1: Bailing on Joe Morgan for no reason
The year was 1971. The Houston Astros are coming off a fourth place divisional finish with a 79-83 record. It wasn’t the best of times but it also wasn’t the worst of times. Then, the general manager at the time, Spec Richardson, pulled off the worst trade in team history.
The Astros perceived biggest issue after the 1971 season was a lack of heavy duty power in the middle of the lineup. The team had Jimmy Wynn insert power in the lineup but beyond him, there really wasn’t much else.
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The solution? Well, it was to trade a very promising player in Joe Morgan away. Richardson sent Morgan, Denis Menke, Jack Billingham, and Cesar Geronimo to Cincinnati for Lee May, Tommy Helms and Jimmy Stewart.
May, a first baseman, had a powerful bat and played pretty well his first season or two as an Astro but never got back to what he was doing in Cincinnati. He was, however, an improvement over Menke who hit just one homer in ’71. Helms took over at second for Morgan and was just average, never good. Stewart was a poor player before the trade and never played another game after two years in Houston.
What did Morgan do? Well, he just became one of the best second basemen to ever play the game. He broke out in 1972 and made eight straight All-Star appearances, won two World Series, and won two MVPs. This is, without a doubt, the worst trade in Houston Astros history. If only it was an April Fools joke…
These moves weren’t the greatest. I really do wish they were April Fools jokes because the franchise would have been immensely more historic had they managed to keep these guys. Are there others you wish were April Fools jokes? Let us know!