The Blue Jays and Padres pulled off an All-Star-laden trade 27 years ago today
It's a challenge to construct a championship roster, but it sure helps when you pull off a trade as impactful as the one the Blue Jays made with Padres on this day in 1990. The players involved led to not one, but two World Series titles, and it's not like the Padres acquired any slouches in return.
Behind future Hall of Fame GM Pat Gillick, the Blue Jays had put together several good teams between 1983 and 1989, twice winning the AL East and coming within striking distance of the World Series before faltering. Two of their most talented players included first baseman Fred McGriff, who led the AL with 36 homers in 1989, and pesky shortstop Tony Fernandez, who once made three All-Star teams in four years.
After falling two games short of the playoffs in 1990, however, Gillick decided that he had to give up some serious talent in exchange for the right pieces for his up-and-coming team. The GM had his eyes on two terrific Padres -- young second baseman Roberto Alomar, who made his first All-Star team in 1990, and the powerful Joe Carter, who had averaged 29 homers per year since 1986.
The Padres had recently hired a new GM, Joe McIlvaine, and the two sides decided to make a deal in the offseason. So, on Dec. 5, 1990, Alomar and Carter went to the Blue Jays in exchange for McGriff and Fernandez. This was no run-of-the-mill trade -- those four players would combine for 9,186 Major League games, 9,674 hits and 26 All-Star seasons.
At first, the deal wasn't too bad for the Padres. With McGriff and Fernandez in tow, they finished nine games better in 1991 than the year before. They were over .500 again in 1992, with both players making the All-Star team and McGriff leading the NL with 35 homers.
Fernandez was traded to the Mets in October 1992, though, and after the Padres got off to a poor start, they dealt McGriff to the Braves in July 1993.
Meanwhile, in Toronto, everything had come together as Gillick had hoped. They returned to the top of the AL East in 1991, then finally broke through and won their first World Series title in 1992. Alomar played an enormous role in the success, as he became one of baseball's most elite second basemen. The future Hall of Famer never failed to make an All-Star team or win a Gold Glove during his five years in Toronto, and he eventually became the first Blue Jays player to have his number retired.
Carter continued his slugging ways with 203 homers over his seven seasons with the Blue Jays, none bigger than when he won the 1993 World Series with this three-run walk-off blast:
As a fun postscript, Fernandez was also celebrating with Alomar and Carter. The Mets had sent him back to the Blue Jays in June 1993, and he got to contribute to that World Series triumph, too.
Andrew Mearns is a writer for Cut4 whose baseball obsession was born from the shattered dreams of Mike Mussina's perfect game attempt in 2001. He has a startling memory of World Series highlights that barely functions as a party trick.