The 6 Weirdest Trades in Sports History
A bus, an announcer, and the most important suit in baseball history.
6. Walter Restrepo, traded for two nights of transportation and lodging
(Photo: Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports)
Life is not easy in the second tier of American soccer, and Walter Restrepo knows it. Earlier this year, Restrepo was sent from the Fort Lauderdale Strikers to the San Antonio Scorpions in exchange for “Free lodging and transportation during Fort Lauderdale’s two road trips to San Antonio in 2014.” Restrepo is no bum either; the midfielder was named to the league’s best XI (essentially the all-star team) in 2012 before sitting out much of 2013 with a knee injury. The lodging and transportation wasn’t even paid for by the team – it was provided for free by the hotel and bus company. The GM of the hotel chain said, “It was kind of a win-win for everyone,” which proves that he has never met Walter Restrepo.
5. Cliff Dapper, traded for broadcaster Ernie Harwell
(Photo: National Baseball Hall of Fame / AP)
Besides having an awesome name, Cliff Dapper was actually a great player – at least at the outset of his career for the Brooklyn Dodgers. However, being second in the depth chart to guys like Mickey Owen and Roy Campanella relegated him to the bench until such time as he was traded to the Atlanta Crackers in 1948…for an announcer. The Crackers broke Ernie Harwell’s contract in return for Dapper, and Harwell immediately filled in for Red Barber, who had a bleeding ulcer, because all people ate in 1948 was cigarettes and blue cheese dressing. Harwell stayed in the Northeast, working for the Giants and Orioles before moving to Detroit to become the voice of the Tigers for more than 30 years.
4. Tom Martin, traded for a bus
(Photo: Stefan Arendt / imageBROKER / Corbis)
Martin was an ’80s winger who spent time in both the NHL and AHL, but when he was playing junior hockey in the WHL (Western Hockey League), he was involved in a trade that would make Walter Restrepo jealous. The Seattle Breakers sent Martin to the Victoria Cougars in exchange for a used bus. The Cougars had picked an extra one up off a defunct team, but couldn’t use it because they hadn’t registered the title in Canada. The Breakers needed a bus after theirs had broken down. And Tom Martin spent the rest of his career trying to do something extraordinary that would result in him not being known as “that dude who was traded for a bus.” He was not successful.
3. Cy Young, traded for a suit
(Photo: Bettmann / Corbis / AP Images)
If we were to tell you that one of the greatest pitchers of all time was traded for $300 and a suit in 1890, would you believe us? You probably would, because 1890 was weird as shit – but it’s surprising nonetheless. Cy Young was sent to the major league outlet the Cleveland Spiders from a minor league team in Canton, Ohio. In exchange, the Canton manager received $300 (which was enough to buy a Lamborghini in 1890, or would have been if they existed at the time) and a suit, which we assume he clutched close to his face while sobbing after seeing the numbers that Young put in during his career.
2. John McDonald, traded for John McDonald
(Photo: Lucas Oleniuk / Toronto Star / Getty Images)
In a baseball oddity which we (and probably most GMs) can’t explain, a (usually crappy) player can be dealt to a team for a “player to be named later.” In July 2005, current LA Angel John McDonald was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Detroit Tigers for a “player to be named later.” In turns out that “later” was November 2005, and that the “player” was once again McDonald, who was sent back to the Jays. And while this is the most recent instance of such a trade taking place, it is not the first. Three previous players have been shipped back and forth for themselves. As for which one was most hurt by being wanted so little, only history (and the dudes’ wives) can be the judge.
1. Fritz Peterson’s entire life, traded for Mike Kekich’s entire life
(Photo: Joe Migon / AP)
Although not a sanctioned deal by the commissioner’s office, the trade between these two Yankees is the most insane in sports history. Peterson and Kekich were close friends, and their families spent lots of time together. Enough time, in fact, that they decided that their marriages would be a lot better if they were reversed. And that’s exactly what they did; Kekich took Peterson’s wife, kids, and even pets, and vice-versa. Peterson is still with Kekich’s wife, but Kekich’s new marriage only lasted a few years. The players haven’t spoken in more than 10 years. And guess which one of them “has no regrets.”