The Red Sox may have their Babe Ruth, who was traded to the dreaded New York Yankees for cash in the worst trade ever in baseball. But the Phillies will always remember what happened in 1982 as the worst trade in their history.
I found this article in the Baltimore Sun archives as reference and I was crying while reading this the entire time. What jumped out at me? Dallas Green, the manager of their 1980 championship team, was the new general manager of the Cubs. He robbed his former team blind.
A quote from Green in the article: “I know some people have criticized us because we’ve made so many deals with the Phillies. They’ve called us the Phillies West. That doesn’t bother me. It so happens I know the Phillies’ organization best. And I’ll tell you this, the players that we’ve got all have good heart and they’ll be bringing that to Chicago.”
The Phillies had their eyes set on a young short stop from the Chicago Cubs, Ivan DeJesus. The Phillies wanted to offer Larry Bowa up but the Cubs would not budge unless the Phillies added a prospect they coveted, Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg was a 22 year old untested middle infielder.
It was your typical deal of two bottom teams trying to rebuild. The Cubs wanted to give up a proven starter for two players. In order for the deal to have panned out, Sandberg needed to win a starting spot by next season.
Here is a look at what DeJesus and Sandberg did after the trade:
DeJesus: Lasted 3 years with the Phillies. He batted .228 for the Phillies, totaling 7 homers and 134 RBI’s. He then played 4 more seasons with 4 different teams, playing a total of 80 games.
Sandberg: He played the rest of his career in Chicago, 16 total seasons. He had a career batting average of .285 with 282 homers, 2386 hits, 1318 runs scored, and 1061 RBI’s. He led the league in runs scored 3 times, and in triples and home runs 1 time. He was a 10 time all star, 9 time gold glover, 7 time silver slugger, 1984 NL MVP and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
I don’t need to say any more after what I typed about Sandberg. He was the real deal and DeJesus was one of the biggest jokes in Phillies history. Congrats Phillies. You got hustled.