The 10th anniversary of drafting Clayton Kershaw
By Jon Weisman
On June 6, 2006, the Dodgers made their best single front-office decision of this century and long before it.
Ten years ago today, Los Angeles took advantage of a rare position high in the MLB draft and selected Clayton Kershaw with the seventh overall pick.
When Kershaw signed two weeks later, it completed what is easily the Dodgers’ single most important transaction since at least 1988, when Kirk Gibson signed as a Major League free agent and subsequently helped lead the Dodgers to the World Series title (in the same year that Mike Piazza was drafted in the 62nd round).
Not since the summer of 1979, when the Dodgers drafted Orel Hershiser on June 5 and purchased the contract of Fernando Valenzuela on July 6, had the Dodgers made more important moves on the development stage. Not since 1968, when the Dodgers drafted Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Buckner, Tom Paciorek, Doyle Alexander, Geoff Zahn, Bobby Valentine and Joe Ferguson — in what no one doubts is the greatest single-year draft haul in baseball history — have the Dodgers had a more meaningful year at the amateur level.
But when boiled down to a single acquisition, Kershaw’s is nearly without parallel. On a Mount Rushmore of Dodgers, he might already deserve a spot, along with Jackie Robinson, Vin Scully and Sandy Koufax. If that’s premature, he’s certainly working his way toward it.
It’s for that reason that we dedicated the 2016 Dodger Yearbook to celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kershaw joining the Dodger organization. Though Kershaw didn’t make his big-league debut until 2008, his presence in this club has been felt from the moment he made his first appearance with Single-A Great Lakes at age 18, throwing two shutout innings, 24 days after he was drafted.
Here’s one small slice of the 27-page special section dedicated to Kershaw in the Yearbook. It’s impossible to express how appreciative of what he has meant to the Dodgers and their fans, but we’ll always try.