Greatest Sports Trades, AKA, The Herschel Walker Great Trade Robbery turns 30.

Tomorrow (10-12-2019) is the anniversary of what I consider the greatest trade agreement in modern American sports: when the 1-15 Dallas Cowboys traded the greatest football player of all time*, Herschel Walker, for what eventually became:

Emmitt Smith
Alonzo Highsmith
Russell Maryland
Kevin Smith
Darren Woodson
Clayton Holmes
Jesse Solomon
David Howard
Issiac Holt
Alex Stewart
Stan Smagala (who had the worst career of any of these people, and he still played 2 years)

The Vikings got:


Herschel Walker
Mike Jones (TE)
Jake Reed (WR)
Reggie Thornton (go team!)
Pat Newman

(the bottom two names don’t even rate a Wiki page. All of Dallas’s players do.)

Anyway, what are some of the biggest trades in your preferred sport? Were they as impactful as this one was?

*University of Georgia, class of 1990, don’t @ me, you know I’m right. :stuck_out_tongue:

In 1970 the Washington Senators traded away the left side of their infield, plus two pretty good pitchers, for Denny McLain, who proceeded to go 10-21.


Bears trade their #1 pick, which turned out to be way down there in the draft because of their 12-4 record, to the Oakland Raiders for Khalil Mack.

Seahawks trade 2 backup defensive linemen (one of whom they were going to cut), plus a 3rd round pick, for Jadeveon Clowney, an overall #1 draft pick a few years ago. And the Texans agreed to pay almost half of Clowney’s salary.

The Bears also traded a first and a third this season. That pick became Josh Jacobs who ran over the Bears and led the Raiders to a win.

The irony of the Herschel Walker trade is that Walker ended up playing for the Cowboys again, a decade later.

The Lakers received a draft pick from the NO Jazz (for Gail Goodrich) in a trade that they used to draft Magic Johnson

The Lakers traded Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Meyers, and Junior Bridgeman for Kareem Abdul Jabbar

The Lakers traded Vlade Divac for Kobe Bryant

In 1980, the Lakers traded Don Ford and a first round pick to Cleveland for Butch Lee and Cleveland’s first round pick in 1982. The Lakers first round pick ended up being James Worthy.

Who can forget “The Trade”

After they win the 1988 Stanley Cup, the Edmonton Oilers trade:

Wayne Gretzky
Marty Mcsorley
Mike Krushelnyski

to the L.A. Kings for

$15 million in cash
Jimmy Carson
and First round draft picks
1988 - Martin Gelinas
1989 - traded to New Jersey Devils
1991 - Martin Rucinsky
1993 - Nick Stajduhar
Edmonton still went on to win another Cup in 1990!

The Doyle Alexander-John Smoltz trade comes to mind. Alexander was very helpful in getting the '87 Tigers to the ALCS, even if they ended up losing to the Twins. The Braves, however, got a Hall-of-Famer for 20 years.

The Eric Lindros trade was the basis of the Colorado Avalanche’s success in the 90s and 2000s. Not only did the franchise receive Peter Forsberg, who wound up being a better player, they received a huge package of other players who either directly contributed to championships or we key pieces in trades (for example, Jocelyn Thibault was a big part of the trade for Patrick Roy).

Lindros was a good player, but his career was quickly derailed by injuries and the Flyers never accomplished much with him.

If I am not mistaken, Kareem had specified he would only play for either New York or L.A. So the Bucks were pretty constrained in what they could do, and made the best deal they could.

As a Royals fan (circa 1984-present), there are 2 trades that are indelible in my mind.

In 1987, the Royals traded a young rookie with just 23 innings under his belt to the New York Mets for a much needed offensive catcher (their regular catcher Jim Sundberg was aging, and on the trading block). The Royals got catcher Ed Hearn, who went on to make 39 MLB plate appearances over the next 2 years. The Mets got David Cone, who would go on to a Hall of Fame-worthy career, posting 61.7 WAR. (The Royals eventually got Cone back for 2 seasons, including a Cy Young award winning 1994).

But in 2012, the Royals mortgaged their future, and traded away the highest ranked prospect they’ve ever had in decades. They shipped 2011 MiLB player of the year outfielder Wil Myers to Tampa Bay for starting pitcher James Shields. The Royals’ rotation stunk, and the GM thought solidifying it would be thing they needed to make a playoff run. They also packaged two other pitching prospects (Mike Montgomery and Jake Odorizzi) in the deal. Royals GM Dayton Moore also asked for one other pitcher, struggling starter Wade Davis.

Mike Montgomery eventually made it to the majors, and is best known for recording the final out for the Cubs in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, bringing a title back to the northside for the first time 108 years. Odorizzi has had solid little MLB career, still pitching now for the Twins. James Shields put up 2 pretty decent seasons for the Royals, anchoring their rotation, and getting to the 2014 World Series (they lost). Wade Davis failed as a starter. So they put him in the bullpen where he posted two of the most dominant relief seasons in the last 20 years. He also recorded the final out of a World Series - crowning the Royals champions in 2015.

(Honorable Mention to the trade sending Carlos Beltran to Houston for Mark Teahen. Beltran was my favorite Royal since Frank White, and that trade soured me to Royals management for years.)

I agree but the trade really didnt work out for the Bucks. Dave Meyers, a 1st round pick out of UCLA, decided to forgo basketball after 5 seasons for a life of religious service. The 80s Lakers might have been the luckiest franchise in the history of sport.

1980: Golden State trades Robert Parish to Boston to swap the #1 and #3 picks.

In effect, this was Robert Parish and Kevin McHale for Joe Barry Carroll.

In late 1981, the St. Louis Cardinals (the baseball one) traded pitcher Pete Vuckovich, catcher Ted Simmons, and closer Rollie Fingers (whom they had just obtained via trade from the Padres) to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielders Sixto Lezcano and David Green, and pitchers Lary Sorensen and Dave LaPoint.

Vuckovich, Simmons, and Fingers were key members of the Brewers’ teams that went to the playoffs for the first time ever in '81, and went to the World Series in '82; between Fingers and Vuckovich, they won both AL Cy Young Awards and one AL MVP in those two seasons.

None of the four players that the Cardinals got in return did a whole lot in St. Louis. Lezcano and Sorensen (the two established players; Green and LaPoint were prospects) only lasted one season each with the Cards, though both of them brought value in later trades: Lezcano wound up being part of the trade package (along with Garry Templeton) which brought Ozzie Smith to St. Louis, and Sorensen was part of a three-team trade that brought Lonnie Smith to the Cardinals.

In hockey in 1967 the Bruins gave up Gilles Marotte (D), Pit Martin ©, and Jack Norris (G) for Phil Esposito ©, Ken Hodge (W), and Fred Stanfield (W). This is known as teh trade which moved the Bruins from a last place to first place team.

Marotte played three years for Chicago before moving to LA and bouncing around ending up in the WHA.

Martin played 10+ years for Chicago and total 627 pts, definitely the bright spot of the trade for Chicago.

Jack Norris played 10 games for the Blackhawks over 2 seasons.

Esposito was a star on the Bobby Orr Bruins as is considered an all time great. He was the first player to crack the 100 point barrier in 1969. He led the league in points in 1969, * 1971-4. (*someone named Bobby Orr, a defenseman won it that year.) He led the league in goals in 1970 and 1975, making 6 straight years.

Ken Hodge was one of Esposito’s wingmen. He played 9 seasons for the Bruins amassing 676 points.

Stanfield centered the Bruins second line with Bucyk and McKenzie. He also played point (along with someone named Bobby Orr again) on their first power play unit. He played 6 seasons for the Bruins scoring 419 points.

The 2012 Rams/Redskins trade for RG3.

The Redskins got RG3 to warm the QB spot for Kirk Cousins.

The Rams got :
2012 -Michael Brockers DT
Janoris Jenkins CB
Isaiah Pead RB
Rokeveous Watkins OT (bust)
2013 - Alec Ogletree LB
Stedman Bailey WR
Zac Stacey RB
2014 - Greg Robinson OT

Of those, only Watkins and Robinson were complete busts. Brockers, Jenkins and Ogletree were good starters. Bailey was on his way to being a stud slot reciever when he was shot. Pead and Stacey were servicable backup/change-of-pace backs who were sidelined by injuries and drugs, but played well for the short time the Rams had them. Even so, the three good players the Rams got made the trade worth it, the rest were just sprinkles on top.

Spam reported (the post above this one, by bgracia)

On December 9, 1965, the Reds traded 30 year old former National League MVP and Rookie of the Year Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles for Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun and Dick Simpson. The very next year, Robinson achieved the Triple Crown and won both the American League MVP and the World Series MVP.

The claim was that he was an “old” 30. oops!