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DAVID CLYDE, '73: The draft was on a Tuesday, and my high school team was playing in the state semifinals on Thursday. The Rangers picked me first overall, and the following week they came down to see me in Houston. It took 30 minutes to negotiate the contract. Then they said, "Do you want to go straight to the big leagues?" I said, "Sure."
BELCHER: It's your wedding day, graduation day and the day you get your first speeding ticket all wrapped into one. It's one of the greatest days of your life, but I wouldn't want to go through it again. It's very exciting but very uncomfortable.
PETTIT: I was the first $100,000 bonus baby. The producer, Stephani, gave me $85,000, plus movie royalties, and the Pirates kicked in $15,000. It wasn't a monumental achievement. It wasn't my ability. It was just money.
KRAUSSE: I was the first to get a $125,000 signing bonus. I thought I had tied Donald Trump. I signed with the Kansas City A's because my father was a scout for them and Charlie Finley offered him a five-year contract to stay on.
BENES: I got the largest bonus at the time, $235,000. We were sitting at dinner last night talking about the million-dollar bonuses first-round picks get now, and my son said, "I bet you wish you could get that?" I told him, "I'll take my 235 and 15 years in the big leagues." It's very hard when you always have to validate what you've been paid.
BANNISTER: Houston drafted me first overall, and their initial offer was $70,000. There were guys picked a lot lower who got more than that. But the Astros had finished 43½ games out of first place and were not doing well financially.
BELCHER: I'm only the second guy drafted No. 1 who didn't sign. I got vilified for it, and it seems like Scott [Boras] has gotten vilified for it every June since. At one point I could've gotten about $100,000. That would've been pretty much in line. But the Twins' final offer was $60,000, third-round money. I went into the January draft in '84 and was picked by the Yankees. I signed on Feb. 2, but the Yankees had to submit their protected list in mid-January and didn't put me on it. The A's took me in the [free-agent] compensation draft six days later. I was on three teams before I played my first game.
KRAUSSE: God help you if you get the huge contract. You're resented from Day One. I made more money than anybody on the team just by signing my name. Other players were jealous. They called me Moneybags. I was alone a lot.
ANDERSON: I bought a four-acre farm. I probably bought 25 cars. I took trips to California to hang out with friends. Focus on the baseball, man. There will be time to spend your money later. A lot of people chase wealth. I know now that it's not all it's cracked up to be. I actually have more fun living on a budget these days. I get more excited about buying new wheels for the van than I got about buying an $80,000 car I had nowhere to park.