NEW YORK -- The 16th annual winter free agent baseball draft, an oft overlooked amateur selection process which has produced such stars as Tom Seaver and Carlton Fisk, will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 13-14, with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals each getting the top selection in one phase of the draft.
By virtue of their poor performance last season, the Cubs have the first selection in the regular phase of the draft.
Individuals eligible for that phase are generally junior college players, players who withdrew from a four-year college and January high school graduates. The order of selection is based on teams' winning percentage during the 1980 season.
Although the summer free agent draft is much more extensive than the January version, a number of current major league stars have emerged from the winter selection process. In addition to Seaver and Fisk, Steve Kemp, Chris Chambliss,Bump Wills and Roy Smalley were all January draftees.
The Seattle Mariners will choose second in the regular phase, followed by the New York Mets, California Angels and San Diego Padres. Toronto has the sixth selection while St. Louis, the Chicago White Sox, San Francisco and Texas round out the top 10 choices.
Players who have been previously drafted but not signed will be available in the secondary phase. The order of selection, determined by a drawing by the league presidents, gives Detroit the second pick, followed by Cincinnati, California, Houston and Oakland. Selections by the Cubs, Rangers, Mets and Indians will complete the first 10 picks.
The first two rounds of both the regular and secondary phases will be conducted Tuesday.