Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Indians Worst Trade - Don't Knock the Rock

Cleveland sports writer Russell Schneider in his book, The Cleveland Indians Encyclopedia 3rd Edition, lists what he considers the 15 Best Trades and the 15 Worst Trades ever made by Cleveland. I can still remember the trade that he calls the worst, and I fully agree that it was the worst. April 17, 1960, General Manager Frank Lane traded Rocky Colavito to the Tigers for Harvey Kuenn. The Rock had tied Harmon Killebrew in 1959 for the AL home run lead with 42 and Kuenn was the AL batting champ. As a nine-year-old whose favorite player had been traded, I was extremely upset and disliked GM Lane, as did most Indian fans. Because of his numerous trades, he had been called Trader Lane. This was now changed to Traitor Lane. Kuenn's batting average dropped from .353 to .308 and he was traded to the SF Giants after the season. Even though he played a full season with the Tribe, he never had a Topps card as an Indian, which is just as well since they would all have probably ended up as BB gun targets.

The Indians got pitcher Johnny Antonelli and outfielder Willie Kirkland from the Giants. Antonelli was 0-4 in eleven games, and Kirkland had three fairly mediocre years in Cleveland compared to what the Rock was doing in Detroit. Willie eventually played in Japan and married a Japanese woman.

Rocky was in Detroit four years, then a year at Kansas City, and then returned to Cleveland for three years. He led the AL in RBI in 1965, his first year back. The trade that got him back was a three-way deal with the White Sox and Athletics. Russell Schneider calls it the sixth worst trade in Tribe history, since we gave up Tommie Agee, Johnny Romano and a pitcher named Tommy John.

No comments:

Post a Comment