Oakland A’s history: Remembering Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin holds the distinction of being the only person drafted with the first overall pick in the MLB Draft twice. His career was not what anyone expected.

It is a rare honor to be taken with the first overall selection in the MLB Draft. While that does not guarantee a successful career, it is still a special moment that few players realize. And then there was Danny Goodwin, the only player in MLB Draft history to be taken with the first overall selection twice.

An intriguing prospect as a high school catcher, Goodwin was selected with the first overall pick in the 1971 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox. However, he decided to head to Southern University & A&M College. His collegiate career was a success, as he was a three time All American, and was named the Sporting News College Player of the Year in 1975. He was then taken by the Angels with the first overall selection in that year’s draft, receiving a then record $150,000 signing bonus.

The Angels rushed Goodwin to the majors as quickly as possible. They aggressively assigned him to the AA El Paso Diablos, where he performed reasonably well with the bat, earning a late season call up. Goodwin had one hit in ten at bats, striking out five times as he was clearly not ready for the majors.

After spending the entire 1976 season in the minors, Goodwin split the next two seasons between the Angels and the minor leagues. He was never used in the field in Los Angeles, serving just as a designated hitter or a pinch hitter. After the 1978 season, he was sent to the Twins, along with Ron Washington, for Dan Ford.

Goodwin spent three seasons in Minnesota. He finally received action on the field, seeing time at first base, but spending most of his time as a designated hitter in a part time role. Goodwin was released by the Twins after the 1981 season, and signed with the Oakland A’s. He would receive just 57 major league plate appearances in Oakland, spending majority of his time in the organization at AAA. Finally, in 1986, Goodwin spent a year in Japan before ending his career.

Despite being drafted as a catcher, Goodwin never saw major league action behind the plate. His bat never developed as expected either, perhaps due to his being rushed to the majors by the Angels. Overall, he had 707 plate appearances over his seven major league seasons, producing a disappointing .236/.301/.373 batting line with 13 homers and 32 doubles.

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Being the first overall pick in the MLB Draft is not a predictor of success. In the case of Danny Goodwin, being the only player selected first overall twice did not change his career trajectory either.

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