June 2, 1998
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State junior pitcher Mark Mulder was the No. 2 selection overall by the Oakland A's in Tuesday's Amateur Baseball Draft. Mulder became the first Spartan player picked in the first round since Kirk Gibson went No. 21 to the Detroit Tigers in 1978.
Mulder, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound left-hander earned third-team All-America honors from both the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Louisville Slugger. The South Holland, Ill., native compiled a 6-6 record to go along with a 3.40 ERA in 1998. Mulder, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, set a Michigan State single-season record with 113 strikeouts while issuing only 19 walks. He led the Big Ten in strikeouts at 12.01 per game. In addition, Mulder hit a team-best .335 with 11 doubles, five home runs and 30 RBI in '98.
"A dream came true today," Mulder said. "I was thrilled when the call came from Oakland. I know that I'm going to get a shot with this organization. It has a lot of good, young prospects. I don't know what the A's immediate plans are for me.
"This is what I wanted - to be the first pitcher taken in the draft. Being the first pick overall wasn't that big of a deal to me. The most important thing was being the No. 1 pitcher selected.
"I think the scouts like my overall makeup. They like the way that I handle myself. If I give up a home run, I don't throw my glove on the mound; I just concentrate on getting the next batter out. Scouts like my command because I throw strikes. And scouts certainly find a left-hander who can throw 93-94 miles per hour very intriguing.
"Today has been pretty overwhelming," he said. "Some 60 people have dropped by the house to congratulate me and the phone hasn't stopped ringing.
"I had a lot of fun at Michigan State and I learned a lot from the coaches there. We didn't win a Big Ten championship but we had some good years together.
"I do want to finish my degree," the psychology major said. "It would mean a lot to me and my family to have a diploma from Michigan State. I'm sure I'll be playing fall and winter ball so I don't have a time line in mind but I do want to finish my academic work."