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Best trades of all time


Special to ESPN.com

Sammy Sosa
In 1992, the White Sox traded Sammy Sosa, then 23, across town to the Cubs.
July 26
When most people think of the best and worst trades ever made, they think of Babe Ruth -- who built the Yankee tradition and the Stadium, helped make baseball the National Pastime and created 80 years of regional paranoia in New England. But that wasn't a trade, it was a sale, to finance "No, No Nanette."

Mark McGwire's deal to St. Louis wasn't really a trade, either, because he was two months from free agency and Oakland couldn't afford him. While GM Walt Jocketty changed the Cardinal franchise, in retrospect what is remarkable is that no other team made an offer; the Angels thought his $8 million free-agent asking price to be too high.

Meanwhile, no one has ever decided who got the best of the deals in which Matt Batts, Harry Chiti and Deron Johnson were all the player to be named later for themselves. Or the one in which Tim Fortugno was dealt for two dozen baseballs.

So here is one man's list of the five best (and worst) trades ever made:

No. 5: The Yankees' 1959 acquisition of Roger Maris from the Kansas City A's -- then considered a New York farm club -- for some passť names like Hank Bauer, not to mention future cult hero Marv Throneberry. Maris became history and the subject of one of the three best baseball movies ever made.

No. 4: Expos GM Dan Duquette trading Delino DeShields after the '93 season for Pedro Martinez, deemed too small to start by former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. The Expos had the best record in the game in '94 and Duquette reacquired Pedro for the Red Sox, in the middle of three Cy Youngs in four years.

Jeff Bagwell
The Red Sox traded Jeff Bagwell to Houston for relief pitcher Larry Andersen in 1990.
No. 3: The Astros knew Jeff Bagwell was the best player in Boston's farm system when the Sox got desperate in the 1990 race because closer Jeff Reardon got hurt. Boston management didn't know and took middleman Larry Andersen, who was 1-for-4 in saves and blew the one playoff lead he inherited. Bagwell has gone on to what may be a Cooperstown career with Houston.

No. 2: The Cubs took advantage of the White Sox impatience and sent George Bell to the South Side at the end of spring training in '92 for 23-year-old Sammy Sosa. As we watch Sammy pass the 50-homer, 135-RBI plateaus for the fourth straight season, the White Sox are watched by empty seats.

No. 1: The Phillies traded Rick Wise -- a fine, workmanlike right-hander who won 188 career games -- to the Cardinals for Steve Carlton. Lefty promptly won 27 games for a last-place team, pitched the Phils to their first World Series and finished his career with 329 wins, 4,136 strikeouts and a place as one of the five greatest left-handed pitchers of all time.

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