On this day in 1952 Thomas Anthony "Tommy" Bianco was born in Rockville Centre, New York. He was 18 years old when the Brewers made him the #3 overall pick in the 1971 draft, passing up on pitchers Frank Tanana and Rick Rhoden and outfielder Jim Rice, among others.
After four seasons in the minors at first and third base, the Brewers called Bianco up for the first time on May 28, 1975. He went 0-for-2 that day and just 6-for-34 over 18 games that season, posting a .176/.263/.206 batting line. The Brewers sent him back to AAA for the 1976 season and he played six more seasons at that level but never appeared in the majors again. At just 22 years old, his major league career was over.
A high draft pick stumble like this is always a missed opportunity, but the Brewers don't need to kick themselves too hard over this one. The first five players selected in the 1971 draft all had negligible major league careers:
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- 2008-10 Brewer Alcides Escobar, who turns 26.
- 2003-04 Brewer Matt Kinney, who turns 36.
- 2000 Brewer Chris Jones, who turns 47.
Today is also the anniversary of the Brewers signing infielder Jose Hernandez to a three-year deal on this day in 1999. We covered that event in this space last year.