Now that the hot stove is starting to heat up I thought I would do something a bit different. Thought I’d talk about some of the Mets trades from the past that I remember very clearly as if they happened yesterday. These are the trades that really got me fired up or down.
December 12, 1969 Mets Amos Otis trade Bob Johnson for Joe Foy. I had only been a Met fan for a year. I heard about this trade on the local evening news. I would always watch the sports religiously during the winter meetings. At the time I said, “Oh that’s too bad. Otis has potential.” Otis only played 19 games with the Mets who wanted to keep Tommy Agee in center (you can’t blame them). Otis went on to become a five time all star, he won three gold gloves and was in the top 10 in MVP voting four times. He ended his career with a very respectable bWAR of 42.6. Foy a went on to hit .236 with six dingers for the Mets. It’s interesting that the Mets had to give up more than Otis for this kind of production. Foy was out of baseball by 1972. So even the World Series Mets made some mistakes… If Otis had stayed with the Mets he might have been considered the best center fielder in club history until Beltran came along.
December 10, 1971, Nolan Ryan traded to the California Angels for Jim Fregosi. The Mets also threw in Leroy Stanton, Francisco Estrada and Don Rose. I was playing APBA baseball with my buddy when news of this trade hit my ear and my brain. Ironically, I had Jim Fregosi on my APBA team so I knew he was a good player (he had a 10 fielding) but man I so did not want to lose Nolan Ryan. You could feel the greatness coming. Well apparently the Mets powers that be couldn’t… When you talk about worse trades in baseball history, this one is up there.
April 5th, 1972, Mets trade Ken Singleton, Mike Jorgensen and Tim Foli to the Expos for Rusty Staub. I was in homeroom the next morning when friends told me of this trade. I hated to see Singleton go. I always liked what he brought to the Mets. Still I knew you had to give up something to get something. Staub really was something, at the time one of the best hitters in the game. (Plus the girl who lived down the street from us actually met him a few times, which I thought was cool.) This was one Mets trade I really liked. Staub would help the Mets to the series in 73. Of course Singleton would go on to have a fine career with the Expos and Orioles, ending with 41.8 bWAR not far below Staub’s career bWAR of 45.8. Still this a trade that made sense.
December 12, 1975, Mets trade Rusty Staub and Bill Laxton for Mickey Lolich and Billy Baldwin. After a few productive years the Mets gave up on Staub sending him to the Tigers for Mikey Lolich who was past him prime. I was once again playing APBA baseball when I learned of this trade. I knew Lolich had won 24 games a few seasons ago, but I still didn’t get this trade. Lolich looked to be out of shape and older than he should have been. Staub went on to have a few good seasons with the Tigers before eventually coming back to the Mets. Lolich just got more and more out of shape.
Midnight Massacre: June 15th 1977, Tom Seaver to the Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman. (The Mets also traded Dave Kingman to Padres for Bobby Valentine and Paul Siebert.) It was actually the morning of the 16th when I heard the news. I was laying on the couch at my parent’s home, I was sick with a nasty summer time flu. I suddenly felt sicker. I could not believe that the Mets would let Seaver go and we weren’t at least getting George Foster out of this deal. Kingman, while never being an elite outfielder was always fun to watch. The man could crush a baseball. I felt the Mets really lost their way on this day. I actually considered giving up on them.
December 10th, 1984, Mets trade Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham, Floyd Youmans for Gary Carter. I wanted to end on a positive note. I was at home watching ESPN when I heard about this trade. Christmas came early that year for Mets fans. The 84 Mets had an air of excitement about them. You knew the Mets were on the right track. They just needed that one player to compliment Hernandez and put them over the top. Carter was it. It may have not been the best trade in Mets history but it ranks right up there.
What were the Met trades that stirred your emotions?
Notes: On the bad trade side, the Kent deal should be here, but living in California at the time the trade didn’t really register with me on a deep level. I was sorry to see Kent go as he played hard for the Mets but I didn’t think Kent would turn into a future MVP and Hall of Fame candidate. I also know the Keith Hernandez trade should be here but somehow that trade didn’t click with my brain at the time. I do remember talking to a friend who had a friend who baby sat for Chris Chambliss and had heard whispers that Hernandez had used cocaine. I said, “Nah, can’t be true he’s way too consistent…”