I am going with a truly awesome card this week for #MyCardMonday. This might hurt a little bit if you're a Cardinals fan, but we all have a card like this in our collection. You know the routine: "We took this guy in the draft" or "Do you know who we could have drafted instead of this player". Seriously though, this card doesn't bother me too much.
Every Cardinals fan who followed the team closely in the 1990s knows the name Paul Coleman. After a bad 1988 season the team had a great draft slot in the 1989 amateur draft. Picking sixth in a draft that had plenty of good talent and lots of names behind the consensus first pick (Orioles) LSU pitcher Ben McDonald. The Braves took Tyler Houston, the Mariners took Roger Salkeld, Phillies Jeff Jackson, and the Rangers Donald Harris bringing the draft to the Cardinals pick.
And they took Coleman. After reading the back of his first baseball card I still get excited to see him make up to Busch Stadium. Maybe he will push Gilkey or Lankford for a job in a few years, right?
Built like Bo Jackson. Legend. 500 foot home runs. 21 strikeout game. 1000 yard season. Ozzie Smith. Vince Coleman. Cannot wait for this kid to get to the Majors.
About that. Coleman ended up spending five years in the Cardinals minor league system and only managed to play more than 100 games twice. His career Minor League line is .250/.308/.374 with 28 home runs, 84 doubles, and 169 RBIs. He made it as far as Double A with the Cardinals in 1993 before disappearing for the 1994 and 1995 seasons and reemerging for 94 games in an independent league in 1996. It sounds like he was hurt a lot and did not pan out. Further, it was a bad draft for the Cardinals.
In 56 rounds the Cardinals picked six players who reached the Majors. 20th round draft pick Bill Hurst, household name, had the highest career WAR of the group with a mark of 0.1. He pitched 2 innings for the 1996 Florida Marlins. You might also know Tripp "Homer" Cromer who was picked in the third round and hit 12 Major League Home Runs. Someone had a bad day at Busch Stadium during the 1989 MLB Draft.
So, here's the part that really hurts. I mentioned who was drafted before Paul Coleman in the draft. McDonald had a decent career for the Orioles and Brewers and Tyler Houston made it to the Majors as a serviceable catcher, but there were other teams that had misses there too. After Coleman, teams seemed to fair a little better. The White Sox picked Frank Thomas, Expos Charles Johnson, Brewers Cal Eldred, Red Sox Mo Vaughn, and the Twins picked Chuck Knoblauch. In later rounds Tim Salmon, Shane Reynolds (second mention this week), John Olerud, Denny Naegle, Jeff Bagwell, Ryan Klesko, J.T. Snow, and Trevor Hoffman all came off the board.
It's painful for Cardinals fans to remember the legend of Paul Coleman, but every team has had a big draft bust or a draft pick where they passed on someone to draft someone else that looks regrettable years later. See Tim Beckham instead of Buster Posey, Brett Lawrie, Lance Lynn, etc.
Who is your favorite teams biggest draft bust?