Richardson Backs Off Baseball Claim

Associated Press
Friday, November 25, 2005

ALBUQUERQUE, Nov. 24 -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is coming clean on his draft record -- the baseball draft, that is -- acknowledging that his claim to have been a pick of the Kansas City Athletics in 1966 is untrue.

For nearly four decades, Richardson, often mentioned as a possible Democratic presidential candidate, has maintained he was drafted by the team.

The claim was included in a brief biography released when Richardson was elected to Congress in 1982. A White House news release in 1997 mentioned it when he was about to be named U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. And several news organizations, including the Associated Press, have reported it as fact over the years.

But an investigation by the Albuquerque Journal found no record of Richardson being drafted by the A's, who have since moved to Oakland, Calif., or any other team.

He acknowledged the error in an article in Thursday's editions.

"After being notified of the situation and after researching the matter . . . I came to the conclusion that I was not drafted by the A's," he said.

Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos declined to comment.

Richardson, a right-handed pitcher who played at Tufts University, said he was scouted by several teams in the 1960s.

He said his name appeared on "a draft list of some kind" created by the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. He named team scouts, who he said told him that he "would or could" be drafted. The scouts have since died.

Richardson later developed arm trouble, eliminating any possible pro career.

In the summer of 1967, he played for the amateur Cape Cod League's Cotuit (Mass.) Kettleers. The words "Drafted by K.C." appear next to his name on a faded team program, the Journal reported.

"When I saw that program in 1967, I was convinced I was drafted," Richardson said. "And it stayed with me all these years."

Then-general manager Arnold Mycock said the biographical information was supplied by players or their college coaches.

On a biographical sheet Richardson completed for Tufts in his junior year, he wrote, "Drafted by Kansas City (1966), LA (1968)." He said he wrote those words because he believed they were true.

"I never tried to embellish this," he said. "I never tried to mask it."

Richardson, elected governor in 2002, is seeking a second term.

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