By: Michael McDonald

Dissecting the Worst Trade in Mets History


I challenge all you Met’s fans to come up with a worse trade for the Mets than Nolan Ryan, Leroy Stanton, Francisco Estrada, AND Don Rose to the California Angels for Jim Fregosi.

When Met’s General Manager Bob Scheffling reflected on the trade he said, “…we’ve had him three full years and, although he’s a hell of a prospect, he hasn’t done it for us. How long can you wait?” The short answer, they should’ve waited MUCH, MUCH, MUCH longer. The long answer is below.

Let’s start by looking into the career of Jim Fregosi. Jim Fregosi played 11 seasons (1961-1971) for the Los Angeles Angels who became to be called the California Angels in 1965. First the good. With the Angels, Fregosi was an infielder who along with winning a gold glove in 1967 was a six time All Star. He did hit 219 doubles, 70 triples, 115 home-runs, 546 RBI. And now the bad. Fregosi’s batting average with the Angels was only .268. His last year with the Angels was actually his worst. He only hit .233, with 1 triple, 5 home-runs, 33 RBI while only playing 101 games because of a tumor found in his foot. Upon getting traded to the Mets, Fregosi played two seasons and batted .233 with 5 home-runs and 43 RBI. Although he isnt’ the one to be blamed for the trade, it should be noted that his time with the Mets ended with him being sold to the Texas Rangers in 1973.

Although the players traded along with Ryan isn’t what makes this a good or bad trade, just the fact that the Mets threw in three players on top of trading the future hall of famer, Nolan Ryan, just makes the trade that much worse!

Leroy Stanton oddly enough, put up better numbers with California, than Fregosi did with the Mets. With the Angels, Stanton played five seasons, hit .247. slugged 47 home-runs and drove in 245 runs. Not too bad for a guy traded WITH NOLAN RYAN.

Francisco Estrada never played a Major League Baseball game after the one he played for the Mets.

Don Rose pitched 16 games for California to a 4.22 Earned Run Average

Ok now here comes the fun part or the not-so-fun part, depending on how you look at it. Let’s look into the career of Nolan Ryan. Oh and what a career he had. With the Mets, he was a prospect that GM Bob Scheffling drew tired of waiting for. He pitched to a record of 29 wins and 38 losses with an earned run average of 3.58 with 2 shutouts, 2 saves and 493 strikeouts in five seasons.

Perhaps one of Ryans greatest accomplishments is he pitched FOUR NO HITTERS in a two year stretch 1973 to 1975. This was just 2 years after (and I repeat this quote for effect), Met’s GM Bob Scheffling had thought, “…we’ve had him three full years and, although he’s a hell of a prospect, he hasn’t done it for us. How long can you wait?” Aside from the FOUR NO HITTERS Ryan threw for the Angels, he also pitched FORTY SHUTOUTS. FORTY. you heard that right, in just 8 seasons. Also struck out over 2400 batters in that time.

Ryan was a wild pitcher, often leading the league in walks. But he was a true flame thrower, leading the league in strikeouts 11 of his 27 years pitched. He won 324 games, led the league in Earned Run Average twice, and was an 8 time All Star. He also won his only World Series in 1989. On top of all this he was inducted in the Hall of Fame on 1999.

So although the Mets have come on top of many trades in their 50 plus year history, this was one they wish they could have back!

About Michael McDonald

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