Dodgers History: The Best And The Worst Draft Picks Of All-Time
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Dodgers Best Draft Pick

It took four years of eligibility, but in 2016 Mike Piazza got the call from the Baseball Hall of Fame, letting him know that he would be part of the HOF Class of 2016 along with unanimous pick Ken Griffey Jr.

The first thing Piazza did after receiving the call was head to his childhood home in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania to search for two specific mementos. The first was the Mailgram from Major League Baseball informing him he was officially drafted, and the second a photocopy of his first bonus check for $15,000. Two items from his past that were about as surreal as his career.

You couldn’t bet on sports in Pennsylvania back then the way you can now, but who would have put money down on World Sports Network wagering on Mike Piazza heading to Coopertown back then anyway?

The Los Angeles Dodgers took Tommy Lasorda’s godson in the 62nd round of the draft with the 1,390th overall pick in the 1988 Major League Baseball draft, in what appeared to be a harmless bit of late-round nepotism at the time. The longshot, of course, turned out to be a 12-time All-Star and Hall of Famer, and arguably the greatest-hitting catcher of all-time.

Piazza is certainly the Dodgers best draft pick of all time, but it could also be argued he’s the best in MLB history in terms of pound-for-pound performance relative to draft position.

Dodgers Worst Draft Pick

Oddly the 1988 draft yielded both the best and the worst draft picks in Dodgers’ history. Coming off a 1987 season that saw them win just 73 games, the team picked fifth overall that year, using their first pick to select right-hander Bill Bene out of Cal State-Los Angeles.

Despite being selected high on the board, Bene never pitched in the majors in large part because of his poor control. Bene walked an incredible 489 batters in 445 minor league innings before retiring from baseball at age 29.

“We don’t know whether his pitches are going to hit the catcher’s mitt or someone in general admission,” a minor league coach once said of Bene.

To make matters worse, the Dodgers missed on several top players drafted later in the first round of 1988, including pitchers Jim Abbott and Charles Nagy, and position players and Robin Ventura and Tino Martinez.

Years after baseball career was over, Bene was sentenced to six months behind bars and ordered to pay more than $100,000 in fines for operating a counterfeit karaoke business without paying federal taxes on the sales.