It ought to be the kind of thing I like, since raising the possibility of an even-up trade of Albert Pujols for Ryan Howard prompts pundits to look back in time when speculation about that kind of blockbuster swap wasn’t quite as fanciful as it may be today.
But, in truth, it strikes me more the product of a slow news day as much as anything substantive. I saw some online stories talking about the rumored trade that were as adequately sourced as the mainstream media stories over the last week that contended Tiger might make his return to the PGA Tour at the Masters. Way to go out on a limb, guys.
I know that the expiration of contracts and the status of impending free agency can sometimes make MLB officials do things that otherwise might appear unthinkable at first blush, but Pujols for Howard? Not gonna do it.
(Ted Williams original artwork by Darryl Vlasak.)
One of the news stories I read used the silly rumor as an entree to take another pass at an even sillier one from another generation: Ted Williams for Joe DiMaggio.
The thinking here was that Williams would have benefited handsomely from the short right-field stands at Yankee Stadium, and Joe D would have had a gay old time playing pinball with the Green Monster. He would also be bidding farewell to the cavernous center field and left-center Death Valley at Yankee Stadium that had robbed him of extra-base hits on a boatload of occasions over the years.
Again, an unthinkable swap that would have enraged the fan bases in the American League’s two great franchises.
And while it wasn’t quite in the same ballpark (figuratively speaking) as Williams for DiMaggio or even, for that matter, Pujols for Ryan, the big trade from a half century ago between Detroit and Cleveland was a dramatic and heartbreaking event for thousands of fans from both cities.
On April 17, 1960, Rocky Colavito, the home run champion of the American League was sent to Detroit, and Harvey Kuenn, the 1959 AL Batting Champion, moved from the Motor City to the Indians, and at least at the start it seemed like nobody at all was pleased with the switch.
Cleveland GM “Trader Frank” Lane expressed his bewilderment at all the uproar, which in the early days of the 1960 campaign included dummies with his name scrawled on them hanging from lampposts in Cleveland and picketing at the stadium. “What’s all the fuss about? All I did was trade hamburger for steak.”