It took the biggest money swap in sports history for Boston fans to jump back on the Red Sox bandwagon.
Oddly enough, it was exactly a year ago that the Red Sox went from doing just about everything right to just about everything wrong. The September 2011 choke job, chicken and beer drama, John Henry’s uncomfortable radio appearance, the Francona firing, the Bobby V. hiring and the enabling of pampered superstars for months on end made this past year great for tabloids but lousy if you’re a fan of Red Sox victories.
In one of the boldest trades in not just MLB, but sports history, Red Sox management opted to start things over with a clean slate. Already, it’s regarded as the most brash move in Boston sports history. A look at some other notable moves.
The timing of the trade (no one saw this coming after the non-waiver deadline had passed on July 31) and the amount of money being swapped ($275 million off the Sox’ books) makes this the most brazen move on our list.
Beckett, Gonzo, Crawford to the Dodgers
In one fell swoop, GM Ben Cherington went from a puppet to a ruthless baseball mind in the eyes of most.
Kevin Garnett to the Celtics
The Celtics had no buzz in town for two decades because of foolish drafting and ugly free agent signings (thanks Pitino!). When Danny Ainge got old friend Kevin McHale to bite on a Boston pu-pu platter of players in exchange for Kevin Garnett, the Celtics went from the worst team in the NBA to one of the favorites to win the NBA title.
Nomar to the Cubs
Nomar Garciaparra was the face of the franchise for six-plus years but the Red Sox decided that his asking price was going to be too much after the season. They also thought Orlando Cabrera was better in the field than No. 5 and that Doug Mienkievitz would bring a solid glove to first base. The Sox gambled, won, and a few months later won the World Series for the first time in 86 years.
Babe Ruth to the Yankees
Nope, this one didn’t really work out. But make no mistake, it was bold. Ruth was a catalyst for three Red Sox World Series titles in 1915, 1916 and 1918 as he got the job done with his bat and his arm (he was a lights out pitcher during his time in Boston). Owner Harry Frazee sold the Babe to the Yankees and, in turn, shifted the landscape of baseball history.
Eleven years ago, the hottest debate in town was ‘Brady v. Bledsoe.’ Even after the Patriots won the Super Bowl in February 2002, due in large part to Tom Brady’s heroics in the fourth quarter against the Rams, there was a segment of the population that stood by Drew Bledsoe, the face of the franchise since 1993. New England was so bold that it traded No. 11 to division rival Buffalo.