Weekly Dime–Top 10 Most Bizarre Trades in Sports

In the world of professional sports, teams often attempt to improve their team or reduce their salary cap number via the trade. Big time sports are a business, and the goal of any business is to make money. To make money a team must win and to win a team must always look to improve. The idea of a trade is to benefit both teams but that is not always the case. As Annie Savoy from Bull Durham states “…bad trades are part of baseball – now who can forget Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, for God’s sake?” She was speaking specifically about baseball, but bad trades occur all the time across the sports world. Today we are going to look at the top ten most bizarre trades in all of sports. Without further ado here is my top ten list of the most bizarre trades in sports.  

10) Dave Winfield for Dinner 

In 1994 the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians agreed in principle to a trade that would send Dave Winfield to the Clevland Indians for a player to be named later. A player strike threatened to negate the deal because the 42-year-old Winfield was in the last year of his deal and the “player to be named later” was never named. The front office of the Indians took the Minnesota executives out to dinner over the winter picking up the tab and completing the trade for the future hall-of-famer. 

9) Keith Comstock for a Bag of Baseballs and a Hundred Bucks  

Keith Comstock had spent 14 years in the minor leagues before breaking into the big leagues. In the spring of 1983, Comstock was pitching for the Oakland A’s when the Detroit Tigers came calling for Comstock. The Tigers initial offer of $100 was refused so Detroit decided to up the ante and throw in a bag of baseballs. Making the deal extra special for Comstock is the fact that he was tasked with delivering the bag of baseballs to complete the deal.  

8) Tom Marting for a Used Bus  

Tom Martin was a professional hockey player bouncing back and forth between the NHL and American Hockey League. The fifth-round draft pick for the Winnipeg Jets in 1982 is best known as the player who was traded from the Seattle Breakers of the Western Hockey League to the Victoria Cougars for a used bus and “future considerations” in 1983. Tom Martin gained the nickname “Bussey” as a result of the trade.  

7) Lefty Grove for a Fence 

The Martinsburg Mountaineer’s fence around the ballpark had been destroyed by a storm prior to the 1920 season. The Mountaineers had to play all their games on the road until the fence could be repaired. Enter Lefty Grove. The minor-league Baltimore Orioles inquired about Groves and a deal was struck to send Grove to Baltimore in exchange for the $3500 required to build a new fence around the ballpark.  

6) Cliff Dapper for Broadcaster Ernie Harwell 

In 1948 Ernie Harwell was a young broadcaster for the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association, an independent baseball league. The Brooklyn Dodgers broadcaster Red Barber fell ill and was unable to call games for the rest of the season. A deal was struck, and Harwell was sent to Brooklyn while the Crackers received catcher Cliff Dapper in return. Harwell went on to call games for over 50 years, a majority of those in Detroit, before retiring in 2002. 

5) John McDonald for…John McDonald 

Utility infielder John McDonald was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Detroit Tigers for what turned out to be a trade for himself. On July 22nd of 2005 McDonald was sent to Detroit for a “player to be named later” the deal was to be finalized down the road. In November of 2005, the deal was finalized when Detroit sent McDonald back to Toronto for cash considerations completing the trade.  

4) Kyle Korver for a Copy Machine  

In 2003 Kyle Korver was drafted by the New Jersey Nets with the 51st pick in the NBA draft. The Nets traded Korver to the Philadelphia 76ers for “cash considerations.” The New Jersey Nets then used the money from the trade to pay for their summer league entry fee and a copy machine. Kyle Korver went on to play 17 seasons in the NBA and finished his career ranked fifth all time in 3-pointers made with 2,450 while the copy machine is no longer functioning.  

3) Cy Young Traded for $300 and a Suit 

Hall of famer Cy Young won over 500 games during his storied career and had the award given to the best pitcher in both the American and National league named after him. Young began his major league career in July of 1890 when the minor league ball club the Canton Nadjys traded him to the Cleveland Spiders for a suit and $300.  

2) Bill Belichick for Draft Picks 

Prior to building a football dynasty with the New England Patriots, Belichick was an assistant coach and the hand-picked successor for Bill Parcels and the New York Jets. Belichick originally accepted the job but a day later he wrote a handwritten letter of resignation on a napkin which stated, “I resign as HC of NYJ.” So, what did New England have to trade to get the rights to Belichick who was still under contract? According to sportsyahoo.com a first-round pick (16th overall) in 2000, and fourth- and seventh-round picks in 2001 to New York, and the Jets gave New England a fifth-round pick in ‘01 and a seventh-rounder in ‘02.” This was a trade that would forever alter the trajectory of the New England Patriots.  

1) Johnny Jones for a 25lb Live Turkey 

In 1931 Johnny Jones was a shortstop for the Chattanooga Lookouts, the minor league affiliate of the Washington Senators. Director of baseball operations Joe Engel, who was notorious for stunts such as having players ride elephants to the stadium, was desperate to trade Jones. A deal was struck between the Lookouts and the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets would receive Jones and in return they sent a 25lb live turkey. Engel’s justification to Jones for the trade was “the turkey was having a better year.” 


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