The St. Louis Cardinals drafted former MLB pitcher Dan Plesac in 1980. He didn’t sign with the team, instead going to North Carolina State before being drafted again by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1983, but he did keep the wire sent by the Cardinals to tell him that he had been picked.
The MLB Draft still isn’t as big of a spectacle as the NBA’s or NFL’s, but Plesac’s telegram is a cool glimpse of how straightforward the process was in 1980:
Congratulations. You are hereby notified that the St. Louis Cardinals National Baseball Club selected your name in the second round regular phase of the Rule 4 summer free agent selection meeting for the purpose of negotiating a professional baseball contract.
By baseball rules, this club has exclusive rights to negotiate with you, and it must iniatiate [sic] negotiations with you within fifteen days after the conclusion of the free agent meeting.
We trust you will give serious consideration to a career in professional baseball. You can expect to be hearing from our scout shortly.
Paul S. Fauks, Administrative Assistant, Minor League/Scouting
The message is signed by administrative assistant Paul S. Fauks, who worked with the Cardinals for 20 years. Fauks eventually became the team’s director of minor league operations before he retired in 1987. He died in 2012.