On this date in 1970, the White Sox spent their first round pick in the regular phase of the January draft on junior college shortstop Duane Kuiper.
The Sox used the fifth overall pick of the draft on Kuiper, who was at Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College, but couldn’t sign him.
The native of Racine, Wis., spurned the Sox as he had after being drafted by the Yankees in 1968 and the Seattle Pilots in 1969.
This wouldn’t be the last time Kuiper would turn down a suitor.
The left-handed hitter was picked by Cincinnati in June of 1970 and the Boston in June 1971 but he turned them down, too.
Kuiper finally signed with Cleveland after the Indians made him their first round pick (21st overall) out of Southern Illinois in the January 1972 draft. Kuiper went on to have a productive big league career as a second baseman with the Indians and Giants.
The sure-handed Kuiper would have looked good in the Sox infield in the mid- and late-1970s. He hit .271 with one home runs and 262 RBIs over his 12 year big league career.
Kuiper hit the only home run of his big league career off the White Sox Steve Stone on Aug. 29, 1977 in Cleveland. This was a fact broadcaster Harry Caray would rib Stone about throughout their time together on Cub telecasts.
The Kuiper draft was a horrendous one for the Sox.
None of the 16 picks made it to the big leagues with the Sox and the only other player aside from Kuiper, currently a popular broadcaster with the Giants, to reach the “show” was catcher John Tamargo.
The Sox picked Tamargo in the fourth round of the secondary phase of this draft out of Miami Dade North Community College but couldn’t sign him. Tamargo ultimately signed with St. Louis in 1973 and went on to play 135 games for the Cardinals, Giants and Expos between 1976 and 1980.
Kuiper’s lone big league home run: https://youtu.be/CysFeS4ZVB4
Here’s a look at some other draftees that got away from the Sox https://soxnerd.wordpress.com/2018/01/12/the-sox-draftees-that-got-away/