The Seattle Pilots and Kansas City Royals both joined the American League in 1969; same year the San Diego Padres and Montreal Expos joined the National League.
Same starting gun for four teams; same collective bargaining agreement; same draft rules; same signing bonuses; same everything.
The Pilots did fairly well in their first and only year in Seattle or well in comparison to Montreal and San Diego who both lost 110 games. Seattle also did better than Cleveland and Philadelphia who lost 99 games.
Kansas City went 69-93 in 1969 and became the quickest to climb above .500 and quickest to make the playoffs. That all happened in 1976. The other three teams; including Seattle followed a similar course through the 1970’s; one losing season after another; but by 1978; things started to change. Both San Diego and Milwaukee enjoyed winning seasons and Montreal did as well the following year.
Montreal was also very competititve between 1973 and 1975; nearly reaching .500 all three seasons, but the Brewers and Expos both reached the playoffs for the first time in the strike shortened 1981 season; San Diego not until 1984.
In those early years; draft picks played no role in any of the four team’s success or failure, but the Seattle picks would soon change that with Gorman Thomas from 1969 and Porter-1970. Kind of rare to hit the sort of jackpot in two consecutive drafts.
The Expos had high hopes for Balor Moore; their number 1 pick in 1969. He was a lefty and cruised through the minor leagues with sparkling numbers; but arm injuries derailed his promising career.
The Expos selected Barry Foote the following year and he turned out to be a serviceable catcher for more than a decade. He couldn’t hit but I assume he was a decent defender. He was probably the end or beginning of a lot of jokes too; being a catcher with that last name.
The Padres and Royals didn’t do too well in the 1969 and 1970 drafts. I guess it was inevitable or Murphy’s Law or something that Milwaukee would fall back to earth in 1971 and they did; picking Tommy Bianco with the third overall pick. He did reach the majors and is still the only one to ever do so from
New Rock land ville Center, NY
A cup of coffee for him. He appeared in the big leagues as a Brewer in 1975; 12 games and 34 at bats; 6 hits for a not so sexy .176 batting average, but he started at first base on Sept 27 against the Detroit Tigers.
It was the second to last game of the season and Bianco reached base with two singles; one against Vern “Golden” Ruhle. He also scored two runs and struck out twice. The Brewers won 5-2 and Bianco never played in the major leagues again.