Rookies are tested in the executive suite and beyond. A few remarkable debuts—and failures—through modern history
ORSON WELLES (1941)
His first Hollywood film was the masterpiece Citizen Kane.
WILT CHAMBERLAIN (1959-60)
In his first season, "Wilt The Stilt" was named the league's most valuable player and averaged 37 points a game, more than any rookie ever.
HARPER LEE (1960)
A former airline reservation clerk in New York, Lee took a year off to write her first novel: To Kill a Mockingbird.
DAN MARINO (1983)
Drafted as a backup for the Dolphins, Marino ended up leading his conference in passing and starting in the Pro Bowl, the first rookie to do either.
BOB CRANDALL (1985-98)
CEO Crandall guided American Airlines through airline deregulation, instituting the first national frequent-flier program and dual-class labor system.
HERBERT HOOVER (1929-1933)
Sworn in seven months before the stock market crash of Black Tuesday, the 31st President is remembered for the "Hooverville" shanty towns.
JOHN SCULLEY (1983-1993)
After Sculley was recruited to run Apple, the company fired Steve Jobs and headed into a long slide.
SAM BOWIE (1984)
The NBA center, drafted second overall, had the misfortune of a mediocre career after getting picked ahead of six-time champion Michael Jordan.
JERRY YANG (2007-2008)
Yahoo's co-founder was vilified by shareholders for rebuffing a $44 billion acquisition offer from Microsoft and quickly gave up the CEO job.
CONAN O'BRIEN (2009-2010)
As he was bounced for Jay Leno, O'Brien said it was "always my dream to host The Tonight Show—for seven months."