Saturday, July 09, 2005

Trades From The Distant Past - Part 6 A Trade That Never Was

It was late 1966 and the Winter Meetings had just ended. It was a Sunday night, and I'm not sure if I'd missed "Bill Mazer's Sports Extra" on Channel 5, or if that show hadn't been created yet. In any case, I put on the 11 o'clock news on WNBC-4 to hear if there was any Mets news.

The designated reader of sports news that night was Pat Hernon, who was better known as a weatherman, although he was kind of a utility man at Channel 4, hosting some community shows, St. Patrick's Day specials, and who knows what else. I don't know if Hernon was a sports fan, but he was no sports expert.

At the tail end of his report, he stated "At the Winter Meetings today, the Mets acquired Eddie Bressoud and Mickey Stanley". For whom or what, he didn't say, but since they were on 2 different teams, there had to be 2 separate deals. Bressoud, I thought, was a shortstop who could hit a little, hopefully, the Mets didn't give up too much, but Stanley was a very highly regarded defensive centerfielder in the Tiger organization, who (post-Billy Cowan and pre-Don Bosch) might be the long-term answer to the Mets' centerfield problems.

So, I knew that as soon as I got up the following day, I'd check the papers and/or listen to the radio to hear the WHOLE trades. It turned out that Bressoud was acquired for Joe Christopher, probably the Mets' best hitter at the time, but there wasn't a word about Stanley. Not in any paper. Not on any radio station. Not even that afternoon on Bill Mazer's show. Of course, as it turned out, the Mets never did get Stanley. Just where Pat Hernon got the information from, I will never know. But had the Mets really acquired Stanley, it would no doubt have changed the course of baseball history, since Stanley helped the Tigers to a World Championship in 1968, and furthermore, had the Mets gotten him, there would probably have been no Agee trade and who knows what would have happened in 1969.

But to this day, I wonder just what the trade was supposed to be, was there really talk of a trade, or did I just dream the whole thing ? (I don't think so). Does anyone else recall this ?


Anonymous met fan in exile in PA said...

I enjoy the blog... hope your silence is temporary.

I'm a fellow sufferer, a Mets loyalist since day 1 in 1962. Reared by a Yankee-hating Brooklyn Dodger fan, I was (Jay) hooked from the start.

There are precious few fans out there whose memories predate the Davey Johnson era... and even fewer websites that cover those "prehistoric" years.

It's fun to read perspectives on years past... I love your trade stories... I always cite the Otis/Foy deal as the shining example of the Mets' habitual insistence on playing guys out of position. In the case of Otis, as you note, they traded a great young outfielder because he couldn't or wouldn't play third... and he promptly became arguably the best centerfielder in his league for a decade or more. But there are so many examples... Fregosi at third... Kingman anywhere... Mikey at first... or Juan Samuel... and so on...

As for myself, I was inexplicably a huge Jerry Grote fan as a kid. I loved Cleon and Buddy and the rest, but for some reason, Grote was my guy.

Though I might have had more "fun" following a more successful team, it's simply not in my DNA -- and besides, all the losing and mediocrity simply makes the occasional bursts of success all the more satisfying. And isn't that the essence of being a fan?

Keep it up!

2:31 PM  
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