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The Sports Edge - Trading places

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By the time you read this, the major league baseball trading deadline will have come and gone, the 'experts' will have weighed in on the winners and losers, and the Red Sox will likely find new ways to disappoint fans down the stretch. New Red Sox boss Dave Dombrowski has been proactive both in the offseason and in advance of the deadline but while he may have made some good deals, Double-D has a way to go to join the ranks of truly memorable trades that I've assembled in my unscientific list of the greatest moves in the history of the game.

1909 - Red Sox trade Cy Young to Cleveland for a suit

Anytime you deal the winningest pitcher in baseball history (with 511 victories), it's a big deal, but Young was thought to be 'in the twilight of his career' after winning 21 games and posting a 1.26 ERA, so the Sox sent him to the Indians for $250 in cash and a new suit. Maybe they were right, as Young slipped to 19 wins and a 2.26 ERA that season and it was a VERY nice suit.

1989 Tom Fortugno to Milwaukee for a bag of balls

Minor league teams often operate on very tight budgets and items must be prioritized. The Reno Silver Sox looked to take care of two birds with one stone when they dealt the veteran reliever Fortugno to the Brewers organization for $2500 and a bag of (hopefully new) baseballs.

1976 Manager Chuck Tanner traded for a catcher

A's owner Charles O. Finley liked winners and when his Tanner-managed club finished second in the AL West, he decided it was time to make a move. With a manager who didn't have the flair of a Billy Martin and unhappy with the production of catchers Larry Haney and Jeff Newman, Finley flipped Tanner to the Pirates in return for Manny Sanguillen. It turned out to be one of Finley's worst moves, as Tanner's Pirates won 96 games and would be World Series champs in 1979, while the new Oakland catcher batted .275 with just six home runs.

2005 John McDonald traded forJohn McDonald

McDonald was a good defensive shortstop but only a .233 career hitter when the Blue Jays shipped him to Detroit in 2005 for a player to be named later. McDonald, who played college baseball for future Maine coach Paul Kostacopolous at Providence, hit .260 in limited duty for the Tigers. When the general managers discussed compensation in the off-season, McDonald was sent back to Toronto, so he was essentially traded for himself.

1973 Yankee pitchers traded familiesand dogsand cars.

The strangest deal in the history of the game was not one negotiated by front office personnel but by the players themselves. In the last gasp of the free love era of the late 60s/early 70s, New York Yankees Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich swapped wives, children, dogs, houses, and cars during spring training. Peterson held a press conference to announce the deal and told the media, 'I hope you won't make anything sordid out of this.' All these years later, Peterson is still married to the former Mrs. Kekich, while his ex-wife and former teammate broke up before they could get legally hitched. No word on how the dogs adjusted.

Deals for Matt Kemp, Andrew Miller and Jon Lucroy are all well and good and may even make a difference in the pennant races but they'll never match the creativity of these earlier trades that will always have a place in the memory of fans.

(Rich Kimball is the host of the 'Downtown with Rich Kimball' radio show, which airs from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday on The Pulse AM 620 WZON.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 26 October 2016 18:42


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