The weirdest trades in baseball history

17 Jan

Baseball has been a game filled with great trades, good trades, bad trades and some inexplicably weird trades. Baseball trades can be odd in that players can, and have been, traded for actual baseballs. In the minors there are stories of guys being traded for equipment bags. Some of those are pretty tough to verify, but  here are a few incredibly odd baseball trades that you may have missed in the sports pages or possibly may be too young to remember. For your amusement, the weirdest baseball trades ever.

In 1994, future 3,000 hit club member and Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, was traded from the Twins to the Indians for a player to be named later. That isn’t too unusual, even for a HOF member of the future, particularly one past his prime. If you remember 1994 though, you’ll remember the strike as well. Once the players went on strike and it looked like the season was done for good, the two GM’s got together and decided to square up. Rather than wait out getting a player in return, Dave Winfield was traded for a nice dinner. A steak dinner if legend serves correctly.

Harry Chiti was a journeyman catcher that played for pretty much everyone at some point or another. For Harry, being traded was nothing shocking. In 1962 though something odd happened. Cleveland signed Chiti and then sent him to the Mets. Keep in mind, Chiti had yet to play for the Indians and the Mets had yet to play a pro game. Chiti did play for the Mets – briefly and poorly. Cleveland sent Chiti to the Mets for a player to be named later. The player the Mets sent back was none other than – Harry Chiti. Chiti was actually traded for himself!

Get this though – it happened again! Not to chiti, but in 1987, Dickie Noles was sent to the Tigers for a player to be named later, and the Tigers sent him back to the Cubs for himself. History really does repeat itself!

Cy Young, who has more wins than any pitcher ever with 511, managed to be traded. Keep in mind the era, but still think how he had to feel to be traded away to the Indians from Detroit for $250 and a brand new suit. This is a guy that was so good the most prestigious pitching award is named for him, and he was involved in a deal for clothing.

In 2011, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was traded to the Marlins for a pair of minor league players to be named later. Players have been swapped for managers before, but not for unnamed minor leaguers – at least so far as I can find.

Pitcher Tim Fortungo will be known for two things. The first thing is giving up George Brett’s 3,000th hit. Oddly enough though, what most people remember him for was a trade. It wasn’t a lopsided deal of some sort – at least in hindsight. The Angels traded him to the Brewers for $25,000. Okay, that’s still not weird, but the other half of the trade was – the Brewers had to send a dozen baseballs along with the cash to seal the deal. Think of it – a baseball player traded for baseballs.

When lefty Grove was playing for Martinsburg, which was one of the many small independent teams back in the day, he was involved in one of the weirdest baseball trades ever. A storm blew through destroying parts of the small stadium his team played in. The fence was devastated and was going to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,500 to fix. Rather than shell the money out of pocket and keep their best player, they did the logical thing – they sold him for the cost of fence repairs. Grove went on to be recognized as a HOF member and one of the best pitchers ever – not just of his era. Grove was in essence traded for a nail slinger.

If you don’t think those baseball trades are weird, well, I just don’t know what to sell you on. The great thing about baseball is you never know what will happen on the field – or in the front office as these odd trades evidence.


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