Big Red Machine / Reds - General / Reds History / Reds Trivia

Redleg Trade Review: The Ten Best Reds Trades Ever

Summarizing our Redleg Trade Review (for all stories, type this in the search window in the upper right portion of your screen). Here’s what I think are the best Reds trades ever.

1. November 29, 1971: Joe Morgan is traded by the Houston Astros with Ed Armbrister, Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo and Denis Menke to the Cincinnati Reds for Tommy Helms, Lee May and Jimmy Stewart. The trade that kick started the Big Red Machine and brought us Hall of Famer Joe Morgan.

2. June 13, 1938: Bucky Walters was traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the Cincinnati Reds for Spud Davis, Al Hollingsworth and $50,000. Bucky Walters becomes the best pitcher in the National League, winning an MVP (there’s was no Cy Young Award) and the Reds win two National League championships and win one World Series.

3. February 19, 1919…. Reds traded 1b Hal Chase to Giants for C Bill Rariden and 1B Walter Holke. Trading the bedeviled Chase away from the Reds probably made way for their 1919 World Series victory and kept them from being the team that may have thrown the Series.

4. May 29, 1971: Geroge Foster is traded by the San Francisco Giants to the Cincinnati Reds for Frank Duffy and Vern Geishert. Getting Foster from the Giants was a huge steal for the Reds as Foster became the most feared slugger in baseball in the late 1970’s.

5. July 20, 1916—Acquired OF Edd Roush, 3b Bill McKechnie, RHP-Mgr Christy Mathewson for ss-Mgr Buck Herzog, and OF Red Killefer. Known as the “Hall of Fame” trade, the Reds netted three future Hall of Famers in the deal. Roush became the leader of the Reds, setting the tone for their slap hitting offense and good defense.

6. June 15, 1977: Tom Seaver is traded by the New York Mets to the Cincinnati Reds for Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, Dan Norman and Pat Zachry. Seaver came to the Reds in what became known to the New York press as the “Midnight Massacre” as the Mets moved some players. Seaver is arguable one of the top ten pitchers in baseball history and he came to the Big Red Machine just as their pitching wheels were falling off.

7. May 7, 1933…Reds acquire RHP Paul Derringer, IF Sparky Adams, and RHP Allyn Stout for SS Leo Durocher, and pitchers Dutch Henry and Jack Ogden. Derringer came from the Cardinals and gave the Reds more than a decade of outstanding pitching. He and Bucky Walters were one of the best tandem starters in major league history. Derringer may have been a Hall of Famer if not having lost so many games for some really poor Reds teams in the early 1930’s.

8. December 8, 1987: Jose Rijo is traded by the Oakland Athletics with Tim Birtsas to the Cincinnati Reds for Dave Parker. Rijo was the ace of the Reds staff that won the 1990 World Series, leading the pennant race wire-to-wire that year. Undoubtedly one of the most popular Reds in their history.

9. May 22 1913–Acquired 3b Heinie Groh, OF Josh Devore, RHP Red Ames, and $20,000 from the New York Giants for P Art Fromme and INF Eddie Grant. Groh was one of the best hitting third basemen of his time and was stolen from the Giants in time to push the Reds to becoming 1919 World Series champions. In an odd twist of fate, if he had not been traded from the Giants, he may have had a shot for the Hall of Fame since the old-timer’s committees have voted in virtually all star infielders from the this period in Giants history. Giants manager John McGraw spent a good deal of the 1920’s trying to get both Groh and Roush back to the Giants and finally succeeded.

10. January 22, 1921—Acquired LHP Eppa Rixey from Phillies for OF Greasy Neale and RHP Jimmy Ring; Neale later reacquired through waivers in 1922. The Reds stole Hall of Famer Eppa Rixey from the Phillies and went on to win 179 games for the Reds.

Honorable mention:

1. December 9, 1957: Bob Purkey is traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Cincinnati Redlegs for Don Gross.
December 15, 1960: Milwaukee Braves trade pitchers Joey Jay and Juan Pizarro to the Cincinnati Reds for shortstop Roy McMillan.

Wasn’t trying to ignore the 1961 World Series team, but I feel most of their improvement came from within the Reds system, but acquiring Purkey and Jay to go with Jim O’Toole was important to the Reds World Series season.

2. November 6, 1987: Danny Jackson is traded by the Kansas City Royals with Angel Salazar to the Cincinnati Reds for Ted Power and Kurt Stillwell. Trading Kurt Stilwell and keeping future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin is one of the best decisions in Reds’ history.

3. July 21, 1995: Deion Sanders traded by the Cincinnati Reds with David McCarty, Ricky Pickett, John Roper and Scott Service to the San Francisco Giants for Dave Burba, Darren Lewis and Mark Portugal.
July 31, 1995: Traded a player to be named later, Dave Tuttle (minors) and C.J. Nitkowski to the Detroit Tigers. Received David Wells. The Cincinnati Reds sent Mark Lewis (November 16, 1995) to the Detroit Tigers to complete the trade. Making these deals to replace more than half the rotation helped the Reds win the Central Division title.

12 thoughts on “Redleg Trade Review: The Ten Best Reds Trades Ever

  1. All pretty valid, but Krivsky deserves at least an honorable mention for the Arroyo/Wily Mo trade, if not for picking up Phillips for NADA.

    Don’t think the Phillips trade was stellar? How godawful would our lineup look this year WITHOUT him?

  2. By the way, note the similarities between the Rijo/Parker deal, and the Stewart/Rolen deal. Perfect example of why I hated the Rolen deal.

    I’m not saying Stewart will become another Rijo — I have no idea — but this is the type of trade we need to be making to get YOUNGER, not older!!

    We traded away Parker at age 34 (perfect timing by the way) and got a 22-year-old Rijo. The A’s made their run in the late 80’s, largely w/ Parker at DH, so it was OK for them (b/c they were already a very good team!!!), and then 3 years later Rijo was our ace and we won the World Series.

  3. I’m glad there’s been some discussion about this….my criteria for best was pretty much how much impact did the deal have on the success of the team and franchise of the Cincinnati Reds.

    Yes, Phillips is a steal and where would this team be without him? But, on a good team, he’s hitting sixth or seventh in the order and I really don’t find that consequential.

    As for Hamilton.. he has us a good 2/3 of a season and one good season of Edinson Volquez. While Hamilton’s a real talent (as is Volquez), there’s not much here to this point. It’s too soon to tell; to this point, it sounds better than the payoff.

    Arroyo-Pena is a good deal, too…but, I could probably find about 10 or more similar deals in Reds history…and, honestly, how good is Arroyo anyway? He’s a good innings eater, but I don’t think he’s irreplaceable.

    I also thought about Rijo-Parker during the Rolen trade…a better example would be probably be when we traded Jeff Russell to get Buddy Bell. this was nearly the same circumstances.

  4. I’m partial to the Danny Jackson trade because of the 1990 World Series, though I could also see the argument for the others being in your top 10 instead.

  5. Jackson’s big year was 1998 when he was sensational. He was 6-6 in 21 starts for the World Series team and was raked in his one World Series start.

    I would’ve included this one in the top ten if Jackson had had a bigger impact on the World Series team.

  6. Steve @6, I know you meant 1988 for Jackson big year. I also favor Jackson trade. While Jackson was hammered in WS, he was strong in the NLCS, 11.1 IP, 8K, 2.38 ERA in his 2 starts, the reds won both games. In comparison, Rijo went 12.1 IP, 15K, 4.38 ERA in his 2 starts, reds going 1-1.

    Good stuff again Steve.

  7. The only thing I question is the comment that we got Phillips for nada…Jeff Stevens has thus far been a pretty effective minor league reliever and could be a good one in the bigs also.

  8. Doktor…has time passed that fast? Yes, you’re right…

    One of the questions I’ve pondered for over 30 years was answered today and it relates to the Morgan trade…how did Lee May feel about it?

    I received a book yesterday, and I just started reading it…it’s called “Making the Big Red Machine” by Daryl Smith. The foreword for the book is by May and he talks about the 1971 trade:

    “I know a lot of folks around Cincinnati were upset when I was traded to Houston. But if you think they were upset, that was nothing compared to me. I can’t repeat what I said when I heard the news. Joe Morgan was the lucky one in that trade, he got to come to Cincinnati.”

    He says his best days of playing baseball were for Cincinnati and that his favorite player growing up was Harmon Killebrew.

    Also, as a bonus, on page 97 there’s a baby picture of Ken Griffey, Jr…..

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  10. One of the great trades than really helped set up the Reds for the 70s was:

    June 11, 1968: Traded Milt Pappas, Ted Davidson and Bob Johnson to the Atlanta Braves for Clay Carroll, Tony Cloninger and Woody Woodward.

    You got a solid starting pitcher, strating shortstop and All Star relief pitcher, for a good starter (although always looked at with scorn in Cincy), a lethanded relief pitcher whose claim to fame was being shot by his wife in spring training, and a very veteran utility man.

    This deal is seldom mentioned and really was very significamt.

  11. I talked about this trade in the trade review series, but I was hesitant to overstate the trade “win.” It was definitely significant, but it was essentially Pappas for Carroll, and an argument could be made that we lost the trade when it comes to actual value. Milt Pappas was a very good starting pitcher, even if Reds’ fans were angry over the deal.

    https://redlegnation.com/2009/07/28/redleg-trade-review-the-mechanized-big-red-machine/

    The first battle we won on the trade was in helping everyone forget Frank Robinson…that worked until the 1970 World Series.

    As for our “haul:” Cloninger was damaged (used to be very good) and Woodward wasn’t really a good shortstop….the Red had Chaney, Duffy, and Concepcion already in the pipeline. Duffy and Chaney were 1st and 2nd round draft picks and Concepcion was a free agent signee. Woodward was a placesetter to replace Cardenas until the young guys were ready. Carroll, of course, was and excellent relief pitcher and a key ingredient to the BRM.

    The irony of Davidson’s shooting, is that in 1985, the 43-year-old Carroll was victimized when his stepson shot and murdered Carroll’s 53-year-old wife (the shooter’s mother) and shot Carroll’s 11 year old son.

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