Top 10 Trades That Changed Boston Sports (10 – 6)
There is no doubt Boston has a very rich sports history. Beantown has had its share of heartache but the city is still sniffing the vapor trails of the “Golden Age.” During this time period (2001-current), The Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox have all enjoyed championship duck boat rides.
However, if it wasn’t for astute front offices with itchy trigger fingers, some of these championship runs would just be pipe dreams. So let’s take a journey down memory lane and relive the top 10 trades that changed Boston sports history.
Honorable Mention - July 31, 1997- Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek traded to Boston by Seattle for Healthcliff Slocumb
After 31 saves in 1996 for the Red Sox, Slocumb was traded in during the 1997 season for two pivotal members of future World Series teams in 2004 & 2007.
Jason Vartitek became the everyday catcher, captain and leader of the Red Sox. His mastery of the pitching staffs in 2004 and 2007 were invaluable. Derek Lowe would close and start for the Red Sox from ’97-’04. He put his stamp on history as he became the only pitcher to win the deciding game in the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series in 2004.
10. June 6, 1986- Cam Neely Traded to Boston by Vancouver with Vancouver’s 1st round choice (Glen Wesley) in 1987 Entry Draft for Barry Pederson.
Cam Neely became an elite player as a power right winger. In the ’87-’88 season, he broke the 40 goal plateau for the first time in his career as he helped the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals. He was also an integral part of the Bruins team who reached the Finals again in ’89-’90. Neely scored a career high 55 goals and 92 points.
The following year, Neely had another stellar year with 51 goals. However, he suffered a knee injury at the hands of Ulf Samuelsson which restricted him to play no more than 49 games a season from 1991 to 1996. Cam Neely had one more magical run when he scored 50 goals in 49 games during the ’93-’94 season. He finished his Bruins career with 395 goals and 299 assists.
This trade had a dramatic impact on the franchise. Neely was the dominant sniper and physical presence that enabled the Bruins to become an elite franchise in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
9. (A) April 29, 2007- Randy Moss traded to New England by Oakland for a 4th round choice (John Bowie) in the 2007 draft
The Patriots took a chance on a disgruntled Randy Moss and the gamble paid off. Moss regained his elite receiver status in 2007 helping to lead the most potent offense in NFL history. In his first season with the Tom Brady, Moss posted 1498 yards and a NFL record 23 touchdown receptions as New England had the first 16-0 regular season in league history. The Patriots would later lose to the Giants in the super bowl falling short in their quest for perfection.
Moss would have two more productive years in New England before things started to sour during the 2010 season. He became a disruption and was later traded to Minnesota for a fourth round pick.
9. (B) March 5, 2007 – Wes Welker traded to New England by Miami for a second (Samson Satele) and seventh round (Abraham Wright) pick in the 2007 draft
Bill Belichick was sick of trying to defend Wes Welker when he was a member of the Miami Dolphins, so he traded for him. During his first season with the Patriots in 2007, it became the perfect offensive storm. Couple with Randy Moss, New England had the highest scoring attach in NFL history.
Welker has had over 100 catches for three straight seasons (2007-2009) which includes a franchise record 123 catches in 2009. Welker returned in 2010 from a torn acl/mcl without missing a single game and had another productive season with 86 catches. He remains the spark plug to the Patriots offense.
8. November 24, 2005 – Josh Beckett Traded to Boston by Florida with Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota for Jesus Delgado, Harvey Garcia, Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez.
The Red Sox had to give up top line prospect Hanley Ramirez but the rewards were worth the risk. After a shaky first season in the American League, Josh Beckett rebounded with a vengeance in 2007. He went 20-7 and became the true ace of the pitching staff.
Mike Lowell also paid dividends in 2007.The “throw in” of the trade batted .324 with 21 homeruns and 120 runs batted in. He was a great compliment in the batting order to David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.
The trade’s true return on investment came in the playoffs. Beckett was all world going 4-0 including a game five victory to ignite the Red Sox comeback from a 3-1 series deficit. Mike Lowell shined in baseball’s biggest stage, the World Series. Lowell was named series MVP batting .400 with one homerun and 4 RBI’s in the four game sweep of the Rockies.
7. May 15, 1967 – Phil Esposito Traded to Boston by Chicago with Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield for Pit Martin, Jack Norris, and Gilles Marotte
Phil Esposito’s game would reach superstar heights with the Big Bad Bruins. In eight plus seasons with the Black and Gold, Phil broke the 100 point plateau six times. He led the NHL in scoring in ‘69, ‘71, ‘72, ‘73, and ‘74. “Espo” led the league in goals for six straight seasons. His career high was 76 goals in 1970-71.
With the likes of Ken Hodge, Johnny Bucyk, Bobby Orr, and Phil Esposito, the Bruins captured the Stanley Cup in ’70 and ’72. They could have one a few more if the puck bounced their way. Phil Esposito was an offensive juggernaut of this NHL dynasty.
6. November 28, 2003 – Curt Schilling Traded to Boston by Arizona for Michael Goss (minors), Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon and Jorge de la Rosa
After losing to the NY Yankees in the 2003 ALCS, the Red Sox front office was primed to do whatever it takes to defeat their rival. The Red Sox brought in a season veteran and World Series champion in pitching ace in Curt Schilling. He would join a rotation that already had fan favorite, Pedro Martinez.
In 2004, Schilling made an instant impact for the Sox. He had 21-6 record as Pedro Martinez won 16 games to fuel the Sox to an AL wildcard berth. Schilling and the Sox made pretty easy work of the Anaheim Angels before meeting their long time foe, the NY Yankees.
After a less than stellar game one performance, Schilling bounced back with an epic performance on a gimpy ankle. The “Bloody Sock” legend was born. Schilling yielded just one run on four hits in seven innings of work. He helped the Sox stave off elimination as they made one of the most remarkable comebacks in sports history.
Schilling won game two of the 2004 World Series and was instrumental in the team’s first championship since 1918. His big game performances didn’t end there as he went 3-0 in the 2007 post season as the Red Sox won their second world title in four years.
Please stay tuned for the remainder of the Top 10 Trades That Changed Boston Sports. What do you think of the list thus far. What are you picks for 5-1? Feel free to chime in!