Note: Mike’s on his honeymoon until September 28! Enjoy this auto-published post and help pray that some giant breaking news didn’t drop minutes before this fun yet otherwise fluffy post went up.
Over about 125 years of National League play, the Dodgers and the Reds – whom the Dodgers visit for the first time this season tonight – have made dozens of trades. Most were instantly forgettable (what, you don’t remember the big Mickey Heath/Harvey Hendrick deal of 1931, or that massive Ben VanRyn/Will Brunson swap in 1994?), some were notable more for the names involved than the impact they had – 1950s stars like Joe Black & Don Newcombe each had their Dodger tenures ended with trades to Cincinnati – but two really stand out for the lasting damage they did to the Dodgers.
In March of 1932, the Dodgers, needing infield help, traded for Tony Cuccinello, Joe Stripp and Clyde Sukeforth. You don’t recognize those names, and you shouldn’t; while Cuccinello & Stripp had their uses, they were forgettable players during a forgettable period in Dodger history. The price to acquire them was astronomical; in addition to outfielder Babe Herman, one of the earliest Dodger offensive stars who was entering his age-29 season and had hit .340/.397/.559 over his first six seasons, slow-footed 23-year-old catcher Ernie Lombardi headed to Cincinnati. Lombardi had been about league-average over 196 plate appearances in his rookie season for the Dodgers, but after being traded he made 7 All-Star teams, won the 1938 NL MVP, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. We’re still feeling the pain over the Carlos Santana deal four years later, but it’s hardly the first time the Dodgers have sent a young catching prospect to Ohio for no good reason whatsoever.
Over 60 years later, the Dodgers & Reds hooked up once again for a deal that’s still being felt today. Longtime GM Fred Claire had been pushed out in the midst of the FOX ownership transition, so Tommy Lasorda was filling in as the acting GM in July of 1998. Deciding that he absolutely had to have a closer despite the team being 12.5 games out of first, he traded 22-year-old Paul Konerko (and reliever Antonio Osuna) to the Reds for Proven Closer™ Jeff Shaw, who had just celebrated his 32nd birthday. Shaw pitched adequately for an 83-79 Dodger team that finished in third place that year, then exercised a clause that allowed him to renegotiate the rest of this contract. Konerko, meanwhile, is a six-time All-Star on a Hall of Fame trajectory who has hit over 400 homers, mostly for the White Sox, since. Thanks, Tommy!
It’s been more than five years since the Dodgers & Reds connected on a deal, when LA purchased Chad Moeller back in 2007. Can’t say I’m anxious for it to happen again any time soon.