Fifty years ago this spring, three Hall of Fame pitchers planted the seeds that would change baseball’s harvest irrevocably, and for the better. One seed kind of opened the door for the other, if indirectly, but once baseball’s field was tilled for the other (kicking and screaming, of course) the game’s and perhaps the country’s worst fears proved largely unfounded.
Colavito for Kuenn. Brock for Broglio. Decades to recover. Of all the actual or alleged curses inflicted upon the Indians and the Cubs, maybe none of them impacted each franchise the way those two deals did.
One involved a slugging, run-productive outfielder who seemed Hall of Fame bound until injuries finally took their toll. The other became a Hall of Fame outfielder whose particular stock in trade was leading off magnificently, with a little power and a lot of contact ability, then turning games into track meets and crime scenes with his stolen base virtuosity.
Here, the stories behind each staggering deal.
Red Sox Nation may be stung somewhat by the Kevin Youkilis trade to the White Sox, especially considering the demeaning his manager inflicted on him earlier in the season. But they can take heart that this may not quite prove to be the absolute worst trade of all time involving a fan and clubhouse favourite.
For that dishonour you’d have to hark to Cleveland, where they still can’t forget the capricious trade of a run-producing machine, with a modest batting average, for a singles-hitting outfielder whose often-gaudy batting averages masked that he wasn’t worth too many runs on the scoreboard. A trade about which the Indians general manager who made the deal crowed, “What’s the fuss all about? I just traded hamburger for steak.”