The 8 Biggest Fire Sales in Sports

If you’re a Miami Marlins fan, you’ll feel these teams’ pain.

If you’re a Florida Marlins fan, this week was pretty much a dickslap right to the face, because for the third time in 15 years, your team went through a fire sale, and now finds itself in full rebuilding mode. This is less than 12 months after spending almost $200 million on free agents (and now-departed) Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell.

Since it can seriously suck to be a sports fan, we looked back on some of the other teams that were all-in to win, only to find themselves trading away their stars.

1914 Philadelphia Athletics

Photo by Mark Rucker / Getty Images

Yep, we actually wiped off the dust and found this almost century-old team as one of the worst fire sales ever. After winning 99 games and reaching the World Series (where they ultimately got swept by the Boston Braves), a team stacked with guys like Home Run Baker (yes, that’s real), Eddie Collins, Eddie Plank, and Chief Bender, sold away those four future Hall of Famers because Manager Connie Mack was pissed off at the Federal League. The team suffered seven straight last-place finishes, and didn’t win another pennant until 1929. It’s no wonder Philly sports fans are so damn unruly.

1976 Oakland A’s

Photo by Focus on Sport / Getty Images

From 1971 to 1975, the A’s had one of the most dominant teams in sports history. They went to five consecutive League Championship Series, three straight World Series (winning them all), and left fools in the dust with guys like Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers, and Gene Tenace. But after a disappointing ’76 season – where they only won 87 games and missed the playoffs – ownership gutted the team and shipped everyone off, leaving them with a bunch of shitshows who finished with the third worst record in all of baseball.

1994 Montreal Expos


We can all agree that the 1994 MLB strike sucked ass, but for Canucks, it sucked big-time moose butts. Owning the league’s best record right as the strike occurred, the Expos decided to ax guys like Larry Walker, John Wetteland, and Marquis Grissom for the following season. To make things that much worse, the team that came back in ’95 still had talent in the form of Pedro Martinez and Moises Alou, so the break-up of the previous year’s team hurt even worse when fans saw they probably could have competed again. So how’d MLB treat Expo fans? They moved the team to Washington to become the Nationals. Thanks a bunch, guys.

1997 Florida Marlins

Photo by Jeff Haynes / Getty Images

When you win a World Series, your fans generally expect a chance to at least defend the title. But as we’ve seen this week, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria doesn’t really give a shit about what his team’s fans want. The club – which featured Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou, Kevin Brown, and Robb Nen – may as well have wiped their asses with the money they made in 1998, since they all but waved the white flag before spring training even started, gutting the roster and replacing them with a string of too-young and too-old players. You can probably guess the result; they ended with the worst record in baseball (54-108).

1999 Chicago Bulls

Photo by Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

The end of a dynasty hit Chicago fans harder than a mid-winter windstorm, following their MJ-led six titles in eight years. Once His Airness called it quits, ownership didn’t even second-guess the decision to ship off Scottie Pippen or wave goodbye to Dennis Rodman. And don’t forget the parting “Fuck You” to legendary coach Phil Jackson, either, who was replaced with first-time head coach Tim Floyd. Jesus, the more we think about it, the more we realize that the 1999 Bulls were miserable.

2004 Los Angeles Lakers

Photo by Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

They had four future Hall of Famers in their starting lineup by the names of Shaq, Kobe, Malone, and Gary Payton. And though they did go to the finals that lone year together (losing to the Pistons in five games), they defined the term “one-and-done” more than any John Calipari teams. After the Finals, they traded Shaq to Miami and saw him win one more title, then traded Gary Payton (and the rights to a draft pick that ended up being fucking Rajon Rondo) to Boston. Not content with that, they then said sayonara to a retiring Malone and refused to renew coach Phil Jackson’s contract. All in all, the 2004 offseason reads like a Hollywood sports movie, only without the obligatory happy ending.

2012 Boston Red Sox

Photo by William Perlman / US PRESSWIRE

It’s not as if the Red Sox were building a dynasty or anything – does September, 2010 ring a bell? – but with expectations always high in Beantown, it was pretty fucked up to see the team quit on the season by trading away Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto, and their over $250 million in coin to the Dodgers. Sure, the team was blowing ass, but come on people, this is Boston – they couldn’t really have thought they were lucky enough to have Brady, the Celts, Bruins, and the Red Sox all contenders, could they?

2012 Miami Marlins

Photo by Steve Mitchell / US PRESSWIRE

Who knows how this shit will end up, but seeing as how the team has five current players under contract for the 2013 season, we have a hunch the team wasn’t cutting salary to make a run at money-hungry stars like Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke this offseason. We’re pretty sure stud outfielder Giancarlo Stanton said it best on his twitter: “Alright, I’m pissed off!!! Plain & Simple.” Sorry bud, that’s just what it’s like to play for the Marlins.

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