Friday, September 17, 2004

Dumb Sports Deals Of All Time

Mr. Irrelevant threw out a question of “what is the worst trade of all time?” He had the Curt Schilling, Pete Harnich and Steve Finley-for-Glen Davis trade on there. But, here are a few others that could make it up there.

*In 1983, John Elway was the #1 overall pick…..of the Baltimore Colts. Elway refused to play in B-more….and had a baseball career lined up. So, the Colts dealt him to the Broncos for QB Mark Hermann, OT Chris Hinton and a 1st rounder in 1984 [Ron Solt]. Elway wento on to 5 Super Bowls….winning two…and becoming the QB with the most wins in NFL history. Hinton did make a few Pro-Bowls, with Hermann and Solt really not making a huge impact on the Colts…..nothing near the realm of what Elway did in Denver.

*In June 1980, the Golden State Warriors traded Robert Parish and the #3 pick in the draft to the Boston Celtics for the #1 and #13 pick in the 1980 draft. With that #1 pick, Golden State nabbed Joe Barry Carroll. With #13, they got Rickey Brown. The Celtics used the #3 pick to get Kevin McHale. As we all know, Parish and McHale joined Bird to form one of the best frontcourts of all time….resulting in 3 NBA Championships in 5 Finals. Both are amongst the NBA’s Top 50 Players. Carroll did play well early in his NBA career….but the Warriors only made the playoffs once with him there. Brown never average more than 6 ppg.

*The Cincinnati Reds thought they should trade away one of their stars before he entered his decline. So they did. They dealt him to Baltimore for Milt Pappas, Dick Simpson and Jack Baldschun. They guy they dealt was Frank Robinson. Robinson went on to win the Triple Crown that season and led the Orioles to a World Series title. Good move, Cincy!!

*Here are two trades that built dynasties. First, the Dallas Cowboys traded Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for 5 players and 6 draft picks. Emmitt Smith was chosen with one of those picks….and others were used in bait for other deals. Walker’s reign in Minnesota lasted just 2 ½ years.

*Eric Lindros was traded from the Quebec Nordiques to the Philadelphia Flyers. Lindros refused to play for Quebec, who drafted him. So, the ‘Diques made the deal. Quebec got back Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextal, Chris Simon, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman, Steve Duchesne, a couple of draft picks and cash. A couple of years after the deal….the Nordiques moved to Colorado, become the Avalanche, and win 2 Stanley Cups and 8 straight division titles. Lindros wasn’t a bust….but he also wasn’t the next Mario or Wayne, either.

*Of course, what kind of list would this be without the selling of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees. The trade, I guess, is Babe Ruth for the musical “No No Nanette”….which the Red Sox owner needed money to finance. So, the Sox made the deal…..and we all know the significance since then. And that isn’t the only time a superstar was sold. The New York Nets sold Dr. J to the Sixers for $3M. Their fans sued the team for a refund of their tickets….and won. The Nets then moved to Jersey when they moved into the NBA. In a few years, the Nets will be going back to NYC.

Here are a few other bad deals over the years.

*Dodgers trade Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields.

*Mets trade Nolan Ryan, Don Rose, Leroy Stanton and Francisco Estradea to Angels for Jim Fregosi

*Bulls make a draft day deal by trading Olden Polynice to the Sonics for Scottie Pippen.

*St. Louis Hawks trade Bill Russell to the Celtics for Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan.

*White Sox trade Sammy Sosa across town to the Cubs for George Bell.

*Red Sox trade Jeff Bagwell to Astros for Larry Anderson.

*Tigers trade John Smoltz to Braves for Doyle Alexander.

Many of these deals are made with young guys going to new places and just panning out better than anyone expected. So, you never know when your team does make that big deal and you see the garbage you get in return……might just turn into gold.


aeneashunter said...

Eh, it's easy to criticize trades in hindsight.  Let me give you an example from your list.  Larry Andersen was an outstanding middle reliever, and the Red Sox were in the middle of a pennant race.  They hoped that Andersen would put them over the top.  Meanwhile, Jeff Bagwell was a minor league third baseman.  The Red Sox had Wade Boggs at third base, and a minor league first baseman named Mo Vaughan.  So they traded Bagwell, who was a first rate prospect, for a good middle reliever that they needed for the stretch run.  (This was a trading deadline deal, not an off-season move.)

The Red Sox did not win a championship with Andersen, and Bagwell went on to have a borderline Hall of Fame career with the Astros.  But Bagwell wouldn't have beaten out Boggs or Vaughan in all likelihood.  So was it really all that bad a trade?  In hindsight, yes, but hindsight can be misleading.

rprecupjr said...

Somehow both you and Mr. Irrelevant have missed what most consider the worst trade in baseball history....Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio et al. Like the Bagwell trade, at the time it looked like a good deal....the Cubs needed pitching and Broglio was a decent above .500/under 3.00 power pitcher, and Brock was a sub .275 hitter with minimal power but good speed....and a lousy glove (lifetime 196 errors....for an outfielder....ouch). But, like the Bagwell deal, it certainly turned out different: Broglio went 14-31 in his stint with the Cubs and well, we all know what Brock did with the Cards and what he did to the stolen base records until Rickey came along. And not only do the numbers sting....but what team is the Cubs biggest rival in the NL? Couldn't have been worse if were traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees, like that Ruth guy :)

sportzassassin said...

"Eh, it's easy to criticize trades in hindsight.  So was it really all that bad a trade?  In hindsight, yes, but hindsight can be misleading."

Yes...hindsight is 20-20....but that's the whole point of trades.  What did you trade away for what you got.  Yes, in baseball especially, teams in the pennant race will trade the future away for a shot right now.   But that is the entire risk of the deal.  Just as you can look at it the other direction.  The Astros traded away a middle reliever for their first baseman for the next 14 years who has performed a tier or two under Hall Of Fame standards.  Great trade for Houston.  

Just as it is with trading draft in the Vikings/Cowboys situation.  A few years ago...the Saints HAD to have Ricky Williams.  So they went a-tradin'.  The Redskins were part of that whole scrum...and in that dropped down in that draft and picked up Champ Bailey [who has now become Clinton Portis].  They also got another pick in the 1st round who turned out to be Jon Jansen...their starting right tackle [who's currently injured].  They also got the Saints' 1st round pick the next year....which happened to fall at #2 overall.  They picked up LaVarr Arrington with that selection....and that freed them up to take Chris Samuels, their starting left tackle, with their own pick...#3 overall.  So, essentially, the Redskins traded Ricky Williams [who isn't in the NFL anymore] for Jon Jansen, Clinton Portis and LaVarr Arrington.  Not too shabby. hindsight...that was one heck of a trade for Washington.