A first for firsts: Burrell, Price collide
Never before have overall top picks faced each other in Series
If Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell steps into the box to face the Rays' David Price, it figures to be an interesting matchup.
It also will be an historic one.
Never before have two players who were No. 1 overall picks in the First-Year Player Draft squared off against each other in a World Series game.
Of 44 players selected No. 1 overall since the Draft's inception in 1965, Burrell and Price will be just the 10th and 11th to have the opportunity to play in a World Series game.
The previous nine include: Rick Monday (1st overall in 1965), Tim Foli (1968), Harold Baines (1990), Darryl Strawberry (1980), Mike Moore (1981), Shawon Dunston (1982), Tim Belcher (1983), Chipper Jones (1990) and Darin Erstad (1995).
Price was selected a year and four months ago, while Burrell was picked first overall in 1998, by the Phillies.
Prior to Price, Jones and Belcher were the quickest to reach the World Series, each having done so five years after they were drafted.
The first two overall No. 1 picks to reach the World Series, Monday and Foli, had a considerable wait between being drafted and playing in the Fall Classic. Monday, selected in the Draft by the Kansas City Athletics, went 12 years before playing in the 1977 World Series with the Dodgers. Foli, meanwhile, was selected by the Mets and had to wait 11 years before appearing in the 1979 World Series with the Pirates.
No. 1 Overall Picks in the World Series
|Rick Monday||1965||1977-78, 81|
|Darryl Strawberry||1980||1986, 96, 99|
|Chipper Jones||1990||1995-96, 99|
|**Belcher was drafted first overall in the 1983 June Draft by the Twins, did not sign and was then drafted first overall by the Yankees in the 1984 January Draft.|
The fact that Monday and Foli reached the World Series with teams other than the ones that drafted them is not unique. Though Burrell and Price were both drafted by their current teams, only three of the previous nine -- Strawberry, Jones and Erstad -- were drafted by the team they played on when they finally got to the World Series.
Price played a key role in the Rays getting to the World Series. The left-hander saved Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox by tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
"The fact that he is who he is really made a difference to me," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of using Price in such a pressure situation. "The fact that I felt he was not going to be impacted by this moment in a negative way emotionally, and that's why we gave him the ball right there. So to do what he did did not surprise me in the least."
Pitching late in games is something Price will likely be doing during the World Series as the presence of Edwin Jackson allows Maddon the flexibility to use Price where he wants.
Doubling Their Fun
|Tampa Bay Rays left-hander David Price is the third rookie pitcher to have a win and a save in the same postseason series.|
|2008||David Price||Tampa Bay|
|2006||Adam Wainwright||St. Louis|
"David is more free to be utilized later in the game," Maddon said. "You can see, he can get the last out or something earlier than that, depends on how the lineup is presented to us."
Price picked up a win in Game 2 of the ALCS, which according to the Elias Sports Bureau makes him just one of three rookie pitchers to post a win and a save in the same postseason series. The other two were Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series and Rawly Eastwick of the Reds in the 1975 NLCS and World Series.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.