Erstad was a dual-sport star at the University of Nebraska: He was the starting punter for the Cornhuskers’ football team and was part of the 1994 National Championship team while also leading the school’s baseball team. Erstad made his MLB debut the same year he was drafted, ultimately spending 10 seasons with the Angels and winning a World Series in Anaheim in 2002. He also made the All-Star team twice and won three Gold Gloves.
2 of 10Walter Iooss Jr.
No. 9: Rick Monday (1965) — WAR: 33.1
The first-ever No. 1 pick, Monday played 19 years in the majors, going from the Athletics to the Cubs to the Dodgers. He made two All-Star teams and was an integral part of Los Angeles’ 1981 World Series-winning team, best remembered for hitting the game-winning home run in Game 5 of the NLCS that year between the Dodgers and Expos.
3 of 10Mark Goldman/Icon SMI
No. 8: B.J. Surhoff (1985) — WAR: 34.3
Originally from the Bronx, Surhoff was a two-time All-American at UNC and was chosen first overall by the Brewers, making his MLB debut in 1987. Surhoff spent 19 years in the majors, making an All-Star team in 1999 and playing every position but pitcher in his big league career.
4 of 10Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
No. 7: Harold Baines (1977) — WAR: 38.5
A Maryland native, Baines was drafted out of high school and debuted for the White Sox in 1980, beginning a 22-year career spent mostly with Chicago. In stints for the White Sox, Orioles, Athletics, Rangers and Indians, Baines racked up 2,866 hits and made six All-Star teams.
5 of 10Walter Iooss Jr.
No. 6: Darryl Strawberry (1980) — WAR: 42
The Straw’s career never blossomed as it should have thanks to his problems with drugs, but he was one of the league’s brightest stars in his youth. Making his MLB debut in 1983, the Los Angeles native won the Rookie of the Year award that season, helped the Mets to a World Series title in ’86 and was an eight-time All-Star.
6 of 10John W. McDonough
No. 5: Adrian Gonzalez (2000) — WAR: 42.4
Though originally a Marlins draft pick, Gonzalez never played a game in Miami. The team sent him to the Rangers in a package for reliever Ugueth Urbina in 2003; two years later, Texas dealt Gonzalez to San Diego, his hometown team. It was there where Gonzalez’s career took off, as the slugging first baseman emerged as a perennial All-Star and brilliant defender while with the Padres, Red Sox and Dodgers.
7 of 10Tom Dahlin
No. 4: Joe Mauer (2001) — WAR: 49.5
Arguably the best high-school player in the country, Mauer was a no-brainer at No. 1 for the Twins. Since debuting for Minnesota in 2004, Mauer has won an AL MVP award (2009) and won the batting title three times, the first catcher ever to do so. The six-time All-Star was shifted to first base in 2014.
8 of 10Richard Mackson; V.J. Lovero
No. 3: Ken Griffey Jr. (1987) — WAR: 83.6
The son of former MLB outfielder Ken Griffey Sr., Junior blossomed into one of the best players of his generation, winning the AL MVP award in 1997, making the All-Star team 13 times, picking up 10 Gold Gloves and hitting 630 career homers. Griffey also led Seattle to its first postseason appearance in 1995. Junior was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2016 on his first ballot.
9 of 10Bob Rosato
No. 2: Chipper Jones (1990) — WAR: 85
One of the greatest players in Atlanta’s franchise history almost wasn’t a Brave. The team originally wanted to select Todd Van Poppel with the first pick in that year’s draft, only to be told the pitcher would refuse to sign with Atlanta. The Braves instead took Jones out of a Florida high school; he went on to win the 1996 World Series and the ‘99 NL MVP award in 19 years with Atlanta, hitting 468 career homers. The eight-time All-Star will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2018.
10 of 10Al Bello/Getty Images
No. 1: Alex Rodriguez (1993) — WAR: 118.8
Picked out of Westminster Christian School in Palmetto Bay, Fla., Rodriguez made his MLB debut for the Mariners just one year later at 18. In a career marked by controversy and suspensions, A-Rod has nonetheless won three MVP awards, a World Series and two Gold Gloves; is a 14-time All-Star; and sits fourth all-time in career home runs behind Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth.
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