This 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?
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 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.
On 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
"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."
So keep your eyes and ears open as
we approach the July 31 trading
deadline. There are buyers. There
are sellers. And there are teams who
donít 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