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Has any player gone straight to MLB?

May 3, 2023
Mike Leake was a player who went straight to the bigs

Baseball is the oldest purely American sport that is also widely watched. It is also a unique sport in the way it handles its transition of amateur players transition to the pro ranks. The different levels and layers of minor leagues is one of a kind. For this reason it is almost impossible for a player to skip the minor league process and head straight to the pros.

Out of the many thousands of players that have come through Major League Baseball, only 103 went straight to the big leagues and skipped the minors. About half of these players were forced directly to the majors because of something called the “bonus rule” which existed from 1947 to 1965.

If you’re unaware of the bonus rule, which created “bonus babies” then here is what that means: between 1947 and 1965 any player signed to a contract of $4,000 or more was required by the league to be on the signing team’s 25-man roster.  If the player were to be demoted to the minor leagues, they would be listed on the waiver wire and another team would have a shot at them. So, teams were forced to keep these “bonus babies” on the 25-man roster to keep them from going elsewhere.  Once the player had been on the 25-man roster for at least two seasons he could be then be demoted without penalty. The bonus rule was deactivated in 1965 when Major League Baseball instituted a draft.

Only five of these “bonus babies” eventually made it to the hall of fame. Those players are; Al Kaline, Harmon Killebrew, Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente and Catfish Hunter.

Rookie of the Year

Only one player in baseball history was able to go directly to the big leagues and also when rookie player of the year. That player was Bob Horner.  He went on to play 10 total seasons in the majors, almost completely for the Atlanta Braves, and was an All-Star only once. He had a career 277 batting average with 218 home runs.

Below is a list of all the players that were able to skip the minors and head directly to the pros.

NamePositionAmateur TeamMajor League TeamDebut
Charlie FaustPitcherNew York Giants1911
Eppa Rixey*PitcherVirginiaPhiladelphia Phillies1912[8]
Walter AnckerPitcherPhiladelphia Athletics1915
George Sisler*First basemanMichiganSt. Louis Browns1915
Frankie Frisch*Second basemanFordhamNew York Giants1919
Johnson FryPitcherCleveland Indians1923
Ted Lyons*PitcherBaylorChicago White Sox1923[8]
Mel Ott*OutfielderGretna HS (LA)[12]New York Giants1926
Bob Feller*PitcherVan Meter HS (IA)Cleveland Indians1936
Wayne AmblerSecond basemanDukePhiladelphia Athletics1937
Gil Hodges*Third basemanPetersburg HS (IN)Brooklyn Dodgers1943
Cass MichaelsSecond basemanHamtramck HS (MI)[11]Chicago White Sox1943
Carl ScheibPitcherSimon Gratz HS (PA)Philadelphia Athletics1943[8]
Cal McLishPitcherCentral HS (OK)Brooklyn Dodgers1944
Joe NuxhallPitcherHamilton HS (OH)Cincinnati Reds1944
Harry MacPhersonPitcherJohnson HS (MA)Boston Braves1944
Eddie YostThird basemanNYUWashington Senators1944[8]
Johnny Antonelli+PitcherThomas Jefferson HS (NY)Boston Braves1948
Eddie GaedelPinch hitterSt. Louis Browns1951[4]
Dick Groat+ShortstopDukePittsburgh Pirates1952
Reno Bertoia+Third basemanAssumption College HS (ON)Detroit Tigers1953
Billy Consolo+ShortstopDorsey HS (CA)Boston Red Sox1953
Vic Janowicz+CatcherOhio StatePittsburgh Pirates1953
Joey Jay+PitcherWoodrow Wilson HS (CT)Milwaukee Braves1953
Al Kaline*+OutfielderSouthern HS (MD)Detroit Tigers1953
Nick Koback+CatcherHartford Public HS (CT)[6]Pittsburgh Pirates1953
Bob G. Miller+PitcherJ. Sterling Morton HS District 201 (IL)[9]Cincinnati Redlegs1953
Eddie O'Brien+ShortstopSeattlePittsburgh Pirates1953
Johnny O'Brien+Second basemanSeattlePittsburgh Pirates1953
Tom Qualters+PitcherMcKeesport HS (PA)Philadelphia Phillies1953
Mel Roach+InfielderVirginiaMilwaukee Braves1953
Joey Amalfitano+Second basemanLoyola MarymountNew York Giants1954
Paul Giel+PitcherMinnesotaNew York Giants1954
Ron Jackson+First basemanWestern MichiganChicago White Sox1954
Harmon Killebrew*+First basemanPayette HS (ID)Washington Senators1954
Frank Leja+First basemanHolyoke HS (MA)[7]New York Yankees1954
Billy O'Dell+PitcherClemsonBaltimore Orioles1954
Laurin Pepper+PitcherSouthern MissPittsburgh Pirates1954
Clete Boyer+Third basemanAlba HS (MO)Kansas City Athletics1955
Tom Carroll+InfielderNotre DameNew York Yankees1955
Wayne Causey+InfielderNeville HS (LA)Baltimore Orioles1955
John Edelman+PitcherWest ChesterMilwaukee Braves1955
Tom Gastall+CatcherBostonBaltimore Orioles1955
Don Kaiser+PitcherEast Central University[5]Chicago Cubs1955
Sandy Koufax*+PitcherCincinnatiBrooklyn Dodgers1955
Kenny Kuhn+InfielderLouisville Male HS (KY)Cleveland Indians1955
Lindy McDaniel+PitcherArnett HS (OK)St. Louis Cardinals1955
Paul Martin+PitcherMarion Center Area HS (PA)Pittsburgh Pirates1955
Tex Nelson+First basemanW. H. Adamson HS (TX)Baltimore Orioles1955
Jim Pagliaroni+CatcherWilson HS (CA)Boston Red Sox1955
Leroy Powell+Pinch runnerMichigan StateChicago White Sox1955
Jim Pyburn+Third basemanAlabama Polytechnic InstituteBaltimore Orioles1955
Jerry Schoonmaker+OutfielderMissouriWashington Senators1955
Al Silvera+OutfielderUSCCincinnati Reds1955
Jim Small+OutfielderBellarmine College Prep (CA)Detroit Tigers1955
Red Swanson+PitcherLSUPittsburgh Pirates1955
Fred Van Dusen+Pinch hitterBryant HS (NY)Philadelphia Phillies1955
Jim Brady+PitcherNotre DameDetroit Tigers1956
Mack Burk+CatcherTexasPhiladelphia Phillies1956
Jim Derrington+PitcherSouth Gate HS (CA)[3]Chicago White Sox1956
Moe Drabowsky+PitcherTrinity College (CT)Chicago Cubs1956
Jerry Kindall+Second basemanMinnesotaChicago Cubs1956
Mike McCormick+PitcherMark Keppel HS (CA)New York Giants1956
Steve Boros+InfielderMichiganDetroit Tigers1957
John DeMerit+OutfielderWisconsinMilwaukee Braves1957
Bobby Henrich+ShortstopCompton HS (CA)Cincinnati Redlegs1957
Dave Hill+PitcherNorthwesternKansas City Athletics1957
Jay Hook+PitcherNorthwesternCincinnati Redlegs1957
Ralph Lumenti+PitcherBostonWashington Senators1957
Von McDaniel+PitcherArnett HS (OK)St. Louis Cardinals1957
Bob L. Miller+PitcherBeaumont HS (MO)[10]St. Louis Cardinals1957
Claude OsteenPitcherReading HS (OH)Cincinnati Reds1957
Don Pavletich+CatcherNathan Hale HS (WI)Cincinnati Reds1957
Buddy Pritchard+Second basemanUSCPittsburgh Pirates1957
Hawk Taylor+CatcherMilwaukee Braves1957
George Thomas+OutfielderMinnesotaDetroit Tigers1957
Jerry Walker+PitcherByng HS (OK)Baltimore Orioles1957
Frank Zupo+CatcherSacred Heart Cathedral Prep (CA)Baltimore Orioles1957
Bob Garibaldi+PitcherSanta ClaraSan Francisco Giants1962
Mike AdamsonPitcherUSCBaltimore Orioles1967
Steve DunningPitcherStanfordCleveland Indians1970
Pete BrobergPitcherDartmouthWashington Senators1971
Rob EllisOutfielderMichigan StateMilwaukee Brewers1971
Burt HootonPitcherTexasChicago Cubs1971
Dave RobertsThird basemanOregonSan Diego Padres1972
Eddie BanePitcherArizona StateMinnesota Twins1973
David ClydePitcherWestchester HS (TX)Texas Rangers1973
Dick RuthvenPitcherFresno StatePhiladelphia Phillies1973
Dave Winfield*OutfielderMinnesotaSan Diego Padres1973
Herb WashingtonPinch runnerMichigan StateOakland Athletics1974
Tim ConroyPitcherGateway Senior HS (PA)Oakland Athletics1978
Bob HornerThird basemanArizona StateAtlanta Braves1978
Brian MilnerCatcherFort Worth Southwest HSToronto Blue Jays1978
Mike MorganPitcherValley HS (NV)Oakland Athletics1978
Pete IncavigliaOutfielderOklahoma StateTexas Rangers1986
Jim AbbottPitcherMichiganCalifornia Angels1989
John OlerudFirst basemanWashington StateToronto Blue Jays1989
Darren DreifortPitcherWichita StateLos Angeles Dodgers1994
Chan Ho ParkPitcherHanyang UniversityLos Angeles Dodgers1994
Ariel PrietoPitcherOakland Athletics1995
Xavier NadyOutfielderCaliforniaSan Diego Padres2000
Mike LeakePitcherArizona StateCincinnati Reds2010
Garrett CrochetPitcherTennesseeChicago White Sox2020
+ Bonus Baby