The 12 Most One-Sided Trades in Sports History

Babe Ruth 560x311The Boston Red Sox are closing in on a shot at another World Series title but will have to fight off the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Yankees, who are all within striking distance of winning the AL East this season. Boston fans know a thing or two about stress as they have been dealing with it since the day the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, changing the destiny of the entire league. That trade haunted Red Sox fans for over 80 seasons until they finally won a World Series in 2004. The last time they won previously was in Babe Ruth’s second to final season in Boston, in 1918.

Besides trading away the greatest player in the history of the sport, the move was bad for the Red Sox for many other reasons mainly because they did not get a single player in return, only cash. Then owner, Harry Frazee, allegedly used the money to fund other business ventures like a Broadway play. A move like that could only be compared to the Chicago Bulls trading Michael Jordan to the New York Knicks for a few million dollars. Could you imagine the reaction of the league if that would have happened, especially Chicago Bulls fans?

We all know the Babe Ruth trade made the list, but let’s take a look at the other most lopsided and terribly one-sided trades in all of sports.

12. Scottie Pippen to Bulls

  • Year: 1987
  • Teams: Seattle Sonics, Chicago Bulls
  • Trade Breakdown
    • Chicago received draft rights to Scottie Pippen and a 1989 1st round pick (Jeff Sanders)
    • Seattle received draft rights to Olden Polynice, 1988 2nd round pick (Sylvester Gray), and 1989 1st round draft pick (B.J. Armstrong)
  • Details: At the time, it was a bad trade because Scottie Pippen was already coming in as a better overall player than Olden Polynice, it became one of the worst ever when the world realized that Scottie Pippen was one of the best forwards to ever play the game. There is no way to make this one sound any better, it was terrible, just plain terrible.

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11. Marshall Faulk to Rams

  • Year: 1999
  • Teams: Indianapolis Colts, St.Louis Rams
  • Trade Breakdown
    • Colts received a 1999 2nd round pick (LB Mike Peterson) and 5th round pick (DE Brad Scioli)
    • Rams received RB Marshall Faulk
  • Details: By 1999, Marshall Faulk was averaging 1,000 yards rushing a year in his first five seasons but wasn’t too happy about the way things were going in Indianapolis. Between 1997 and 1998, the Colts were 6-26 and showed no signs of improving. So they ended up trading him away for practically nothing and he ends up being the missing piece that the Rams offense had been waiting for. Without Faulk, there would never have been a “Greatest Show on Turf.”

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10. Ricky Williams to New Orleans

  • Year: 1999
  • Teams: New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins
  • Trade Breakdown
    • Saints received the 1999 5th overall draft pick (RB Ricky Williams)
    • Redskins received the following draft picks:
      • 1999: 1st Rd, 3rd Rd, 4th Rd, 5th Rd, 6th Rd, 7th Rd
      • 2000 1st Rd, 2nd Overall (LB LaVar Arrington)
      • 2000 3rd Rd (CB Lloyd Harrison)
  • Details: The Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder, turned around and traded the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th round picks from the Saints and their 2000 3rd round pick to the Bears to move up and grab CB Champ Bailey. They then traded the 6th and 7th round Saints picks to Denver and drafted LB Derek Smith. But this is about the Saints and how terrible of a trade it was for them, not Washington. Look at what they gave up for a player that turned out to surpass 1,000 yards in his 2nd and 3rd season before being sent to Miami. They spent a fortune to get one player that ended up not helping them in the long run.

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9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Lakers

  • Year: 1975
  • Teams: Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Trade Breakdown
    • Bucks received G/F Junior Bridgeman, PF Dave Meyers, C Elmore Smith, SG Brian Winters
    • Lakers received C Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, C Walt Wesley
  • Details: Based on who was involved, this is a terrible trade. But it was mainly because of the request from Kareem, he wasn’t happy in Milwaukee and wanted to be traded. That trade gave him what he wanted but it left the Bucks struggling for a few years, having to get over the fact that they couldn’t keep their superstar happy.

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8. Brett Favre to Green Bay

  • Year: 1992
  • Teams: Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers
  • Trade Breakdown
    • Falcons received a 1992 1st round draft pick (RB Tony Smith)
    • Packers received Brett Favre
  • Details: Jerry Glanville wasn’t going to play Brett Favre and hated the decision made by the Falcons former owner, Taylor Smith, to draft him in the second round of the 1991 draft. Since his career wasn’t going anywhere in Atlanta, except for bars and parties, the Falcons ended up giving him away without ever having given him a chance to show them what he was truly made of. The Falcons have struggled ever since.

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7. Parish/McHale to Celtics

  • Year: 1980
  • Teams: Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors
  • Trade Breakdown
    • Celtics received a 1980 3rd overall draft pick (F/C Kevin McHale) and C Robert Parish.
    • Warriors received the 1980 1st overall pick (F/C Joe Barry Carroll) and 13th overall pick (F/C Rickey Brown).
  • Details: Red Auerbach was one of the best in NBA history and this trade was a prime example of it. He gave away two draft picks, which were used on one of the biggest busts in NBA history, Joe Barry Carroll, and a man you probably never heard of, Rickey Brown. In return he got a young, future stud Robert Parish and drafted Kevin McHale to form one of the deadliest big man combinations in NBA history.

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6. Wayne Gretzky to Kings

  • Year: 1988
  • Teams: Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings
  • Trade Breakdown
    • Oilers received C Jimmy Carson, F Martin Gelinas, $15 million in cash, and three 1st round draft picks
      • 1989 – Traded to New Jersey Devils
      • 1991 – LW Martin Rucinsky
      • 1993 – D Nick Stajduhar
    • Kings received Wayne Gretzky, C Mike Krushelnyski, and D Marty McSorley
  • Details: Although fans would tell you this one deserves to be the top of this list, it isn’t half as bad today as it was back then. In fact, it turned out much more even then you would think. However, Wayne Gretzky was the face of hockey and is one of the greatest of all-time. Why would you trade him away? He is the guy you keep, no matter what.

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5. Nolan Ryan to Angels

  • Year: 1971
  • Teams: California Angels, New York Mets
  • Trade Breakdown
    • Angels received P Nolan Ryan, P Don Rose, RF Leroy Stanton, and C Frank Estrada
    • Mets received SS Jim Fregosi
  • Details: Gil Hodges gave up on the 24-year old pitcher’s wandering fastball just a season too soon. Over the next three years, he won 62 games, had an ERA of 2.70, and threw 1,079 strikeouts. It was a decision the Mets still talk about 45 years later.

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4. Wilt Chamberlain to Lakers

  • Year: 1968
  • Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Trade Breakdown
    • Philadelphia 76ers received SF Jerry Chambers, G Archie Clark, and C Darrall Imhoff
    • Los Angeles Lakers received C Wilt Chamberlain
  • Details: Besides being involved in this trade, have you ever heard of Archie Clark, Jerry Chambers, or Darrall Imhoff? Exactly.

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3. Herschel Walker to Vikings

  • Year: 1989
  • Teams: Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys
  • Trade Breakdown
    • Cowboys received LB Jesse Solomon, LB David Howard, CB Issiac Holt, RB Darrin Nelson, DE Alex Stewart, and the following draft picks:
      • 1990 – 1st Rd (RB Emmitt Smith), 2nd Rd (WR Alexander Wright), and 6th round pick (Traded Away)
      • 1991 1st Rd (WR Alvin Harper) and 2nd Rd (LB Dixon Edwards)
      • 1992 2nd round pick (S Darren Woodson), 3rd round pick (Traded Away)
      • 1993 1st round pick (Traded Away)
    • Vikings received RB Herschel Walker and the following draft picks:
      • 1990 3rd round pick (TE Mike Jones), 5th round pick (WR Reggie Thornton), 10th round pick (WR Pat Newman)
      • 1991 3rd round pick (WR Jake Reed)
  • Details: This was one of those trades that made the Saints look like they were getting a steal when they traded away all their picks for Rickey Williams. The Vikings gave up three years worth of draft picks for one player that never reached his potential.

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2. Kobe Bryant to Lakers

  • Year: 1996
  • Teams: Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Trade Breakdown
    • Hornets received C Vlade Divac
    • Lakers received 1996 13th Overall Pick (SG Kobe Bryant)
  • Details: Alonzo Mourning was traded to Miami in the summer of ’96 which led to the eventually moment where the Lakers landed one of the best players in NBA history, Kobe Bryant. No offense to Vlade Divac, but he is no Kobe Bryant.

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1. Babe Ruth to Yankees

  • Year: 1919
  • Teams: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees
  • Trade Breakdown
    • Red Sox received $100,000 cash
    • Yankees received Babe Ruth
  • Details: What is there to say that you don’t already know about this infamous trade? Harry Frazee sold a man known as the Sultan of Swat, the Caliph of Clout, the Great Bambino, and many other names, for money to allegedly finance one of his broadway musicals. It would be like the Bulls selling Michael Jordan in 1997 to the New York Knicks for a million dollars.

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