Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mizzou Baseball History: John "Hi" Simmons on the MLB Draft

■ From the Columbia Missourian, February 11, 1966: College Baseball to Suffer from Major Leagues' Draft
Major league baseball will not polish its already somewhat tarnished image with the semi-annual draft it began last June, according to Missouri baseball coach John "Hi" Simmons.
. . .
Simmons described how a college coach with talented juniors and seniors on his squad would not be sure until his first game was played whether he would have those stars for the season. When the pros draft a player in January, they must sign him before his college campaign starts or they can't touch him until after his last game.

The problem is that the six month draft period ends May 31. After that the unsigned names go back into the pool. Because the NCAA playoffs are held in June, the major leagues will make every effort to sign their draftees before the college season begins if they think the boy's team has any chance at all of making the NCAA tourney.

College players cannot be drafted in their freshman and sophomore years unless they are 21, dismissed from school or a hardship financial case.

But after two years of college anything goes.

"If players develop too well too soon, we'll lose them, " Simmons said. "Eventually there may not be any seniors of superior baseball talent left in college."
. . .
The majors started the draft because bonuses were getting out of hand, often reportedly reaching the $175,000-$200,000 range. This was uncalled for, but the present situation is unfair to college baseball.

Simmons proposed a solution to the dilemma.

"The teams should judge talent a little better and shouldn't pay more than it's worth. If a team and a boy can't agree on terms, the team should pass him up."

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