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Ollie Brown headlined the Padres' expansion draft selections this day in 1968

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One of the best-known bits of trivia amongst Padres fans is that Ollie Brown is the "Original Padre" due to the club making him their first selection of the 1968 expansion draft. For the record, he wasn't the first player in the Padres organization. The club made 16 picks in the 1968 June amateur draft and three more in the old secondary phase, but only one of the players they signed reached the majors as a member of the Padres; outfielder Dave Robinson eventually played 22 games in 1970 and '71. With that technicality out of the way, yes, Ollie Brown was the first major league player to join the organization.

Brown is pictured here on his 1970 Topps card, the first to show him in a Padres uniform. He was included in the 1969 Topps set, but the photo of him was from his days with the Giants and features a hat that has been airbrushed completely black, making him look like an undercover cop. His card is alongside of one of Cito Gaston since Gaston was the Padres' final pick in the expansion draft.

Gaston also got the black hat treatment on his 1969 Topps card, which he shared with Bill Davis, and was pictured in the original Padres threads on his 1970 card. I chose to use his 1971 Topps card here for a good reason, though; it's the only card of him I own. One advantage that his 1971 card has over his 1970 one is that it includes the stat-line from his 1970 season, when he put up career-highs across the board and was named to his only All-Star team.

I'd love to do a gigantic card-post featuring cards of all 30 players selected by the Padres in the expansion draft, but that will have to wait until October 14, 2015, since I presently have cards of only about two-thirds of them. For now I'll just provide a table of San Diego's selections, culled from Baseball Reference's documentation of the expansion draft's full results. An "X" in the third column indicates that particular player did not contribute to the 1969 Padres.

1 Ollie Brown
2 Dave Giusti X
3 Dick Selma
4 Al Santorini
5 Jose Arcia
6 Clay Kirby
7 Fred Kendall
8 Jerry Morales
9 Nate Colbert
10 Zoilo Versalles X
11 Frank Reberger
12 Jerry DaVanon
13 Larry Stahl
14 Dick Kelley
15 Al Ferrara
16 Mike Corkins
17 Tom Dukes
18 Rick James X
19 Tony Gonzalez
20 Dave Roberts
21 Ivan Murrell
22 Jim Williams
23 Billy McCool
24 Roberto Pena
25 Al McBean
26 Rafael Robles
27 Fred Katawczik X
28 Ron Slocum
29 Steve Arlin
30 Cito Gaston

Of the four players who didn't take part in the Padres' inaugural campaign, three were traded before the season and one other just never reached the majors at all.

  • Giusti was drafted from the Cardinals, who had traded for him just three days earlier. Less than two months later, on December 3, 1968, St. Louis reacquired him in exchange for Ed Spiezio, Ron Davis, Danny Breeden, and presumably scrappy minor leaguer Philip Knuckles. Giusti went on to become Pittsburgh's closer in 1970, back before a closer was a thing that every team had. He won a World Series ring in 1971, and was named to the National League All-Star team in 1973.
  • Former American League MVP Zoilo Versalles wasn't even with the organization as long as Giusti. One day before Giusti went back to the Cardinals, San Diego sent Versalles to Cleveland as the player-to-be-named-later in an October 21 trade for catcher Bill Davis.
  • Pitcher Rick James was selected from the Cubs, who had selected him sixth overall in 1965, the first amateur draft. In 1967 he appeared in the only three major league games of his career, allowing seven earned runs in 4.2 innings for the North-Siders. Like Giusti, he headed back to the team who lost him in the draft. Chicago got him back before the 1969 season began, but he split the next two seasons between their AA and AAA teams, never reaching the majors again.
  • Left-handed pitcher Fred Katawczik was selected from the Reds organization, for whom he pitched in only seven AAA games in 1968, just one year removed from rookie-league and low-A ball. He pitched well in AA and A-ball his two seasons in the Padres organization, but hung 'em up after the 1970 season.

There were no egregious misses as far as players passed over by the Padres and selected by the other expansion teams. Eventual Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm had seen his better days, as had Maury Wills. Pitchers Marty Pattin, Jack Billingham, Bill Stoneman, and Mike Marshall, outfielders Pat Kelly, Manny Mota, Tommy Harper, and Lou Piniella, catcher Ellie Rodriguez, and first baseman Don Mincher were post-draft All-Stars, with Marshall and Rodriguez each being selected twice. Marshall also won the National League Cy Young Award in 1974.

Of the players picked by the Padres, pitcher Dave Giusti, outfielders Cito Gaston and Jerry Morales, and first baseman Nate Colbert went on to be All-Stars; Colbert topped all players chosen with three All-Star selections after the expansion draft took place. In case you weren't counting along, that's six total All-Star games between four All-Stars for the Padres, while the Pilots, Royals and Expos combined for twelve All-Star games between ten players.