Days are Upon Us
This is the
time of year when baseball trade talk is all the rage. Where will Sammy
Sosa be traded to? Will he be a Met? Will he be a Brave? Will he go to the
the Shawn Green for Raul Mondesi deal? Who made out better - the Dodgers
or the Blue Jays?
day in this baseball hot stove season we are treated to news of deals that
have been made. The Cardinals picked up pitchers Pat Hentgen, 1996 AL Cy
Young winner, and Paul Spoljaric from the Toronto Blue Jays for pitchers
Lance Painter and Matt DeWitt, and catcher Alberto Castillo.
Angeles Dodgers acquired Kevin Orie from the Florida Marlins for a player
to be named later. That was always the special route of Joe Garagiola who
bragged, "I went through my baseball life as 'a player to be named
baseball season is history but next year is kept in the forefront with
trades, trade talk and rumors, and groundwork for future deals laid by GMs
for the winter meetings Dec. 10-14 in Anaheim.
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
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 Cardinals and a big-time blunder for
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.
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
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
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.
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."
# # #
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About the Author:
Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and
"Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE
STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to
acclaim in 2011. The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was
Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One.
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