PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies' first draft pick holds the distinction of being the first player ever to go from the draft straight to the Major Leagues. But not with the Phillies. One year after their historic 1964 collapse, in which they fell to second in the National League, the Phillies got the 18th pick in the first round of the inaugural draft. With the selection, they chose John Michael Adamson, a fireballing right-handed pitcher out of San Diego's Point Loma High School, a true piching factory. The high school had produced Don Larsen and would later turn out David Wells.
But when the Phillies did not meet his demand for a $100,000 bonus, Adamson decided to attend college at the University of Southern California. The Orioles would pick Adamson in 1967 with the first overall pick of the secondary phase. From there, he would become the first on a short list of players to jump from the draft to the Majors without a stop in the Minors -- a list that includes Dave Winfield, John Olerud and current Mets outfielder Xavier Nady. Coming out of college, Adamson's potential seemed endless. He struggled in 1967 and 1968, but that didn't stop Orioles personnel from having high hopes for his future. "When he gets it under control, he could be as good as anyone on our staff," Orioles Minor League director Jim McLaughlin told The Sporting News in November 1968. Not a small statement for a staff that included Dave McNally, who had just begun his stretch of four straight 20-win seasons. "Potentially he's a 15-20 game winner in the Majors," McLaughlin told the magazine after Adamson struggled again the following year. He was off by 15-20 games.Adamson never won a Major League game, going 0-4 with a 7.46 ERA in his 11 lifetime appearances. In his first season, the Orioles sent him to Triple-A Rochester after one poor relief outing, one good start and one start in which he couldn't last two innings. He would never see a Major League mound after 1969 and finished his professional career two years later.
Zachary Levine is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.