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Debate: The Best Trades in Baseball History

1. Babe Ruth to NYY; $100,000 ($1.2 in modern terms) to BOS

Was there any doubt? There is not much else you can say other than the fact that the Yankees won four championships during Ruth’s tenure, the Red Sox did not win one for 86 years, and Ruth is the considered by many to be the greatest baseball player ever. Considering the return, this is by far the best trade ever.

2. John Smoltz to ATL; Doyle Alexander to DET

If only the Tigers knew they would be giving away one of the best pitchers of his generation. Smoltz is the only player ever to have 200+ wins and 150+ saves as a major league pitcher, and he is one of only two pitchers (Eckersley being the other) to have a 20-win season and a 50-save season.

3. Lou Brock, Jack Spring, & Paul Toth to STL; Ernie Broglio, Doug Clemens, & Bobby Shantz to CHC

In a somewhat convoluted trade, the Cardinals managed to swipe a Hall of Famer from their long-time rival Cubs. The Cubs had to have been aware of Brock’s outstanding speed, but I am sure that they were disappointed to watch him hit and run his way to 3,000+ hits and 900+ stolen bases. To the Cubs, Cardinal Nation thanks you.

4. Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, & Jarrod Saltalamacchia to TEX; Mark Teixeira & Ron Mahay to ATL

I bet that the Rangers knew they were getting some great talent in return for Teixeira, but no one could have expected the incredible haul that it turned out to be. All of the players that Texas received (with the exception of Salty) are with the major league club and have been major contributors to Texas’ recent dominance of the American League.

5. Jason Varitek & Derek Lowe to BOS; Heathcliff Slocumb to SEA

This trade was instrumental in ending the “curse” caused by the Red Sox trading away Ruth, and both Varitek and Lowe were integral parts to the 2004 championship run. Beyond that, each player helped lead the Red Sox to sustained success throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

Also considered:

Ryne Sandberg & Larry Bowa to CHC; Ivan de Jesus to PHI

Jeff Bagwell to HOU; Larry Andersen to BOS

Jose Bautista to TOR; Robinson Diaz to PIT

Tweet @MLBFanCave and @KyleOKC with your picks for greatest trades in the history of MLB.