Jun 23, 2016

1966 Mets First Round Draft Pick Who Never Played In Major Leagues: Steve Chilcott (1966)

Steven Lynn Chilcott was born on September 23rd 1948 in Lancaster, California. The five foot eleven catcher/ first baseman was the New York Mets number one draft pick in the 1966 amateur draft. The Mets chose Chilcott over outfielder Reggie Jackson. Jackson was chosen by the Kansas City Athletics & went on to a Hall of Fame career.

As for Chilcott he is the only position player to be chosen first overall & never make the major leagues. Chilcott was a star athlete at Antelope Valley high school, playing both baseball & football. He attracted a lot of attention & the scouts came out to see him. Among those coming out to watch him play, was Mets manager Casey. Chilcott remembered that the day Stengel came out, hundreds of more people came just to see him.

Stengel & the Mets were convinced that Chilcott was their man; they gave him a $75,000 signing bonus to start. It made sense, that Stengel picked the catcher, since he had spoken of how important catchers were & his most prized player during his heyday was his own catcher Yogi Berra. Also at the time there was some question about Reggie Jackson’s attitude & character. Many baseball people at the time did believe that both players were destined to solid MLB careers.

In 1967 Chilcott batted .290 at A ball with the Winter Haven Mets, with 290 at bats he did not qualify for the batting race in which he would have come in fourth.

In a game that season, he was leading off second base, when a pitcher attempted to pick him off. He dove into second base landing on his right shoulder. It was then he suffered an injury that he could never fully recover from & it ruined his once promising career. The next year he was promoted to Visalia but hit just .189.

In 1969 as the Mets were winning the World Series, Chilcott only played in seven games at Visalia, after undergoing surgery. He also suffered a broken hand as well as chronic back issues the rest of his career. In 1970 he went from AA Memphis & got to AAA with the Tidewater Tides where he hit 11 HRs in 199 at bats. The next year he hit .265 with 17 HRs & 68 RBIs, striking out 95 times in 345 at bats.

The Mets gave up on him & he played his final season in 1972 in the AL New York’s club minor leagues for 24 games. After 337 minor league games his career was over by age 24, batting .248 with 39 HRs & 153 RBIs.

Retirement: After his playing days, he went back to school & then worked as a temporary fire fighter in Santa Barbara. He then went into the construction business as a full time contractor.

No comments: