The Lewis-Clark State College baseball program has a strong connection with the San Francisco Giants, who wrapped up the 2010 World Series title on Monday.
LCSC has had 19 players drafted by the Giants, almost double of any other major league club. The Seattle Mariners have drafted the second most Warriors with 10.
In all, LCSC has 117 players drafted with 130 draft picks (some didn’t sign the first time they were selected). The program also has produced 14 major league players, including five who were drafted by the Giants and another who was signed as a free agent by San Francisco. The five players drafted who played in the pros were either signed by Jack Shafer or his son John Shafer, both former scouts with the organization.
Jack Shafer signed the first Warrior selected by the Giants, Frank Williams, who was selected in the 11th round with the 278th pick of the 1979 draft. The right-handed pitcher was the first LC player drafted to make it to the big leagues when he made his Major League debut on April 5, 1984 with the Giants.
Steve Decker was the next Giants’ draft pick to make it to the big leagues. The catcher was selected in the 21st round of the 1988 draft with the 541st pick and made his big league debut on Sept. 18, 1990. Decker wound up playing for four teams during his career and had two stints with the Giants. Following his playing career, he has been serving as a hitting coach and manager in the Giants’ minor league organization and this year he managed the Giants’ Class AAA team in Fresno. The Grizzlies finished four games behind Division winner Sacramento.
Marvin Benard was the next LC draft pick by the Giants to make it to the show. The outfielder was the 1,391th pick in the 50th round in 1992 and made his debut on Sept. 5, 1995. He spent his entire MLB playing career with the Giants and was a member of the last Giants’ team to make the World Series in 2002.
Keith Foulke was the next Giants’ draftee to make it to the big leagues from LCSC. The right-handed pitcher was the 256th pick in the ninth round in 1994 and made his MLB debut on May 21, 1997. He spent only part of that season with the Giants before being traded to Chicago. Foulke is best known for being the closer for the Boston Red Sox during the 2004 World Series title season.
Jason Ellison was the fifth and final LC player selected by the Giants to make it to the big leagues with the club. Ellison was the 661st pick of the 22nd round of the 2000 draft and made his debut with the Giants on May 9, 2003. He spent four seasons with the club before playing with three other teams.
Relief pitcher Steve Reed is the only Warrior to make it to the majors without being selected in the draft. Reed signed with the Giants as a free agent in 1988 and made his big league debut on Aug. 30, 1992. He played that season and the 1998 season with the Giants and wound up playing for eight clubs during his 14-year career.
The Giants also have drafted the following former Warriors – Chad Miltenberger, C (1984, 18th round, 450th pick overall); Chuck Higson, P (1986, 21st round, 526th pick); Steve Callahan, P (1989, 17th round, 438th pick); Mark Yockey P (1990, 15th round, 406th pick); Don Montgomery OF (1991, 41st round, 1,076 pick); Kenny Woods SS (1992, 15th round 411th pick); Todd Wilson 3B (1994, 24th round, 676 pick); Art Baeza 3B (27th round, 792nd pick); Fletcher Lee P (1999, 13th round, 408 pick); Ryan Luther SS (1999, 21st round, 648th pick); Elliot Strankman SS (2000, 12th round, 361 pick); Wes Hutchinson P (10th round, 316th pick); Jay Knowlton SS (2002, 24th round, 727th pick); and Joey Dyche OF (2005, 7th round, 222nd pick).
By contrast, LCSC has had nine players drafted by the Rangers’ organization, which ties Oakland for third on the most Warriors selected by a team.
And for a trivia question, there is only one current MLB team that has never drafted a player from LCSC – the Chicago Cubs.