1. Jay Buhner: What Could Have Been?
It was the trade so bad that even fictional television characters got upset. Frank Costanza, the man who brought us Festivus, spoke for all Yankee fans when he berated the fictional George Steinbrenner, played by Larry David, on the television show Seinfeld.
Frank was right to be upset about the Jay Buhner trade. The trade occurred back in the ugly 1980’s when the Yankees seemed to trade away all their prospects in an attempt to win now. It was a strategy that ultimately saw them trade away outfielder Willie McGee to the St. Louis Cardinals as well (another bad one!). So, nobody can blame Frank Costanza for losing it.
It reminds me of some great advice I was once given: Never let the millionaires ruin your day. As fans, we get so excited and involved. Baseball is our religion. But for the players, this is a job. It’s what they do for a living. They have to separate their work life from their home life. So don’t let the millionaires ruin your home life. Enjoy baseball for what it is, the national pastime.
Nonetheless, should you choose to not heed this great advice, no one will blame you for being upset about the Jay Buhner trade. Buhner went on to play 13 seasons with the Seattle Mariners, hitting over 300 home runs in his career.
In return, the Yankees got, well, Ken Phelps. Phelps was in his early thirties at the time. His decline was inevitable. Yankee fans got a front row view of his decline while Mariner fans got to see Buhner’s rise to stardom.
This concludes our list. You may be wondering why I only gave Willie McGee a cursory mention. Trading McGee was terrible. I wanted to include it but couldn’t find a way. As Yankee fans, we know that not everything works out. On this day, I choose not to let the overlooking of a millionaire from yesteryear ruin my article. Will you?