Trading Up: Many Future Hall of Famers Have Changed Teams at the Trade Deadline

Blyleven, Carlton, Henderson and Sutton among Legends Who Became Pennant-Race Transactions

July 31, 2012
Class of 2011 Inductee Bert Blyleven was traded to the Twins on August 1, 1985, just before the trade deadline. (Lou Sauritch/NBHOF Library)

COOPERSTOWN, NY – Forty-eight Hall of Fame players have spent their entire career with one big league franchise. 

For the other 159 Hall of Famers who earned their election on the playing field, changing teams was a part of their resume. 

As the big league trading deadline approaches at 4 p.m. ET today, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum presents some of the most famous deadline deals involving some future Hall of Famers: 

Aug. 1, 1985 – Indians trade Bert Blyleven to Twins for Four Prospects, Including Jay Bell: Nine years after the Twins traded Bert Blyleven to the Texas Rangers mid-season, Minnesota re-acquired its former ace from the Cleveland Indians for prospects Jay Bell, Curt Wardle, Jim Weaver and Rich Yett. Blyleven will go on to win 50 games in his second stint with the Twins, helping Minnesota capture its first World Series title in 1987. 

July 31, 1987 – Indians send Steve Carlton to Twins for Player to be Named Later: The Minnesota Twins were fighting for the American League West title, and acquired Steve Carlton from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named, which turned out to be minor league Jeff Perry on Aug. 18. Perry never made it to the majors, but the 42-year-old Carlton contributed to the Twins’ pennant push by winning one game in nine appearances down the stretch. The Twins went on to win their first World Series title that fall. 

Aug. 30, 1982 – Astros send Don Sutton to Brewers for Three Prospects, Including Kevin Bass: Just before the Aug. 31 deadline to qualify players onto postseason rosters, the Brewers trade for one of the game’s most durable starting pitchers in Don Sutton, sending prospects Kevin Bass, Frank DiPino and Mike Madden to the Astros. Sutton is brilliant down the stretch, starting seven games for Milwaukee and posting a 4-1 record and 3.29 ERA to help the Brewers win the American League East and advance to the World Series. 

July 31, 1993 – A’s send Rickey Henderson to Blue Jays for Steve Karsay and Jose Herrera: The defending World Champion Blue Jays make a splash at the deadline, acquiring all-time steals leader Rickey Henderson from the A’s for prospects Steve Karsay and Jose Herrera. Henderson helps the Jays defend their World Series title, scoring five runs in Toronto’s World Series win over the Phillies. 

The most recent Hall of Famer to be traded was Class of 2011 enshrinee Roberto Alomar, who was acquired by the Chicago White Sox from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 5, 2004, in exchange for minor leaguer Brad Murray. Alomar played in 18 games with the White Sox that summer before retiring in the spring of 2005. 

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