10,000 days since the Sutcliffe-Carter trade

Ten thousand days ago (a “day-versary” I like to call it), one of the most interesting trades of the 1980s occurred.

On June 13, 1984, Cub general manager Dallas Green packaged some prospects to the Cleveland Indians for a proven veteran. Both sides got what they wanted out of the trade as the Cubs landed starting pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, and the Indians nabbed a young Joe Carter.

In all, there were seven players involved, with Sutcliffe coming to the Cubs alongside catcher Ron Hassey and reliever George Frazier. The Indians gained outfielder Mel Hall, minor leaguer Darryl Banks, and pitcher Don Schulze in addition to Carter.

For the Cubs, the trade paid immediate dividends. At the time, the Cubs were in first place in the NL East but up by only a game and a half, and they could use some help filling out their rotation. They already had a nice core of a starting staff with Dennis Eckersley, Steve Trout, and Scott Sanderson, but Sanderson missed the entire month of June with an injury.

Sutcliffe proved to be an immediate sensation. Though only 4-5 with the Indians through the first third of the season, he erupted in Chicago, going 16-1 the rest of the way, winning the Cy Young Award in the process. And, oh yeah—the Cubs won the division as well that year.

As for the Indians, they gained two starting outfielders from the trade. Though Carter is by far the more familiar name to us in 2011, Hall was the established name in 1984.

Just the year before, he’d finished third in the NL’s Rookie of the Year voting and upon his arrival in Cleveland, he formed a left field platoon with Pat Tabler. A month later, the Indians called up Carter from the minors, and for the rest of the year it was a platoon between the left-handed Hall and right-handed Carter in left field.

In 1984, the Cubs clearly got the most out of the trade, but the Indians got several years’ production from their acquisitions. Carter became a starting outfielder outright in 1985 and essentially remained that way until the end of his career in 1998. Advanced stats show that Carter was never a great player, but he was good enough to start for a while, including with the Indians through 1989.

Hall lost almost all of 1985 to an injury, but came back to have a career season in 1986. He and Carter were two anchors in the starting lineup for an Indians team that enjoyed a surprise winning record. Then Hall quickly faded, still starting in Cleveland for two more years, but he was essentially out of baseball by his early 30s.

As for Sutcliffe, after his miraculous 1984, he injured his arm in 1985, came back too soon and injured it again. He recovered well enough to lead the NL in wins in 1987 and help the Cubs claim another division title in 1989, but he blew his arm out again in 1990. Throughout his career, Sutcliffe consistently interweaved quality campaigns with injury-laden seasons. He’d stage another comeback in 1992, but by that time he was an Oriole.

Still, it’s one of those interesting win-now vs. win-later trades in which both sides got what they wanted out of it; the Cubs won the division that year, and the Indians got two outfielders in their primes from the trade that happened 10,000 days ago.

Aside from that, several other events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” today. Here some are, with the better ones in bold if you just want to skim the list.

Day-versaries

3,000 days since Manny Ramirez homers on the 10th pitch of an at-bat against Keith Foulke. It ties his personal best of most pitches in an at-bat to end with a home run. It’s also very dramatic, as it’s a solo shot that ties the game 2-2 in the top of the ninth.

3,000 days since Travis Hafner hits for the cycle.

4,000 days since Texas trades Aaron Harang to the A’s.

6,000 days since the White Sox and Tigers combine to belt a dozen homers, including seven by the Tigers. Chicago wins the game, 14-12.

6,000 days since Greg Maddux tosses his only complete-game, nine-inning one-hitter. Jeff Bagwell blasts a home run off him with no outs in the top of the eighth, and that’s in.

7,000 days since the A’s trade Jose Canseco to the Rangers for Ruben Sierra, Bobby Witt, Jeff Russell, and cash.

8,000 days since the Tigers sign free agent Tony Phillips.

25,000 days since the White Sox and Senators play the fastest night game in AL history: 89 minutes. Chicago wins, 1-0.

25,000 days since Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser enjoys his longest outing, 13 innings. His full line: 13 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, and 10 K for a Game Score of 90. He gets the complete-game win as Detroit tops the Red Sox, 2-1.

30,0000 days since Bobo Newsom makes his big league debut. He’ll become a four-decade player with over 200 wins, but he still posts a losing record overall.

40,000 days since the big league debut of Hall of Fame starting pitcher Addie Joss.

Anniversaries

1900 AL founder Ban Johnson writes a letter to NL head Nicholas Young seeking peace between the two leagues and parity for the AL. It won’t happen for two more years, though.

1900 Hall of Fame umpire Cal Hubbard is born.

1916 Third baseman Ken Keltner is born.

1936 Deacon McGuire, a four-decade player who appeared in 26 different seasons, dies.

1942 Dave McNally, one of four 20-game winners on the 1971 Orioles, is born.

1948 Mickey Rivers is born.

1960 The Milwaukee Braves trade Alvin Dark to the Giants. He’s done as a player, but the Giants will hire him as manager despite his complete lack of coaching or managing experience.

1961 A federal judge rules that laws in Birmingham, Alabama against integrating baseball fields are illegal. This eliminates the last legal barrier to integrating the Southern Association.

1963 Fred McGriff, slugging first baseman, is born.

1963 Matt Nokes, catcher, is born.

1970 Steve Trachsel, slow-working pitcher, is born.

1972 The Brewers trade Jim Lonborg, Ken Brett, and two others to the Phillies for Don Money and two others.

1973 Houston trades Jerry Reuss to the Pirates for Milt May.

1974 Former baseball player Buddy Myer dies.

1981 Toronto signs amateur free agent Jose Mesa.

1982 Sheriff Blake, starting pitcher before WWII, dies.

1983 The Phillies release Joe Morgan.

1983 Texas releases Jon Matlack.

1987 U.S. Senators from eight states form a task force to look into baseball expansion.

1995 Ryne Sandberg ends his first retirement and signs a contract to return to the Cubs at second base.

2001 In Game Four of the World Series between the Yankees and the Diamondbacks, a Tino Martinez two-run homer ties it for the Yanks, and one inning later Derek Jeter belts a walk-off homer for a 4-2 win to even the Series at two games apiece.

2005 In a stunning move, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein resigns. He’ll return a few months later.

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Comments

  1. Nathan said...

    I’m sorry but I have to argue with you when you say that Joe Carter was never a great player.  Over two thousand hits is great for a player with 16 year career.  Over 1400 rbi’s is more than great for his career.  And, his achievements in the post season also prove to me that he was indeed a great player.

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