Wait til Next Year . . . is making a come back.

I am going to mix a bit of the philosophy of my life into this blog as I continue to highlight some of my baseball card collection. (hoping the card collectors of this world welcome me back)

Its been a tough 18 months for me . . . the Chicago Cubs have had it rough as well.

This site will be devoted to all those who need to define what "wait til next year" means.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Santo - Stone Trade in 1973

During every offseason, including this year, there are trades made by teams that many of us start to question. Some we like and some we dont. As I look back at some trades from years gone by, I still get angry and confused as to what some general managers or owners were really thinking.

For me, in one of the saddest (not worst) trades of Chicago Cub history Ron Santo was traded to the Chicago White Sox on December 11, 1973.

Santo was sent to the southsiders (ie Chicago White Sox) in exchange for four players; Steve Swisher (catcher), and three young pitchers including Steve Stone.

Previously, in 1972, Santo actually became the first player to invoke the ten-five rule and block a trade to the California Angels (the ten-five rule allowed players with ten years of service and the last five with the same club to veto any trade). Santo wanted to stay in Chicago, and complete his career with the Cubbies, but the Cubs top brass had other ideas and finally arranged this deal to the White Sox.

Santo was miserable, the worst year of his professional baseball playing life. Sox manager Chuck Tanner had high hopes of good production from Santo in the designated hitter role. Santo hated not being in the field. Tanner gave in, kind of, and put Santo at second base where he was less comfortable and ultimately embarrassed himself. To be fair to Tanner, the Sox had Bill Melton at third base a regular 30 HR man and good defensively.

Fortunately for Santo, the time in the White Sox uniform was short, only one year. Santo retired after that one year, hitting only .221 with five homeruns.

Stone’s best year was several years later; winning a Cy Young award and The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year award with the Baltimore Orioles in 1980 posting a 25 – 7 record. He would later be joined with Santo in the Cubs broadcast booth.

I remember buying these cards together, when I re-entered the hobby in 1984 for $ .10 cents each – probably still a bargain today. The best thing about these cards is that Santo is NOT in a Sox uniform or cap (note the airbrushing and no logo). Stone however is in his new cubbie blue cap.

Sometimes trades benefit teams, sometimes one player shines in his new uniform, and sometimes trades go unnoticed for years. This trade however left a scar in the Chicago Cubs history and was incredibly sad to see a great ball player like Santo reduced to this low level of performance. Sometimes trades are just sad . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment