3. Kansas City A’s Trade Roger Maris to Yankees, 1959
The Yankees got Mickey Mantle a pretty solid partner when they traded for Roger Maris in 1959.
We’re hopping in the wayback machine here, but yes, the Winter Meetings do, in fact, predate Twitter.
Back in the 1950s and ’60s, the Athletics weren’t that annoying team in Oakland that plays in the circle of hell directly above Tropicana Field, a hellish stadium in which the Yankees cannot win. Instead, they were based in Kansas City, and had the well-earned reputation of being a borderline farm club for the Yanks.
Year after year, KC would willingly sell off their best players to Casey Stengel’s boys, and promising prospects who had theoretically been toiling in obscurity would then get a shot at the Big Apple spotlight. This would never happen today — these days, every MLB team is seemingly trained specifically to screw the Yankees with every trade offer they put forth. But back in the day, KC was a willing pipeline.
At the ’59 Winter Meetings in Miami Beach (sounds glorious already), the Yanks pulled the trigger on a behemoth of a deal, acquiring Roger Maris, Joe DeMaestri and Kent Hadley for a pile o’ players that included perfect gamer Don Larsen, Hank Bauer, Norm Siebern and Marv Throneberry.
In 1959, a 24-year-old Maris made his first All-Star team, hitting .273 with a pedestrian 16 homers. The next year in the Bronx? .283 with 39 homers and 112 RBI. And, oh yeah — after that he simply chose to set the all-time single-season home run record at 61.
Is it too late to try moving the A’s back to Kansas City? We could use some pitching.