The Ones: 1967
The year is 1967, and major things are happening in the world. The US and USSR propose a nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Isreal wins The Six Days War, and King Constantine II of Greece is deposed in a military coup. Closer to home the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 at the L.A. Coliseum in the first Super Bowl. Also, staying in Los Angeles, UCLA and USC both won National Titles as well. How did that play out in the draft? Let’s find out in The Ones: 1967 edition.
MLB – Ron Blomberg – New York Yankees
Just like the 1966 draft, a Major League Baseball team from New York is selecting first here in 1967. However, this time it’s the New York Yankees. Unlike the Mets first pick from the year before, Ron Blomberg would make it to the Bigs, but that’s about it. He did play for a serviceable eight seasons but never earned an All-Star nod or any awards. With that in mind, his .293 career batting average isn’t too shabby.
According to the Beckett database, Blomberg has a total of 152 cards available with a total book value of $472. Interestingly enough, the former Yankee has just two memorabilia cards and 42 autographs. Collectors will find his lone rookie in 1972 Topps. A must-have for completest set builders and Yankee fans alike.
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NBA – Jimmy Walker – Detroit Pistons
While the focus of this series is the players drafted first overall in their respected league’s drafts, it’s hard not to point out the obvious. In fact, there were glaring instances in both the 1965 and 1966 drafts. Here in the NBA’s 1967 draft, one would have to think so as well. Jimmy Walker was selected first by the Pistons and went on to play nine seasons in the NBA, making two All-Star teams. However, knowing that Earl Monroe was the next pick is a tough pill to swallow. Realizing that those types of comparisons aren’t always fair is understandable. However, in this case, they both played the same position so it’s much more appropriate. One had a Hall of Fame career, and the other had to live in Detroit.
Perhaps furthering the point is that Jimmy Walker only has 15 total cards available to collectors with a total book value of $55. His only rookie card can be found in the 1969-70 Topps set, and he has no certified autographs or memorabilia cards to speak of.
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NFL – Bubba Smith – Baltimore Colts
With the first overall selection in the 1967 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Colts select, Bubba Smith, Defensive End, Michigan State. Looking at the tape, so to speak, it’s easy to see why the Colts picked Smith first overall in 1967. Bubba was listed at 6’7″ and 265 lbs and played to every bit of that size. Though he is not in the Hall of Fame, he did have a nice career over nine seasons. Smith was a two-time Pro Bowler, a one-time All-Pro, and won a Super Bowl and NFL Championship as well.
Bubba Smith has 104 cards listed in the Beckett database with a total book value of $1,423. Just like the other players in the 1967 edition of The Ones, Smith has just the one rookie that can be found in 1970 Topps. Where Smith differs is his total book value which is much more than the others listed thus far.
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NHL – Rick Pagnutti – Los Angeles Kings
To say that the Kings missed on Rick Pagnutti would be an understatement. The expansion franchise had first dibs in the 1967 NHL Draft and took the defensemen from Sudbury, Ontario. Unfortunately, Pagnutti never skated in L.A. Rick spent most of his career skating in the AHL. Pagnutti does however have a single card in the Beckett database. Collectors can find the said card in the 1971-72 Rochester Americans team set.
Now, where the Kings did make the right decision was picking veteran goaltender, Terry Sawchuk first overall in the 1967 NHL Expansion Draft. Sawchuk spent just one season with the Kings but did help them to the playoffs. However, they lost to Minnesota in the first round. Sawchuck would go on to play parts of two more seasons. Sadly, Sawchuk passed during the 1969-70 season.