The Ones: 1966
The year is 1966. Texas Western defeats Kentucky to win the Men’s NCAA Championship. Notre Dame and Michigan State split a National Title, and England knocks off Germany in the World Cup. The world’s population is nearly 4.4 billion and some portion of those people will watch the debut episode of Star Trek on television. Unemployment in the United States is at 4.5% and a first-class stamp would cost you $.05. Yes, had eBay been around, they still would have taken their “share” on shipping. With that, here are The Ones: 1966 edition. The New York Mets are on deck.
MLB – Steve Chilcott – New York Mets
The most interesting thing I can tell you about Steve Chilcott is that he, Brien Taylor, and Mark Appel are the only players ever to be selected first overall in the MLB draft and never make it to the bigs. If you add that to the fact that future Hall of Famer, Reggie Jackson, was selected immediately after Chilcott, well, you can see where this is going. Looking forward, the Mets would become the Amazing Mets just three seasons later. So, in hindsight, it’s not all that bad. However, could you imagine Reggie Jackson playing for that particular Mets team? That would have been something else.
NBA – Cazzie Russell – New York Knicks
Things get better for the Big Apple during the NBA Draft. With the first overall selection there, the Knicks selected the small forward out of Michigan, Cazzie Russell. Now, Russell may not have the most distinguished career, however, he was no slouch either. Cazzie was elected to the ’66-67 All-Rookie Team, won an NBA Championship with the Knicks in 1970 and was an All-Star the following season in Golden State.
Over his 12 seasons in the NBA, Russell averaged 15 points, 2 assists, and 3 rebounds a night. During Cazzie’s All-Star season he upped those numbers to 21 points, 3 assists, and 5 rebounds. A solid night for any NBA player in any era. Now, for argument’s sake, Dave Bing was selected with the second overall pick and during the same 12 seasons was much more accomplished. Still, Russell held his own in the league which is more than we can say for a lot of guys.
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NFL – Tommy Nobis – Atlanta Falcons
With the first overall selection in the 1966 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select, Tommy Nobis, Linebacker, Texas. Well, for what it’s worth, the Houston Oilers also selected him 5th overall in the AFL draft. I’m sure Oilers fans would have loved to see the Longhorn suit up in Houston, but it was not to be. Nobis went on to become known as Mr. Falcon as he spent his entire professional career in Atlanta.
While Tommy is not in the Hall of Fame, there could be an argument for it. Nobis was the 1966 PFWA Rookie of the Year, is a member of the Hall of Fame 1960’s All-Decade team and was a five-time Pro Bowler. Where’s Booker T when you need him?
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NHL – Barry Gibbs – Boston Bruins
Barry Gibbs is going to wrap up The Ones: 1966 edition. The Boston Bruins made him the first overall selection in the 1966 NHL Draft, but he played a total of just 24 games over two seasons in Beantown. The Saskatchewan native did piece together a 13-year career. Much like the guys in the other 1966 drafts, pick number two is where the money was made. That is where the New York Rangers selected the future Hockey Hall of Famer Brad Park.
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Much like the 1965 drafts, The Ones from 1966 were kind of a mixed bag. Again, imagine Reggie Jackson with the Mets. Instead, they took a catcher that never made it. Now, this is all in retrospect, but it’s still fun to think about. So, here’s to The Ones: 1966 edition.