Are the Mets famous for trading unproven young talent for fading superstars? Or does management order the General Manager give up a star player just because he has hit his prime and wants to unload a big contract and build for the future? See how some teams and players have fared from some the most lopsided trades in baseball history.
Four players for Tom Seaver
June 15, 1977
To many Mets fans, the trade would have to be what is known here as the “Midnight Massacre,” on June 15, 1977. The trade decimated what had become the first successful expansion franchise.
Mets General Manager M. Donald Grant traded the greatest player in Mets history to date, three-time Cy Young Award Winner Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman.
Tom Seaver finished the 1977 season with 21 wins by going 14-3 with Cincinnati, including an emotional 5-1 win over the Mets in his return to Shea Stadium.
Seaver struck out 11 in the return, and also hit a double. Seaver, who was immensely popular in New York, also received a lengthy ovation at the 1977 All-Star Game, which was held in New York’s Yankee Stadium.
After having thrown five one-hitters for New York, including three no-hitters that were broken up in the 9th inning, Seaver finally recorded a 4-0 no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 16, 1978 at Riverfront Stadium. It was the only no-hitter of his professional career.
Seaver was 75-46 during his time in Cincinnati and posted 122 of his 311 career wins after the trade. He was a close runner-up for the 1981 Cy Young Award, a year in which he was 14-2, and was voted 3rd and 4th in two other seasons.
On April 5, 1983, he tied Walter Johnson’s major league record of 14 Opening Day starts, shutting out the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0.
He made two more such starts with the Chicago White Sox in 1985 and 1986 for a record total of 16 opening day assignments.
On August 4, 1985, Seaver won his 300th victory as a Chicago White Sox at New York against the Yankees, throwing a complete game.
His lifetime ERA of 2.86 was third among starting pitchers in the “live-ball” era, behind only Whitey Ford and Sandy Koufax. (Pedro Martínez has since recorded a lower ERA.)
Seaver was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992. He received the highest-ever percentage of votes with 425 of 430 ballots (98.84%), surpassing Ty Cobb’s 98.23%, (since eclipsed by Ken Griffey Jr). and falling just five votes short of a unanimous selection.
Seaver was the first player enshrined in the Hall of Fame with a Mets cap on his plaque.
Pat Zachry made the All-Star team the next year, then broke his foot kicking the dugout after giving up a hit to Pete Rose to set the NL hit-streak mark and was never the same.
Doug Flynn was no-hit infielder that was a Gold Glove winner at second. Flynn could turn the double play, due to the increased runners by a terrible pitching staff.
Steve Henderson was runner-up for Rookie of the Year to Andre Dawson, then reverted to mediocrity for three seasons before he was traded.
Dan Norman never amounted to more than a bench-sitter before being traded with Jeff Reardon for Ellis Valentine.