Biggest trades of all time
By David Schoenfield
Page 2 staff

The rumored three-team deal involving Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Nomar Garciaparra would probably go down as the biggest trade of all time. You have arguably the best player in the game at the peak of his abilities and two other MVP-caliber players who are potential Hall of Famers. Not to mention total contract values that could purchase a nice block of rowhouses on Beacon Hill.

Until -- if -- it happens, here are the 10 biggest trades of all time -- those shockers which drew the biggest headlines. We considered the star status of the players involved at the time of the deal and their likelihood for quick production, but not their future impact (like the White Sox trading a young, unproven Sammy Sosa to the Cubs).

Wayne Gretkzy
Gretzky had to wipe away the tears at the press conference announcing his trade.

1. Wayne Gretzky: Oilers to Kings
Aug. 9, 1988: The Edmonton Oilers traded Gretzky, D Marty McSorley and C Mike Krushelnyski to the Los Angeles Kings for C Jimmy Carson, LW Martin Gelinas, first-round picks in 1989, 1991 and 1993 and cash.

The other end of the trade was a little light, but no deal was more shocking than this one. The "Great One" was just 27 and in his prime as the most dominant hockey player of all time when Edmonton, which was short on cash, traded him after winning its fourth Stanley Cup of the 1980s.

2. Eric Dickerson: Rams to Colts
Oct. 31, 1987: The Los Angeles Rams traded Dickerson to the Indianapolis Colts in a three-team deal. In return, the Rams acquired RB Owen Gill, RB Greg Bell, the Colts' first- and second-round picks in 1988, the Colts' first-round pick in 1989, the Bills' first-round pick in 1988 and the Bills' first- and second-round picks in 1989. (The Bills acquired LB Cornelius Bennett from the Colts.)

Dickerson had led the NFL in rushing in three of his four seasons, but the Rams traded the disgruntled star during the 1987 strike year. Trades in the NFL are much rarer than in other sports, and this one involved the game's biggest star at the time. Dickerson had two 1,000-yard seasons for the Colts before injuries slowed him down.

3. Mike Piazza: Dodgers to Marlins
May 15, 1998: The Los Angeles Dodgers traded Piazza and 3B Todd Zeile to the Florida Marlins for OF Gary Sheffield, 3B Bobby Bonilla, C Charles Johnson, OF Jim Eisenreich and P Manny Barrios.

This midnight deal came out of nowhere after Piazza had reportedly turned down a long-term deal from the Dodgers. The trade involved four All-Stars (Piazza, Sheffield, Bonilla and Johnson), and at the time Piazza was one of the three or four most valuable players in the game. Piazza spent just a week in Florida before he was traded to the Mets for three minor leaguers.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem would go on to average more than 20 points a game 11 times with the Lakers.

4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Bucks to Lakers
June 16, 1975: The Milwaukee Bucks traded Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley to the Lakers for C Elmore Smith, G Brian Winters, F Dave Meyers and F Junior Bridgeman.

Kareem had been a three-time MVP and scored 30.0 points per game in '75, but the Bucks finished below .500 and made the deal for some promising young players -- Meyers (2nd overall) and Bridgeman (8th overall) had just been drafted and Winters was coming off an all-rookie team season. They became solid players, but not stars -- while Kareem won three more MVP trophies

5. Herschel Walker: Cowboys to Vikings
Oct. 12, 1989: The Cowboys send Walker to the Vikings for LB Jesse Solomon, DB Issiac Holt, RB Darrin Nelson, LB David Howard and DE Alex Stewart as well as six assorted draft picks (conditional 1st- and 2nd-rounders in '90 and '91; 1st rounder and conditional 3rd in '92).

The trade was complicated and ended up being known more for how it built the Cowboys' dynasty of the '90s, but it was huge at the time. Walker was 27 and supposed to lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl. While he never matched his 1988 season, when he was second in the league in rushing, the Cowboys' final bundle from the deal (via various other trades) included Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith and Darren Woodson.

6. Wilt Chamberlain: Warriors to 76ers
Jan. 15, 1965: The San Francisco Warriors traded Chamberlain to Philadelphia for C/F Connie Dierking, G Paul Neumann, F Lee Shaffer and cash.

Chamberlain, 28, had led the NBA in scoring in each of his five seasons when this stunner was completed, as the Warriors -- in need of cash -- sent "The Stilt" back to Philly. That season, Chamberlain topped the league in scoring again and led the Sixers to the title in 1967 -- versus the Warriors.

7. Babe Ruth: Red Sox to Yankees
Jan. 3, 1920: The Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000 and a $300,000 loan to Boston owner Harry Frazee.

Only one player involved -- but what a player. And don't underestimate how big Ruth's name was in the sport when the sale was made. Ruth had been a World Series star with the Red Sox and set the single-season home-run record in 1919. With the possible exception of Ty Cobb, he was easily the biggest figure in baseball.

8. Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter
Dec. 5, 1990: The Toronto Blue Jays traded Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez to the San Diego Padres for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar.

A challenge trade involving four All-Stars and two likely Hall of Famers (McGriff and Alomar). All were stars at the time. This winter meetings blockbuster was different from what we see today, when most deals are about dumping contracts and acquiring prospects.

9. Eric Lindros: Nordiques to Flyers
June 20, 1992: The Quebec Nordiques traded the rights to Lindros to the Philadelphia Flyers for G Ron Hextall, C Mike Ricci, C Peter Forsberg, D Steve Duchesne, D Kerry Huffman, a first-round pick in 1993 (G Jocelyn Thibault), LW Chris Simon and a 1994 first-round pick.

OK, Lindros wasn't an established superstar, but everyone knew the holdout would be a future star. He refused to sign with Quebec after being drafted in 1991, which proved the best thing for this moribund franchise (the team later moved to Colorado). Most importantly, the trade brought in Forsberg, who became one of the NHL's best all-around players.

10. Reggie Jackson: A's to Orioles
April 2, 1976: The Oakland Athletics traded Reggie Jackson, Ken Holtzman and Bill Van Bommell to the Baltimore Orioles for Don Baylor, Mike Torrez and Paul Mitchell.

A shocker right before the start of the season moved Reggie (36 HRs in '75) and Holtzman (18 wins) for Baylor (25 HRs) and Torrez (20 wins). In their careers, the two hitters combined for over 900 home runs and the pitchers for 359 wins.

Also receiving votes:

  • Nets sell Julius Erving to Sixers for $3 million (1976).
  • Cardinals trade Rogers Hornsby to New York Giants for Frankie Frisch and Jimmy Ring (1926).
  • Mariners trade Ken Griffey Jr. to Reds for Mike Cameron, Brett Tomko, Antonio Perez and Jake Meyer (2000).
  • Philadelphia A's trade Lefty Grove, Rube Walberg and Max Bishop to the Red Sox for Bob Kline, Rabbit Warstler and $125,000 (1933).
  • 76ers trade Wilt Chamberlain to Lakers for Archie Clark, Darrell Imhoff, Jerry Chambers and cash (1968).
  • Colts trade rights to John Elway to Broncos for Chris Hinton, Mark Herrman and a first-round pick (1983).
  • Mets deal Tom Seaver to the Reds for Pat Zachry, Steve Henderson, Doug Flynn and Dan Norman (1977).
  • 76ers trade Charles Barkley to Suns for Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry and Andrew Lang (1992).
  • Philadelphia A's trade Jimmie Foxx and Johnny Marcum to the Red Sox for Gordon Rhodes and $150,000.


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    Page 2's List: Most lopsided trades in sport history

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