Kelloggs Cards

Kelloggs Cards

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The 1974 Drafts - Little League and Big League

The MLB Draft occurred on this day in 1974.  Future stars drafted on that day included Dale Murphy, Willie Wilson and Mark Fidrych.  I'm sure that there was lots of drama and excitement in their houses and neighborhoods centering around the draft.

In my neighborhood there was always drama about the Little League draft.  The 1974 draft was a big one for me and my friends who played baseball every day together.  Parents who volunteered to coach would get together to figure out the teams for the upcoming season.  Most of our leagues were determined solely by age.  Ages 5-8 had a league as did 13 - 15.  Between those two it varied.  Nine-year-olds played in what we called "the minors" while 12-year-olds played in "the majors".  Those between would play in either league depending on whether a coach from the majors drafted them.

Complicating our draft was the rule that players remained on their previous year's team if they weren't moving up to a higher level.  In this prehistoric, pre-internet world the way one found out what team they were on was by getting a phone call from the coach announcing the first practice.  That was a stressful time for all of us.

Without texting we still found out quickly what was happening.  How?  Younger readers might not understand this, but we'd leave our house and talk to our friends.  I remember when a friend from across the street came out to mention that he was going to be on the Rangers, a team in the majors.  Then another mentioned his team in the majors.

I remember the disappointment of being told that I would be once again on the Dodgers, a team that only played in the minors.  That made me a Dodger for a third straight year.  I knew that meant another year of playing first base and batting sixth with the same coach.  That made me one of the older kids in the league while most of my friends got the call to the majors.  The Frosted Flakes didn't taste good for about a week.  

I was one of the tallest kids in the league and a lefty.  They never did try me at pitching which was fine by me.  In our daily games the youngest kids were pitchers.  I remember not enjoying that since the mound was too close and the biggest kids would rocket the ball past me.  I was glad to quickly grow out of that position by showing I could play the outfield.

1 comment:

  1. I was looking for the post about the beginning-of-the-season parade. I think the parade, at least when I played, was on a Saturday before the season started. We didn't have a game on those days, but met in a parking lot to decorate the cars and then cruise the neighborhood. One year after the emotional high of the parade, I came home and was sent back out to collect for the newspaper dues. Talk about a buzzkill.

    America used to have a baseball culture....