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Today In Brewer History: Welcome To Milwaukee, Paul Molitor

The MLB Rule 4 Draft has traditionally been held during the first full week in June, so this week is full of notable anniversaries of players taking the first step in their professional careers as Brewers. Today, is for example, the fifth anniversary of the Brewers taking Jonathan Lucroy in the third round in 2007. It's also the seventh anniversary of Ryan Braun going fifth overall in 2005, and the eighth of them selecting Yovani Gallardo in the second round in 2004.

Looking back a little further, though, we find today's most significant draft anniversary: On this day in 1977 the Brewers drafted Paul Molitor with the third overall selection. Several very good future major leaguers were taken in the first round that year, but Molitor was clearly the best one:

Rank Team Player Position Career Games Career WAR (rWAR)
1 White Sox Harold Baines 1B 2830 34
2 Expos Bill Gullickson P 398 20.4
3 Brewers Paul Molitor SS 2683 72.5
4 Braves Tim Cole P 0 0
5 Tigers Kevin Richards P 0 0
6 Cardinals Terry Kennedy C 1491 19.5
7 Angels Richard Dotson P 312 13.9

Later in the round the Mets selected shortstop Wally Backman, the Dodgers took pitcher Bob Welch and the Mariners closed out the round with outfielder Dave Henderson. All three also went on to be very good major leaguers.

Molitor signed his first pro contract a few weeks later and reported to Beloit, hitting .346/.457/.504 in the Midwest League in his only extended taste of minor league baseball. By spring of 1978 Molitor was with the Brewers, appearing in 125 games as a 21-year-old rookie. All told he played 1856 games for the Crew over 15 seasons, hitting .303/.367/.444 with 2281 hits and 412 stolen bases.

With help from and the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to: