The most famous draft class in history — or at least the only one to be featured in a bestselling book and Oscar-nominated movie — turns 10 years old Monday.
Yes, it's already been a decade since Oakland general manager Billy Beane allowed writer Michael Lewis to tag along and chronicle the selections that would make up a large chunk of the book "Moneyball." The A's had seven of the first 39 picks that year and Beane expected to rule the majors for the next decade with the haul that would ensue.
That never happened, of course, but the seven men selected will be forever bound by both the excitement of that day as well — as the disappointment of being largely ignored in the screenplay for the Brad Pitt film.
Nick Swisher (16th pick) and Joe Blanton (24th) were the first two players drafted by the A's that day and both have posted good but not great major-league careers. Both were members of a World Series title, though with squads on the opposite end of the country from Oakland.
Mark Teahen, meanwhile, became a major leaguer with the Kansas City Royals after being selected with the 39th pick, but the other four players — shortstop John McCurdy (26th), pitcher Ben Fritz (30th), catcher Jeremy Brown (35th) and pitcher Steve Obenchain (37th) — fell well short of expectations. (ESPN's Jerry Crasnick wrote a "where are they now?" article before the movie release of "Moneyball" last fall if you're interested in seeing, well, where they are now.)
Despite expectations, Oakland's haul didn't turn out to be the best of the draft — or even Beane's career. (That honor may belong to 2006, when Oakland had zero first-round picks, but walked away with Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey.)
But despite the top pick from that year (pitcher Bryan Bullington, drafted by Pittsburgh) also proving to be a disappointment, the 2002 draft was overall a good one. Seven first-rounders* have made the All-Star team while other first-rounders like B.J. Upton, James Loney, Jeremy Guthrie and Jeff Francoeur have made big-league impacts. Meanwhile, the only player from the draft to have won an MVP award — Joey Votto — wasn't selected until the 44th pick.
*Zack Greinke, Prince Fielder, Joe Saunders, Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, Cole Hamels, Matt Cain