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Looking Back at the Draft: 1984

February 21, 2010
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The year is 1984.

Ronald Reagan is re-elected president, carrying 49 of the 50 states in the electoral college. Transformers are introduced to the American public for the first time (more than meets the eye!) The Apple Macintosh computer is introduced. Iraq uses chemical weapons against Iran in their ongoing border war. Terrorists kidnap, torture and murder CIA Beirut Station Chief William Buckley. The Brewers and White Sox get together and play a 25-inning baseball game, the longest in MLB history. The summer Olympics are held in Los Angeles, with the Soviet Union boycotting the games. Hizballah attacks the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut with a car bomb, killing 22. Brady Quinn is born, and declares his love for the Cleveland Browns. LeBron James is born, and immediately hits a step-back three in the doctor's face. The Indians finish 75-87 behind Bert Blyleven's 19-7 record and 2.87 ERA.

Indians 1st round pick: None other than Corey Snyder, outfielder out of BYU. I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for Snyder. He and Bernie Kosar were my first "favorite players" from the Indians and Browns, respectively. As a 23-year old rookie in 1986, Snyder went for a line of .272/24/69 in just 416 AB's. The future was bright for the young Indians outfielder, and he and Joe Carter would appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated the next April under the title "Indian Uprising." SI told the world to "Believe It!"; that the 1987 Indians were the best team in the AL. They of course responded by going 61-101, although Snyder did hit 33 homers that year. As talented of a hitter as Snyder was, he never really learned how to take a walk. He posted an OBP over .300 just once in his nine year major league career. A versatile and talented athlete, Snyder played outfielder, shortstop, third base and first base throughout his career.

Best 1st round pick: The 1st round of the 1984 draft was loaded with major leaguers, especially in comparison to the previous three. PED's or not, Mark McGwire and his 583 career home runs proved to be the best pick of the 1st round, going 10th overall to Oakland.

Honorable mention: Jay Bell had a solid career at shortstop after going 8th overall to the Twins...Terry Mulholland had a 20-year major league career, but not much of it was spent with the Giants, who took him in the 1st round...Oddibe McDowell, who may have been the most-drafted player in history, finally signed with the Rangers after they chose him 12th overall; it was the sixth time McDowell had been drafted by an MLB franchise since graduating from high school.

Indians best pick: Has to be Snyder. Finished with 149 career homers, which is 149 more than any other player signed by the Tribe that year.

Honorable mention: John Farrell was the only other player signed by the Indians that year who won a game in the major leagues. Still, getting Snyder and Farrell is a far sight better than any of the previous Indians drafts we've looked at so far. The Indians weren't the only ones who struggled; both the Mets and Orioles only signed one player who made it to the show. Each franchise's 1st round draft pick made it, and no one else from their 1984 draft.

Best early round picks: Both Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were selected and signed in the 2nd round, by the Cubs and Braves respectively; thus the seeds for the 1995 Indians defeat in the World Series were sowed in June of 1984...continuing the theme of taking pitchers in the 2nd round who would someday pitch against the Indians in the World Series, the Yankees selected and signed future Marlin Al Leiter...Houston selected future NL MVP Ken Caminiti in the 3rd round...the Cardinals took speedster Lance Johnson in the 6th round, although he would go on to do most of his damage for the White Sox...Pittsburgh took Jay Buhner in the 2nd round of the January phase of the draft.

Best late round picks: The Angels got a steal with power-hitting outfielder Dante Bichette in the 17th round...St. Louis took Jeff Fassero in the 22nd round.

The ones that got away: Future Cy Young winner "Black" Jack McDowell was selected but not signed in the 20th round by the Red Sox...Chuck Finley was selected by the Angels in the 15th round, but didn't sign until they picked him again with the 4th overall pick in 1985...the Mets took John Wetteland in the 12th round but were unable to sign him...Cleveland selected Mike Deveraux in the 26th round but they couldn't come to terms.

Other interesting picks: The Pittsburgh Pirates took Alex Cole and his rec-specs in the 11th round out of Manatee JC in Florida, but were unable to come to terms with either...Luis "Funky Cold" Medina was chosen but not signed by the Astros in the 1st round of the June secondary draft...Tim Belcher, who failed to sign with the Twins in 1983, was snapped up by the Yankees with the #1 overall pick in the January 1984 draft; soon after signing a contract, the A's acquired him through a loophole in baseball's "compensation draft." The compensation draft was soon abolished, and the Yankees were compensated with a 1st round pick in 1985.

Indians June draft:

1. Corey Snyder, OF
2. John Farrell, RHP
3. Kurt Dempster, RHP
4. Todd Brown, OF
5. Pete Cargnailla, SS
6. Andrew Robertson, RHP
7. Ken Galloway, LHP
8. Chris Kahler, RHP
9. Rozier Jordan, OF
10. Bill Leslie, 3B
11. Charles Hardwick, LHP
12. Reggie Coker, OF
13. Joe Stephenson, RHP
14. Mark Hopkins, C
15. Mark Hardy, OF
16. Randy McCament, RHP
17. Mark Gardner, RHP
18. Rick Sharp, RHP
19. Mark Malizia, OF
20. Dain Syverson, SS/C
21. Sean Grubb, RHP
22. James McMahan, SS/3B
23. Mike Shellnut, RHP
24. Ward Merdes, LHP
25. Brian Dodd, LHP
26. Mike Deveraux, OF
27.Bob Dombrowski, SS
28. Chris Norman, RHP
29. William Jenkins, OF
30. Michael Tolleson, OF
31. Scott Fricks, C
32. Tommy Gregg, OF
33. Steve Clinton, SS
34. Rich Martig, INF
35. Damon Tyson, SS
36. Paul List, OF
37. Rock Hurst, C
38. Ken Rahming, 1B/3B
39. Lonnie Phillips, RHP
40. Mark DiFrancisco, RHP
41. Tommy Decker, C
42. Charles Wacha, RHP
43. John Pust, SS
44. Mark Reed, RHP
45. Jeff Plympton, RHP
46. KevinChenail, RHP
47. David Lelievre, C
48. Brad DeJardin, 1B

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