2017 ballot filled with players who broke through with new clubs
By Manny Randhawa
Chances are, you don't remember Larry Andersen, a right-hander who pitched for six teams from 1975-94. But Andersen was part of one of the most lopsided trades in Major League history, a deal that landed the Astros a potential Hall of Fame first baseman.
Jeff Bagwell could be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame next July. But had it not been for Houston's move to acquire him from the Red Sox in 1990, Bagwell's career may have been spent hitting moonshots over the Green Monster, not into the far reaches of the Astrodome or Minute Maid Park.
Here's a look at some notable trades involving players on the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot, beginning with the Bagwell-for-Andersen swap and going in chronological order.
Aug. 30, 1990: Red Sox trade Bagwell to Astros for Andersen
Andersen was 37 years old when Houston sent him to Boston in exchange for Bagwell, a 22-year-old prospect stuck behind first baseman Mo Vaughn and third baseman Wade Boggs on the Red Sox's organizational depth chart.
Andersen appeared in 15 games for Boston over the final month of the 1990 season before becoming a free agent and signing with the Padres.
Bagwell, meanwhile, was the 1991 National League Rookie of the Year, the 1994 NL Most Valuable Player and a four-time All-Star. He slashed .297/.408/.540 with 449 home runs over 15 seasons for the Astros, averaging a 6.0 rWAR per 162 games in his career.
March 30, 1992: White Sox trade Sammy Sosa and Ken Patterson to Cubs for George Bell
Sosa and Bell were born in the same city -- San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic -- nine years apart. And they were playing Major League Baseball in the same city when they were traded for each other in March 1992.
Sosa went from a wiry and speedy outfielder to a bona fide slugger after joining the Cubs. He hit 33 homers in 1993, was an All-Star for the first time in '95, and in '98 hit 66 home runs, second to Mark McGwire's 70.
In all, Sosa hit 545 home runs with a .284/.358/.569 slash line in 13 seasons with the Cubs.
Bell played two seasons for the White Sox, hitting .240/.274/.396. He was released and then retired after the 1993 season.
This was actually the second time Sosa was traded, with the Rangers first dealing him to the South Side in 1989 in a trade package that sent Harold Baines to Texas.
June 24, 1993: Padres trade Gary Sheffield and Rich Rodriguez to the Marlins for Trevor Hoffman, Andres Berumen and Jose Martinez
In a trade that worked out well for both sides, two players on the Hall of Fame ballot -- Sheffield and Hoffman -- were part of the same transaction in June 1993.
San Diego was aiming to cut payroll, and the Marlins needed to strengthen the middle of their lineup.
Hoffman helped San Diego reach the World Series with an MLB-best 53 saves in 1998, and finished his career with 601 saves, second to Mariano Rivera all-time.
Sheffield hit .288/.426/.543 with 122 home runs for the Marlins from 1993 to '98, when he was traded to the Dodgers in a package that sent Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile to Florida. Piazza was traded to the Mets eight days later, for Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnall and Geoff Goetz. Zeile was traded to the Rangers for two Minor Leaguers after 66 games.
July 18, 1993: Padres trade Fred McGriff to the Braves for Vince Moore, Donnie Elliott and Melvin Nieves
McGriff was actually acquired by the Padres in a trade that is arguably more famous, as it saw him and Tony Fernandez sent to San Diego from Toronto in exchange for Joe Carter and Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar on Dec. 5, 1990. But McGriff made his biggest mark with the Braves, which is why we're discussing it here.
When the Padres traded him, McGriff was coming off a year in which he led the National League in home runs, but San Diego was rebuilding. The Braves needed offense, and after acquiring McGriff they won 38 of their next 50 games to surpass the Giants in the NL West, eventually winning the division by one game.
McGriff hit .293/.369/.516 with 130 home runs in five seasons with Atlanta, helping the club to the postseason in all but one (the 1994 strike-shortened campaign) and winning a World Series championship in 1995.
Moore, an outfielder, never reached the Majors. Elliott, a right-handed reliever, appeared in 31 games for San Diego between 1994 and '95, posting a 3.09 ERA. But he struggled in the Minors in 1996 and '98 before retiring.
Nieves hit .207/.278/.407 over three seasons with the Padres before being traded to the Tigers.
Nov. 13 1996: Indians trade Jeff Kent, Julian Tavarez, Jose Vizcaino and Joe Roa to the Giants for Matt Williams and Trent Hubbard.
Kent had already been traded twice in his career at this point, acquired by the Mets in a deal for David Cone and then sent to Cleveland in a trade highlighted by Carlos Baerga going to New York. But Kent became a star in San Francisco, which is why this deal carries the most significance in his career.
Williams was the centerpiece of the return for Kent, and he was on a run of four straight seasons with an OPS of .877 or better when the Giants traded him to the Indians. He hit 32 home runs and drove in 105 runs for the AL champions in 1997. But by '98, he had been traded to the D-backs for Travis Fryman and Tom Martin.
In San Francisco, Kent drove in 100 runs or more in six straight seasons, winning the 2000 NL MVP Award. In six seasons with the Giants, he posted a 31.4 rWAR.
Nov. 28, 2003: D-backs trade Curt Schilling to Red Sox for Mike Goss, Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon and Jorge De La Rosa
Schilling was traded five times in his career in a variety of deals that featured the likes of Brady Anderson, Mike Boddicker, Steve Finley, Pete Harnisch, Glenn Davis, Travis Lee and Vicente Padilla, among others. However, his fifth trade is the most noteworthy.
The D-backs sought to cut payroll following a third-place finish in the NL West in 2003, and among the contracts they wanted to unload was Schilling's, the dominant right-hander who had helped them win a World Series two years earlier.
Of course, Schilling had a no-trade clause, and it wasn't until Red Sox GM Theo Epstein made a sales pitch over Thanksgiving dinner at Schilling's house that the righty agreed to waive it.
Just as had happened with the D-backs, who traded for Schilling in 2000, the Red Sox won the World Series the season after acquiring Schilling. It was Boston's first World Series title in 86 years, capping a postseason run that included a miraculous comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the AL Championship Series against the Yankees.
Schilling gave up one run over seven innings in Game 6 of the ALCS, with a torn ankle tendon sutured to the skin. Blood seeped through his sock and was visible as he pitched. The sock now resides in the Hall of Fame.
Schilling spent four seasons with Boston before retiring after the Red Sox won another World Series in 2007.
Goss, an outfielder, never reached the Majors. Fossum pitched one season for Arizona, posting a 6.65 ERA in 27 starts. Lyon pitched four seasons for the D-backs, posting a 4.03 ERA in 234 relief appearances.
De La Rosa was traded to the Brewers as part of a package that brought Richie Sexson to the D-backs. But Sexson played 23 games in an injury-shortened 2004 season before leaving as a free agent for the Mariners.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyRsports This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.