Home / Q: What Was the Worst Baseball Trade of All-Time?

Q: What Was the Worst Baseball Trade of All-Time?

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A: Forget the curse of the Bambino. Compared with this gaffe by the Cincinnati Reds, Boston’s move to trade Babe Ruth looks like a managerial stroke of genius. In 1900, the Reds traded relative newcomer and Renaissance man Christopher “Christy” Mathewson to the New York Giants for the ailing “Hoosier Thunderbolt,” Amos Rusie.

Following this moronic maneuver, Mathewson won 372 games for the Giants, including more than 20 games in 11 different seasons. Today he’s considered one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. As for Rusie, following the trade, he pitched in three games, losing one and winning none. He then promptly hung up his cleats for good, going to work in a paper and pulp mill in Muncie, Indiana. If you were a Reds fan back then, we’re sure you remember the heartache. Actually, if you were a Reds fan back then, we’d be pretty impressed if you remember much of anything.

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  • Omission: Cleveland lets go of Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, and Brandon Phillips, in exchange for a sack of magic beans.

  • My father, a longtime Reds’ fan, still cringes over the name Milt Pappas. Pappas was who the Reds received from the Orioles in exchange for Frank Robinson. I recall the phrase “old 30” thrown in there somewhere, although that’s likely a cut of the actual quote by the Reds. Regardless, the trade was horrid for the Reds, although it’s not like it killed the franchise or anything. Still, any deal like that, that still makes people cringe, is worth remembering.

  • How about Sammy Sosa for Harold Baines?

    I’m not saying it was the worst trade ever, but it wasn’t a good one!