MINNEAPOLIS -- Former Twins great Tony Oliva has earned the distinction of being one of the greatest ambassadors for baseball in Minnesota.
And now the Twins have asked the icon to once again help usher in a new era of players for the franchise.
For the second straight year, Oliva and Jim Rantz, the Twins' director of Minor League operations, will head to Orlando, Fla., to represent the organization during the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
Oliva is one of the most decorated players in Twins history. The native of Cuba won the 1964 American League Rookie of the Year Award and earned three batting titles over his 15-year career, which was spent entirely with the Twins. Since his playing days ended, Oliva has continued to be a part of the organization and currently serves as the one of the Twins' special assistants.
Rantz, 70, is just as much a baseball legend in the state of Minnesota. A former pitcher, Rantz earned the victory for the University of Minnesota in the deciding game of the 1960 College World Series. After a short stint in the Twins organization as a player and manager, Rantz joined the club's front office in 1965 and has been the team's farm director since 1986. He was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame last May.
MLB.com will carry every pick of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, which takes place June 5-6 at The Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. Day 1 coverage on BaseballChannel.TV begins at 12 p.m. CT, with a special ceremonial draft of former Negro Leaguers who will be on hand.
The First-Year Player Draft follows at 1 p.m. CT, with a simulcast of ESPN2's broadcast of the first round and compensation picks. The remaining rounds on Day 1 will be shown exclusively on BaseballChannel.TV, with live analysis on site from MLB.com Draft guru Jonathan Mayo and David Rawnsley of Perfect Game USA.
Several of the top amateur prospects are expected in attendance for Day 1 of the Draft, and each of the 30 Major League clubs will be represented by front-office executives and baseball luminaries. Fans are welcome to attend Day 1 of the Draft, and admission to The Milk House is free, with seating limited to a first-come, first-served basis.
Day 2 will get under way at 10:30 a.m. CT and continue through Round 50, if necessary. Every pick on Day 2 can be heard live at MLB.com.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.