College kept Broberg from A's in '68

College kept Broberg from A's in '68

In 1968, the Kansas City A's were at a crossroads and on their way to Oakland.

The team was still in Kansas City, but it drafted as the Oakland A's.

Peter Broberg was the club's first-ever Draft pick.

The A's No. 1 pick in the January Draft -- now long gone -- that year was George Hendrick.

The 6-foot-3 Broberg was the No. 2 overall pick of the Draft, and he became one of 19 players in baseball history to go straight to the Major Leagues.

But that wasn't until 1971, and Broberg didn't do it with the A's.

Instead of signing with the ballclub that would make its new home in the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, the right-handed pitcher made his way to Hanover, N.H., to attend Dartmouth College.

"Oakland A's owner Charlie Finely called me and said he would like to make me his No. 1 pick," Broberg said. "He said, 'Everybody must have a price.' ... I didn't take [the $175,000].

"I had to think about it. I wanted to get a college education. I wasn't sure I was going to do that after I went to college."

After three years at Dartmouth, Broberg was drafted by the Washington Senators in 1971 as the first pick overall and went straight to the Major Leagues without playing in the Minors.

"It was negotiated that way [in the contract]," Broberg said. "I would sign with them if they would take me directy to the big leagues. I was ready then to play [out of Dartmouth]. I don't think I was ready out of high school."

He joined Rob Ellis and Burt Hooton, who also made the jump to the Majors that year.

The last player to achieve the feat was Mets outfielder Xavier Nady in 2000.

Broberg broke into the American League as a starting pitching at 21 years old on June 20 and had his most efficient season.

Unfortunately, the Senators had a weak offense and compiled a .230 batting average on their way to a 63-96 record. Washington had one starter -- Bill Gogolewski at 6-5 -- finish the season over .500, and the bullpen recorded a total of 26 saves.

Broberg had the second-best ERA among the starters at 3.47 and finished the season at 5-9. He recorded seven complete games and one shutout.

Broberg is from West Palm Beach, Fla., and he continued to play with the Senators franchise after it moved to Texas and became the Rangers.

Broberg was unable to earn more than five victories in a season with the Rangers, and he was put in the bullpen in 1974.

In 1974, Broberg was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for starting pitcher Clyde Wright.

He earned 14 wins -- a career high -- with the Brewers in 1975, posting two shutouts.

"It very easily should have been a 20-win season," Broberg said. "It wasn't a very good ballclub."

The Brewers finished the season at 68-94, and that is how most seasons finished for Broberg. During his eight-year career with four different franchises, he was a part of only two teams that had more than 80 wins, and he never played in the postseason. During the other six years, the teams never reached over 70 wins.

"Unfortunately, somebody has to play on the last-place teams," Broberg said. "I just happened to be that somebody."

Broberg went on to play with the Cubs in 1977 and finally made his way to Oakland in 1978. His 10-12 season with the A's was his last year in the Majors, and he finished with a 41-71 lifetime record.

"I quit when I was 29," Broberg said. "I was tired of playing for last-place teams."

In 1979, Broberg signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who gave him a choice of going to Triple-A or being released.

"I went home," Broberg said. "They still had to pay me, and the Dodgers paid my way through law school."

Broberg went on to be a lawyer and now owns his own firm in West Palm Beach. But if there were more money in baseball during the 1970s, he would have changed his mind.

"If we made the money they make now, I would have stayed and played until I was 50," said Broberg, who played for $33,000 in 1976. "There were only a few guys making over $100,000 when I played."

Ryan Quinn is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.