is the time of year when baseball trade talk is all the rage. Where
will Matt Garza go? Is Jake Peavy staying or will he be traded?
trades wind up uneventful or as someone said, "It all comes out when
you wash the uniforms." But there have been a couple of deals through
the years that were steals for some teams and big-time blunders for the
There are two such
deals that stand out above all others.
On June 15,
1964, the St. Louis Cardinals sent Ernie Broglio, Bobby Shantz and Doug
Clemens to the Chicago Cubs. In return, the Redbirds received Jack
Spring, Paul Toth and a speedy runner named Lou Brock, who went on to
become their franchise player. It was a steal for the Cardinals and a
big-time blunder for the Cubs.
December 10, 1971, the New York Mets acquired third baseman Jim Fregosi
from the California Angels for a young, hard-throwing pitcher. It was a
steal for the Angels and a big-time blunder for the Mets. The pitcher
they shipped away was Nolan Ryan.
American League and the California Angels seemed like a million miles
away," Ryan told me when I was writing "Throwing Heat," Ryan's
autobiography. "I read that Gil Hodges (the manager then) approved the
deal, that he wanted Jim Fregosi, and that he thought I was the
starting pitcher he would miss the least."
How wrong he was.
And then there was
November 18, 1954. The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles began
a trading binge that ended 15 days later. In all, seventeen players
were involved, in one of the most massive trades in baseball history.
The Yankees received
pitchers Don Larsen, Bob Turley, and Mike Blyzka. They also obtained
catcher Darrell Johnson, first baseman Dick Kryhoski, shortstop Billy
Hunter and outfielders Tim Fridley and Ted del Guercio. Baltimore
obtained pitchers Harry Byrd, Jim McDonald, Bill Miller, catchers Gus
Triandos and Hal Smith, second baseman Don Leppert, third baseman Kal
Segrist, shortstop Willy Miranda and outfielder Gene Woodling.
Larsen went on
to be an asset for the Yankees and pitched the only perfect game in
World Series history. Turley was a sturdy starter for years. The rest
just blended away underscoring baseball immortal Branch Rickey's
slogan: "Trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late."
your eyes and ears open as we approach the July 31 trading deadline.
There are buyers. There are sellers. And there are teams who don’t know
what they are. The whole deal is a crapshoot, or more of a game of
blackjack. To stay, to get a hit or not to play. Those are the
questions and time will tell the tale.