Wednesday, December 1, 2010

No. 1 Overall

     Before the current season began, Derrick Rose of the Bulls asked, "Why can't I be the MVP?" Judging by his sensational performance so far, the answer would have to be "No particular reason."
     If Rose ever does win the Most Valuable Player award, he would become the first Chicago athlete to do so after also being selected with the first overall pick in his league's annual draft. Two such players have made it to the Hall of Fame, and both were drafted by teams that no longer exist--Charley Trippi by the NFL's Chicago Cardinals and Walt Bellamy by the NBA's Chicago Packers.
     The draft is an inexact science in every sport, and as often as not the first overall pick fails to justify the expectations placed upon him. Below is the list of players in whom Chicago teams have invested the hopes, not to mention dollars, that go with the first overall draft choice. Some panned out, and some did not.

National Football League (draft established 1936)

1941 - Tom Harmon, halfback, Michigan
1947 - Bob Fenimore, halfback, Oklahoma State

1939 - Ki Aldrich, center, TCU
1940 - George Cafego, fullback, Tennessee
1945 - Charley Trippi, halfback, Georgia
1958 - King Hill, quarterback, Rice

National Basketball Association (draft established 1947)

1961 - Walt Bellamy, center, Indiana

1962 - Bill McGill, center/forward, Utah

1999 - Elton Brand, forward, Duke
2008 - Derrick Rose, guard, Memphis

National Hockey League (draft established 1963)

2007 - Patrick Kane, London Knights (Ontario Hockey League)

Major League Baseball (draft established 1965)

1982 - Shawon Dunston, shortstop, Jefferson High School, Brooklyn, NY

White Sox:
1971 - Danny Goodwin, catcher, Peoria Central High School, Peoria, IL
1977 - Harold Baines, first baseman, St. Michael High School, Easton, MD

Mildly Interesting Trivia Department: Danny Goodwin was drafted first overall by the White Sox in 1971, but elected not to sign and enrolled at Southern University. In 1975, having completed his college career, Goodwin was drafted first overall again--this time by the California Angels. He is the only athlete in any sport to go No. 1 overall more than once.

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