Wednesday, April 1, 2020

What could have been?

Phil Niekro could have been a San Diego legend.  In 1969 while still building the Padres C. Arnholt Smith conferred with his management team Eddie Leishman and Buzzie Bavasi in trying to strengthen the team.  They decided that they needed to strengthen the pitching staff with some veteran arms.  They decided to trade Dick Selma to the Braves for Phil, the Braves agreed to the trade.  Buzzie told some unknown low level executive to make the deal.  That executive, whose name has been lost in the annals of history erroneously traded Dick Selma to the Cubs for the trio of Gary Ross, Frankie Libran and JOE NIEKRO.  The commissioners office ratified the trade.  The Padres protested the trade but Commissioner Bowie Kuhn in his first year in the job wanted to prove his command of the job insisted that everything was in order and the trade must be consummated.   Phil Niekro went 23-13 with a ERA of 2.56 and an All Star berth while Joe went 8-17 for the Padres and was traded in December of 1969 to the Tigers for Pat Dobson, Dave Campbell and Syd Finch.


Matt said...

What a cool anecdote! I can't imagine something like that happening again!

Fuji said...

Just think about how many World Series titles the Padres could have won in the 70's with Phil. Darn you Bowie!