Friday, July 20, 2012
5,000 days since the Konerko-Cameron tradePosted by Chris Jaffe
5,000 days ago, a rather impressive baseball trade went down. Two teams swapped players—both of whom turned out to have rather impressive careers. At the time, neither were big names by any means. One was a prospect trying to break into the majors. The other was still trying to prove he could hit well enough to stay in the majors.
5,000 days ago, on Nov. 11, 1998, the Reds traded Paul Konerko to the White Sox for Mike Cameron.
Konerko had barely played in the majors. In 81 games, he’d hit .214 with just 11 extra base hits. But he was a well-regarded prospect at first base. And the White Sox needed someone to put at first. Longtime All-Star Frank Thomas, never much of a defender, was shifting to DH. The Sox used Wil Cordero at first in 1998, and they wanted to do better than that. Konerko seemed to fit that bill.
As for Cameron, he’d done a good job when handed the starting job in center field in 1997, hitting well while providing spectacular defense. But in 1998 he regressed badly. He could still field, but he batted just .210 without much power or many walks. Chicago had some young outfielders emerging named Carlos Lee and Magglio Ordonez, and Cameron was expendable.
The Reds already had Sean Casey at first base, and they liked him an awful lot. So Konerko was expendable. They had a veteran center fielder in Reggie Sanders, but at age 30 he'd had a down season in 1998. Time for some new blood.
The trade ended up working well for both teams. Konerko established himself as a South Side fixture. Though he’s had some epic slumps, he’s also hit for them. 5,000 days later, he’s still with the team and is one of the most popular players in franchise history. Whatever his defensive and base running liabilities, Konerko has always hit. Even now at age 36, he’s still hitting well.
As for the Reds, trading for Cameron helped turn their team around. They nearly won the Wild Card in 1999, thanks largely to an improved defense anchored by Cameron in center. After a terrible campaign at the plate in 1998, Cameron rebounded and remained a quality all-around player for years.
What’s more, Cameron’s arrival made Reggie Sanders redundant, and Cincinnati traded him to San Diego for Greg Vaughn. In 1999, Vaughn bashed 45 homers for the Reds, guiding their offense in their play-off near-miss.
Cameron only spent the one season in Cincinnati. In the following offseason, he was the centerpiece of the package deal the Reds sent to Seattle for Ken Griffey Jr. By metrics like WAR, Cameron was a far better player than Konerko – 43.2 WAR to 25.5 – but Cincinnati got Cameron for only one year. In fact, by WAR Cameron was more valuable than Griffey after their trade, but that’s not the trade having its “day-versary” today.
The day-versary trade was Konerko for Griffey, which happened 5,000 days ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their “day-versary” or anniversary. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim.
4,000 days since Bobby Abreu hits the 10,000th home run in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies.
4,000 days since Shoeless Joe Jackson’s 40-ounce bat, Black Betsy, sells at an auction for $577,610.
4,000 days since Bret Saberhagen pitches in his last game.
4,000 days since football player-pro wrestler Steve “Mongo” McMichael is ejected at Wrigley Field for insulting umpire Angel Hernandez during the seventh inning stretch.
5,000 days since the Dodgers trade Bobby Bonilla to the Mets for Mel Rojas.
7,000 days since Dale Murphy appears in his final game.
7,000 days since Rickey Henderson sets a personal best by driving in five runs in one game. He’s 2-for-4 with a triple and home run as his A’s edge the White Sox, 12-11.
7,000 days since umpire Jim McKean ejects Blue Jays mascot B. J. Birdie for making gestures the umpire found inappropriate.
8,000 days since Edgar Martinez hits the only walk-off home run of his career. It’s career homer No. 13 out of 308 for him.
8,000 days since White Sox slugger Frank Thomas hits his first home run.
8,000 days since former star pitcher Larry Jackson dies.
8,000 days since Roger Clemens wins his 150th game, putting him halfway to 300.
15,000 days since pitcher Doyle Alexander makes his big league debut.
1858 or 1859 For the first time ever, admission is charged to a baseball game. 1,500 pay 50 cents each to see the New York and Brooklyn All-Stars square off. I have this occurring in both 1858 and 1859. One of them must be the correct year.
1877 Will White, 200-game winner, makes his big league debut.
1889 Hall of Fame pitcher Pud Galvin surrenders the 100th home run of his career. He’s the first hurler to allow that many.
1901 Hall of Fame outfielder Heinie Manush is born.
1904 Washington trades 200-game winner Al Orth to the Yankees for a pair of pitchers.
1905 Dodgers shortstop Phil Lewis handles 18 chances in a 2-1 win over the Reds.
1906 Mal Eason throws a no-hitter in a 2-0 Cardinals win over the Dodgers.
1911 Wildfire Schulte hits for the cycle for the Cubs against the Phillies.
1912 Yankees pitcher Ray Caldwell has a big day. Appearing as a pinch runner in the first game of a doubleheader, he steals home in a 4-3 New York win over the Indians. In the nightcap, he pitches a complete game shutout for a 4-0 win.
1913 Washington buys rubber-armed starting pitcher George Mullin from Detroit.
1916 An era comes to an end when the New York Giants trade longtime standout Christy Mathewson to the Reds. Going with Mathewson are two other future Hall of Famers, Edd Roush and Bill McKechnie (who will go into Cooperstown as a manger). In exchange, New York gets Red Killefer and Buck Herzog.
1918 Jesse Haines, 200-game winner, makes his big league debut.
1922 Rogers Hornsby sets a 20th century NL record by hitting his 25th home run of the year. It’s a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth that allows the Cardinals to win by one run, 7-6.
1924 Babe Ruth legs out the sixth of his 10 career inside the park home runs.
1925 Dazzy Vance, by far the most dominant strikeout artist of his day, fans 17 in one game, his personal best.
1929 Goose Goslin gets his 100th home run. He’s the first player to get triple digits for Washington.
1929 Hack Wilson’s longest hitting streak peaks at 27 games. He’s 42-for-107 with three doubles and nine home runs.
1930 Lefty Grove gets his 100th win, for a career record of 100-55.
1930 Frankie Frisch gets six RBIs in one game, his personal best.
1930 Rabbit Maranville hits his sixth and final career outside-the-park home run. He has 28 career homers: 21 inside the park homers, one bounced homer, and the other half-dozen that actually clear the fence. These six balls beyond the playing field occur in 11,256 plate appearances.
1933 Babe Herman hits three home runs in one game.
1937 The Browns fire player-manager Rogers Hornsby. He plays in the last game of his career this day before getting canned.
1938 The Cubs replace Charlie Grimm with Gabby Hartnett as team manager.
1938 Johnny Mize, a week after hitting three homers in a game for the first time, does it again today. He’ll end his career with a half-dozen such games, which is still the most ever.
1938 Tony Oliva is born.
1939 Red Ruffing, at age 34, steals a base for the only time in his career.
1941 With his 56 game hitting streak over, Joe DiMaggio begins a new hitting streak. It lasts 16 games, giving him hits in 72 out of 73 contests.
1942 Tigers player Mickey Stanley is born.
1944 Nels Potter of the St. Louis Browns becomes the first player ejected for throwing spitballs.
1946 Longtime Tigers ace Thomas Jefferson Davis "Tommy" Bridges appears in his final game.
1947 For the first time in major league history, two black players appear in the same lineup: Hank Thompson and Willard Brown for the Browns against the Red Sox.
1947 Mel Harder, pitching in what will be the final complete game of his career, balks for the first time since 1931. He lasted over 3,100 innings between balks.
1951 The Giants place slugger Bobby Thomson at third to replace Hank Thompson. This will be a good move that helps them capture the pennant.
1952 AL and NL presidents Warren Giles and Will Harridge become directors for the Hall of Fame. (Shockingly, both will later be elected to Cooperstown.)
1953 The Browns select Vern Stephens off waivers from the White Sox.
1955 Jim Bunning makes his big league debut.
1956 For the third and final time in his brief big league career, Monte Irvin hits two home runs in one game.
1957 Duke Snider hits his 300th home run. He is just the 14th man to do so.
1958 Indians catcher Jay Porter tries a first baseman’s mitt to catch Hoyt Wilhelm’s knuckler. The result: four passed balls.
1958 Jim Bunning pitches a no-hitter, fanning 12 while walking two for a Game Score of 97.
1960 Mickey Mantle smashes a pitch from Cleveland’s Gary Bell over the auxillary scoreboard into the distant upper deck.
1960 Mike Witt, 1980s Angels ace pitcher, is born.
1961 The Mets sign amateur free agent Paul Blair, who will become an Orioles defensive stud in the outfield.
1962 Mickey Mantle launches a home run into the left field stand’s third deck. That’s tough to do.
1963 The longest hitting streak of Harmon Killebrew’s career peaks at 13 games. That’s righ—just 13 games. He only has 15 hits in it, too.
1963 The Dodgers beat the Braves 5-4 thanks to a three-run home run by Sandy Koufax, of all people.
1965 Mel Stottlemyre becomes the last AL pitcher to leg out an inside the park home run. It’s actually an inside-the-park grand slam, the first by any pitcher since 1910.
1966 Ernie Banks gets his 2,000th hit.
1968 The Giants top the Astros 1-0 when 37-year-old Willie Mays scores from first base on a single by Jim Ray Hart.
1969 Vida Blue makes his major league debut.
1969 According to one bit of (likely fictional) baseball lore, former Giants manager Alvin Dark once said that pitcher Gaylord Perry wouldn’t homer until someone landed on the moon. Perry does just that tonight—20 minutes after Apollo 11 lands on the moon.
1970 Jeff Burroughs makes his big league debut.
1970 Bill Singer of the Dodgers no-hits the Phillies. He doesn’t walk anyone either, but hits a batter, and the Dodgers have two errors—both by Singer.
1971 Catcher Charles Johnson is born.
1972 Carl Yastrzemski receives a walk-off walk.
1973 Wilbur Wood starts both ends of a doubleheader for the White Sox, and it doesn’t go well.
1974 Bengie Molina is born.
1976 Hank Aaron hits his 755th and final home run.
1978 Chris Speier hits for the cycle for Montreal.
1979 Gaylord Perry wins a game, pushing his career record 65 games over .500 (277-212), his all-time high. He’ll go 37-53 from here on out.
1979 Detroit trades Rusty Staub to the Expos for cash and a player to be named later. Staub was the most popular player in Montreal history in his earlier stint there, in which he was called Le Gran Orange.
1980 Some fans in Three Rivers Stadium throw a nine volt, two-inch radio battery at the head of Dave Parker. They miss, but threw it so hard that it bounces 200 feet after hitting the turf.
1982 A 21-year-old woman jumps to her death at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. She falls 35 feet in the third inning.
1983 Ralph Houk becomes the 11th manager to win 1,500 games. His record is 1,500-1,416.
1983 Baltimore’s Disco Dan Ford hits three homers in one game.
1983 Philadelphia’s Charles Hudson is two outs from a no-hitter when he allows a single and two homers. He still wins, 10-3 over Houston.
1985 Cecil Fielder makes his big league debut.
1987 Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly records 22 putouts in one game, something last done in the AL in 1906.
1992 Shane Reynolds makes his big league debut.
1993 Tony LaRussa loses his 1,000th game, giving the skipper a record of 1,173-1,000.
1995 Mets outfielder Brett Butler gets four hits, giving him 15 in four days, one shy of the record set by Milt Stock in 1925.
1996 Greg Maddux loses his 100th decision for a career record of 160-100. He does it by surrendering the only walk-off hit of his career, a single by Derek Bell for a 2-1 Astros win.
1996 Starting pitcher Kirk McCaskill plays in his final game.
1997 Phil Garner manages his 1,000th game. His record is 482-517.
1998 Chipper Jones hits his 100th home run.
2000 Carl Everett gets a 10-game suspension for twice bumping an umpire in a Mets game last week. He’ll blame the media for it.
2000 Manny Ramirez hits two homers in a game for the second time in three days.
2000 MLB agrees to rehire 10 of the 22 umpires who resigned last September.
2001 Three True Outcomes God Adam Dunn makes his big league debut.
2002 Carl Crawford makes his big league debut.
2003 Albert Pujols hits his 100th home run.
2003 Jeff Bagwell hits his 400th home run.
2003 Carlos Beltran hits his first career walk-off home run.
2003 A pair of former star starting pitchers appear in their last games: Steve Avery and Denny Neagle.
2004 Albert Pujols has one of the greatest days of his career, hitting three homers in one game for the first time, and going 5-for-5 with five PA. He also has a double while score four runs, driving in five, and leading the Cardinals to a 11-8 triumph over the Cubs.
2004 Travis Hafner gets three home runs in one game.
2006 Carlos Quentin makes his big league debut.
2007 Overlooked infielder Jose Valentin plays in his final game.
2008 Aaron Miles, of all people, hits a walk-off grand slam. Cardinals 9, Padres 5.
2008 Jim Thome gets his 2,000th hit. It takes him 2,101 games to do it.
2008 The Giants trade Ray Durham to the Brewers for a pair of minor leaguers.
2009 Jason Schmidt makes his first start since 2007.
2009 The A’s overcome a 10-run deficit to beat the Twins, 14-13. Matt Holliday drives in six to propel the rally.
2010 Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez hits three home runs in one game. That same day, the Cubs announce that manager Lou Piniella will retire by the end of the season.
2010 After Dodgers skipper Joe Torre has been ejected, replacement manager Don Mattingly makes a rookie error and without thinking visits the mound twice in one inning. That forces him to use an unprepared pitcher.
History instructor by day, statnerd by night, Chris Jaffe leads one of the most exciting double lives imaginable; with the exception of every other double life possible to imagine. Despite his lack of comic-book-hero-worthiness, Chris enjoys farting around with this stuff. His new book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers is available for order. Chris welcomes responses to his articles via e-mail. Oh, and now he's on twitter.