How many of these players were first-round picks?
Just one. Avery was the third pick in the 1988 draft.
Blauser (1984) and Mercker (1986) were both fifth-round picks. Glavine was a second-round pick (1984), Justice went in the fourth round (1985), Wohlers in the eighth (1988) and Lemke was a steal in the 27th (1983).
Believe it or not, Smoltz was a 22nd-round pick by Detroit in 1985. Belliard was signed as a free agent by Pittsburgh in 1980.
Obviously, the group produced at the highest level. Glavine and Smoltz are first ballot Hall of Famers. Avery, Justice, Blauser and Wohlers made All-Star teams. Justice was also a National League rookie of the year. Mercker was part of two no-hitters.
Glavine won a World Series MVP and Avery and Smoltz won National League Championship MVPs. Glavine and Smoltz won Cy Young Awards. Also, Lemke shares the record for triples in a seven-game World Series (3). Belliard may not have a big list of honors but clearly stabilized the club’s shortstop position when he came to the team.
Another interesting fact about these nine: They combined to play in 429 games during their postseason career. Justice led the way with 112. And according to Baseballreference.com, the nine players made a combined $445,453,794 million in salaries.
Now that’s not chump change.