BEST YANKEES TRADES – NUMBER 2
Larsen was not the same pitcher that was perfect in the World Series years before and Bauer was nearing the end of his career. Maris was just starting his career and added additional pop to a lineup that was already chock full of it. Maris would end up winning back-to-back MVPs in his first two years on the Yankees and battled with Mickey Mantle in the chase to Babe Ruth’s 60 HR record. The Yankees won back-to-back World Series in 1960 and 1961 with Mantle and Maris leading the charge.
Now that is a lot of players in a two-team deal, but really this deal is about Maris, Larsen, Siebern, and Bauer. This was a perfect sell high type of deal for the Yankees. Bauer was a multi-time All-Star was dropping off the downside of his career. Larsen will also be remembered for his epic World Series perfect game but most forget that other than that he was nothing special at all. Seibern did become a three-time All-Star but those years were with Kansas City.
Meanwhile, the Yankees added Marris who immediately won the American League Most Valuable Player award in 1960 and 1961. Now the Yankees nation were not all enamored with Maris because in 1961 he was battling with Mickey Mantle in a chase for home run immortality. Most fans wanted Mantle to break the single-season home run record set by Ruth. Despite all that (and thanks to a friendship with Mantle) he was able to break the record and etch his place in history. His placement at number two in the best Yankees trades list is secure thanks to a single-season record that some still argue is the bar today.
BEST YANKEES TRADES – NUMBER 1
Adam – Babe Ruth from Red Sox For $125K and $300K loan
This is the type of deal you will never see again. While it is considered a trade, it was basically a sale of Ruth to the Yankees. Ruth was a dominant pitcher (most forget that) and just came off a record-setting 29 home run season (yep that number was insane in 1919). However, the Red Sox were strapped so owner Harry Frazee sold him while telling the world that they could no longer deal with Ruth. In that first year, Ruth hit 54 home runs and drove in 137 RBI, which were unheard of in that era. What ensued was the greatest career in the history of baseball as well as the “Curse of the Bambino,” which last 86 years. Being the best player in baseball history and placing a curse on the Red Sox are a couple of reasons why Ruth must be number one on the list of best Yankees trades in franchise history.
Rich – Babe Ruth for cash and a mortgage on Fenway Park
Arguably the best trade in all of sports history if you are a Yankees fan (it’s the worst if you are a Sox fan). This trade not only saved the Yankees (they were not competing well with the Giants and Dodgers in New York – they didn’t even have their own stadium yet, they were sharing with the Giants), it may have saved baseball after the Black Sox scandal of 1919. There were no players involved in this deal besides Ruth. It was straight cash and a side deal that briefly gave the Yankees the mortgage on Fenway (the $300K was a loan with Fenway as collateral!). We all know what happened to both franchises after this deal, and if you are on this site, we don’t need to go into any of those details.
BEST YANKEES TRADES – FINAL THOUGHTS
Adam – I have no doubt that many people that read this will question the ranking of my top-five best Yankees trades in franchise history but filling out number two thru number five was hard with some many other deals in question. I could easily justify placing the deal that brought Sparky Lyle, Roger Clemens, Rickey Henderson, Scott Brosius, and a couple of others in this list without blinking but we decided to cap the number at five. The justification could be made and I would not fault a single person that wants to take up the flag for any of those deals.
Overall, I had to draw a line somewhere and needed to find a criterion to weight each deal. I considered the careers of the players dealt in the deal, impact on championships, place in Yankee lore, and other factors to create the list. I am sure others (including Rich) will disagree but I will be able to sleep like a baby with the five players I chose as the best Yankees trades in team history.
Rich – All teams make good trades, all teams make bad trades, including the Yankees (Buhner for Phelps?). There are many other trades that could have been on this list (trade for Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, and even the Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero trade that the Yankees got the better part of the deal even if Pineda never really amounted to anything) and if your top five is different, I can’t really argue that. Good trades can help a team; great trades can change the history of a franchise; but so can bad ones – just ask the Red Sox!
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