St. Paul; Minn. Brewers (1) $77,500 2004
1977 Ozzie Smith SS Cal Poly Los Angeles Padres (4) $5,000 2002
1978 Cal Ripken SS Aberdeen HS Aberdeen, Md. Orioles (2) $20,000 2007
1978 Ryne Sandberg SS North Central HS Spokane, Wash. Phillies (20) $25,000 2005
1981 Tony Gwynn OF San Diego State U. Long Beach, Calif. Padres (3) $25,000 2007
1982 Kirby Puckett OF Triton (Ill.) JC Chicago Twins (Jan./1) $20,000 2001
*Selected by Atlanta Braves in January, 1966 regular phase; selection was voided by commissioner’s office; New York Mets won rights to Seaver in three-team lottery

Where do the Hall of Fame members come from?

I spent some time researching the subject from a different angle. Of those 23 “drafted” players who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, it’s interesting to look at the home town/State they came from.

9 came from California
2 came from Minnesota
2 came from Pennsylvania
1 each came from Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Washington, Oklahoma, Ohio, Illinois, Maryland, Colorado and New Hampshire.

The low number of Hall of Famer’s from the state of Florida once again got me to thinking. So I checked the number of Hall of Fame members from a few various states. Here is the number of Hall of Fame members from those states. I think some will find this very interesting and maybe surprising! Especially as this represents what is suppose to be the top baseball people in history. Why would Florida be so low? That one surprised me!

NY – 27
PA – 23
CA – 20
IL – 19
OH – 18
TX - 16
MO – 10
IA – 7
OK - 6
GA – 5
MI – 5
FL – 4
WI – 4
MN – 3
AZ – 0

Someone mentioned that Florida’s low numbers could be due to the fact that the state was not heavily populated before the 50’s.

Where do Major League All Stars come from?

That made sense, so I thought I would check something a bit more recent. We are very aware of the large amount of talent in the state of Florida, so we thought we would look at last year’s (2008) MLB All Star rosters to see where the current top players came from. We know that Florida only trails California in overall number of professional players, so one would expect it would relate to things like the number of Hall of Famers or the MLB All Star rosters.

Once again, that list just showed the big difference between California and the rest of the country. It also showed that the top players are likely to come from any part of the country. Of course, the list revealed the impact that Latin America players have in the Major Leagues, especially the Dominicans. I really expected Florida to have a large number of players on this list, but it really didn’t end up quite the way I thought.

There were some other interesting numbers that popped up.

2008 Major League All Stars…
Signed out of high school – 23
Signed out of College DI – 22
Did not play College – 40
Signed as Free Agents - 17
Signed out of JC – 2
Signed out of DII – 1
Signed out of DIII – 2

And how about this…
Players born in warm weather states (not counting FA’s) – 20
Players born in cold weather states (not counting FA’s) – 25
Players from mid climate states - 4
Players who went to warm weather High Schools – 22
Players who went to cold weather High Schools - 23

12 all stars were born in a different state than the state they graduated from High School
56 were born in the same state where they graduated from High School.

Most all stars by state or foreign country they were born in
11 - Dominican Republic 16.4%
10 - California 14.9%
4 - Kentucky 6% (How about that!)
4 - Texas 6%
4 - Venezuela 6%
3 - Canada 4.5%
3 - Virginia 4.5%
2 - Florida 3%
2 - Georgia 3%
2 - Japan 3%
2 - Louisiana 3%
2 - Michigan 3%
2 - Washington 3%
1 - Arkansas 1.5%
1 - Arizona 1.5%
1 - Colorado 1.5%
1 - Massachusetts 1.5%
1 - Mexico 1.5%
1 - Minnesota 1.5%
1 - Missouri 1.5%
1 - North Carolina 1.5%
1 - New Jersey 1.5%
1 - New York 1.5%
1 - Ohio 1.5%
1 - Oklahoma 1.5%
1 - Panama 1.5%
1 - Puerto Rico 1.5%
1 - South Dakota 1.5%
1 - Tennessee 1.5%

Most all stars by state/country where they played high school
9 – California
9 – Dominican Republic
4 - Venezuela
4 – Texas
3 – Canada
3 – Florida
3 - Virginia
2 – Colorado
2 – Georgia
2 – Japan
2 – Kentucky
2 – Louisiana
2 – Michigan
2 – Missouri
2 - Washington
2 – New York
2 – Ohio
2 - Tennessee
1 - Arkansas
1 - Arizona
1 – Mexico
1 – Minnesota
1 - Nevada
1 – New Hampshire
1 – North Carolina
1 – Oklahoma
1 – Panama
1 – Puerto Rico

MLB all star rosters last year…

2008 American League All Stars
Last Name – State/country born and HS if different than ST born (where they signed out of)

Mauer – MN (HS)
Youkilis – OH (College DI)
Pedroia – CA (College DI)
Jeter – born NJ, HS MI (HS)
Rodriguez – born NY, HS FL (HS)
Hamilton – NC (HS)
Ramirez – born Dom Rep, HS NY (HS)
Suzuki – Japan (FA)
Ortiz – Dom Rep (FA)
Navarro – Venezuela (FA)
Varitek – born MI, HS FL (College DI)
Morneau – BC Canada (HS)
Kinsler – AZ (College DI)
Young – CA (College DII)
Crede – MO (HS)
Guillen – Venezuela (FA)
Longoria – CA (College DI)
Drew – GA (College DI)
Quentin – CA (College DI)
Sizemore – WA (HS)
Bradley – CA (HS)
Duchscherer - born SD, HS TX (HS)
Halladay – CO (HS)
Kazmir – TX (HS)
Lee – AR (College DI)
Nathan – born TX, HS NY (College DIII)
Papelbon – LA (College DI)
Rivera – Panama (FA)
Rodriguez – Venezuela (FA)
Santana – Dom Rep (FA)
Saunders – VA (College DI)
Sherrill – TN (College DI)
Soria – Mexico (FA)

2008 National League All Stars
Last Name – State/country born and HS if different than ST born (signed out of)

Soto – Puerto Rico (HS)
Berkman – TX (College DI)
Utley – CA (College DI)
Ramirez – Dom Rep (FA)
Jones – FL (HS)
Braun – CA (College DI)
Fukudome – Japan (FA)
Holliday – OK (HS)
Soriano – Dom Rep (FA)
Martin – Ont Canada (JC)
McCann – GA (HS)
Gonzalez – CA (HS)
Pujols – born Dom Rep, HS MO (JC)
Uggla – born KY, HS TN (College DI)
Ramirez – Dom Rep (FA)
Wright – VA (HS)
Guzman – Dom Rep (FA)
Tejada – Dom Rep (FA)
Hart – KY (HS)
Ludwick – born FL, HS NV (College DI)
McLouth – MI (HS)
Cook – born KY, HS OH (HS)
Dempster – BC Canada (HS)
Haren – CA (College DI)
Lidge – born CA, HS CO (College DI)
Lincecum – WA (College DI)
Marmol – Dom Rep (FA)
Sheets – LA (College DI)
Volquez – Dom Rep (FA)
Wagner – VA (College DIII)
Webb – KY (College DI)
Wilson – born MA, HS NH (College DI)
Wood – TX (HS)
Zambrano – Venezuela (FA)

I have no idea what any of this actually means, if anything at all, but it is fun to look at this stuff and think. One thing for sure… It shows that the best talent is likely to come from any part of the country and any climate, but there is no dispute about which state is #1, California as always ends up at the top of these type lists.
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