Baseball America


The Brewers’ front office staff dined on Danish rolls and consumed coffee in the early morning hours of Monday, June 3, 1985, gathering in a conference room at the Milwaukee’s luxurious Pfister Hotel.

The Brewers held the first pick in the draft. So not long after sun rise, general manager Harry Dalton joined a conference call with the commissioner’s office in New York. Dalton then relayed the Brewers’ pick to commissioner Peter Ueberroth, who in turn announced it to the other 25 GMs.

Unlike many draft-day gatherings over the years, there was little anxiety within the group that included Dalton, scouting director Ray Poitevint, executives Dan Duquette, Walter Shannon, Walter Youse and scouting supervisors Nelson Burbrink and Roland LeBlanc.

The Brewers had decided a week earlier that B.J. Surhoff, an athletic catcher at North Carolina, would be their pick. As comfortable as they were in tapping Surhoff, the Brewers also knew they could not have gone wrong with selecting just about any of their top candidates.

“That was a fun year,” said Sandy Johnson, who at the time was the Rangers’ scouting director and now is retired after 53 years in the game. “Every night, or any assignment you had, when you sent your guys out, you saw quality players. You’d go out and you’d see some tremendous athletes and great players.”

As it turned out, the 1985 class included the greatest collection of amateur talent in

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