This Day in Twins History – October 15, 1968

The 1968 Major League Expansion Draft was held to stock the newly formed Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Pilots and the Minnesota Twins lose outfielders Bob Oliver and Pat Kelly, shortstop Jack Hernandez, and minor league pitcher Jerry Cram to the Kansas City Royals, and pitcher Buzz Stephen and 3B Rich Rollins to the Seattle Pilots.

The first two picks in the draft were pitcher Roger Nelson from the Baltimore Orioles chosen by the Kansas City Royals and 1B Don Mincher from the California Angels by the Seattle Pilots. By the way, did you know that the “Kansas City Royals” were named after the American Royal Livestock Show that has been held annually in Kansas City since 1899?

Buzz Stephen started two games for the Twins in 1968 pitching 11.1 innings and had a 1-1 record with a 4.76 ERA. Stephen was the first player chosen from the Minnesota Twins and was the ninth pick over all and the Pilots fifth pick but he never pitched for the Pilots or any big league team again.

Bob Oliver was the Royals 10th pick. Oliver had appeared in just 3 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates back in 1965 and then was traded to Minnesota in December of 1967 and spent all of 1968 with the Twins AAA Denver team before being taken by the Royals. Oliver ended up playing in the big leagues for all or part of eight seasons.

The 26th pick over-all belonged to the Seattle Pilots and they chose 8-year Twins veteran 3B Rich Rollins. “Red” had played in 888 games for the Twins between 1961-1968. Rollins played for the Pilots in 1969 and then finished his big league career with the Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians in 1970.

The 34th pick belonged to the Kansas City Royals and they chose Twins outfielder Pat Kelly. Kelly had played just 20 games for the Twins in 1967-1968. Kelly went on to have a nice 15 year big league career.

The Royals took Twins shortstop Jackie Hernandez with the 43rd over-all pick. The slick fielding no-hit shortstop had been a part-time player for the Twins in 1967-1968 and spent a total of 9 nine years in the bigs with four different teams.

The Twins lost their fifth and last player in this draft, minor league pitcher Jerry Cram when Kansas City took him with their 54th pick. Cram pitched in the big leagues briefly for between 1969, 1974-1976 appearing in only 23 games for the Royals and the New York Mets.

Although I  have not been able to verify it to be a fact, I have read several blogs that have stated that New York Yankee Hall of Fame outfielder Mickey Mantle was ‘unprotected” by New York Yankees in this draft but went unpicked. Mantle was at the end of his career by then and played his final season in 1968.

This entry was posted in This Day in Twins History and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.