This is the time of year when baseball trade talk is
all the rage. Where will Chris Sale wind up? What about Andrew
McKutchen? And there are other “name” players out there rumored to be
on the move like Justin Verlander, Ryan Braun, Justin Turner and
Day after day in this baseball hot stove season we
are treated to news of deals that have been made and others that might
And all else fails there is always the special route
of Joe Garagiola who bragged, "I went through my baseball life as 'a
player to be named later.' "
Most 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
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 Cardinals and a big-time blunder for the Cubs.
On December 10, 1971, the New York Mets acquired
third baseman Jim Fregosi from the California Angels for a young,
hard-throwing pitcher named Nolan Ryan. It was a steal for the Angels
and a big-time blunder for the Mets.
"The 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."
Harvey Frommer, a professor at
Dartmouth College in the MALS program, is in his 40th year of writing
noted oral historian and sports journalist, he is the author of 42
including the classics: best-selling “New York City Baseball,
best-selling Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,as well as his acclaimed
Remembering Yankee Stadium and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park.
praised When It Was Just a Game: Remembering the First Super Bowl was
Frommer Baseball Classic –
Remembering Yankee Stadium (Second Edition) is his newest sports
effort. A link
to purchase autographed copies of Frommer Sports Books is at: http://frommerbooks.com/
prolific author is at work on
THE ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK (2017) http://frommerbooks.com/advance-praise.html