An anniversary came and went a few weeks ago and no one seemed to notice – March 26, 1992. It was the day the Milwaukee Brewers shipped a 23-year-old Gary Sheffield to the San Diego Padres for a bag of Bones.
Twenty years ago.
I was 11 when that trade went down, an avid baseball fan. Since the Brewers played in the same division as the Chicago White Sox, I knew a lot about The Crew. As baseball card collector, I knew a lot about the great prospects of that time, of which Sheffield was clearly one.
From afar, I remember being shocked by the deal. Gary Sheffield? For who?
As I got older and read stories as to why he was dealt, I was naturally less surprised. But this recent revitalization of Brewers baseball got me thinking – did that trade set the franchise back during the '90s?
Superficially, it's easy to say yes.
The Brewers went 92-70 in 1992 while Sheffield nearly won the National League Triple Crown, but after that the Brewers went 12 years before finally reaching the .500 mark in 2005. Sheffield went on to have (arguably) a Hall of Fame career.
While its clear by looking at Sheffield's career – and at former Brewers ownership – that he probably wouldn't have signed a long-term deal in Milwaukee even if he liked it here, it is fun to play the "what if" game.
What if a nine-time All-Star, five-time Silver Slugger with a career .292 average and 509 home runs had stayed?
It would've been a sight to see, all those baseballs flying out of County Stadium.
Maybe then the commissioner would've sunk some money into the pitching staff to compliment this ferocious lineup?
In the pre-wildcard era, it's impossible to predict if Sheffield's presence would've resulted in a bunch of winning seasons, but it definitely didn't help that one of that of the best right-handed hitters of the last 20 years was traded away for Ricky Bones, Jose Valentin, Matt Mieske and a killer mustache.
Jim...you should have done more research...Gary Sheffield was a cancer...as a rookie, he criticized the pitching staff for not protecting him...he ripped management for not respecting him...he was upset tht the club moved him from shortstop to third base...the year before he was traded, he accused Harry Dalton for ruining the team,he criticized manager Tom Trebelhorn and owner Bud Selig for forcing him to play hurt. The last straw was when he came to camp in 1992 demanding to be traded. Manager Phil Garner did not want him on the team. That's why he was traded. Many teams did not want him. Sal Bando got what he could get from the Padres. As good as Sheffield was when he wanted to play (yes many called him a selfish player), he caused similar problems with the Padres, Marlins, Yankees and Tigers. Is he Hall of Fame material? Perhaps. But it'll take him a long time to get in...if he ever does get in.
Nah, I'd say it's Sal Bando referring to Paul Molior as "just a DH" and letting him walk after the 92 season as the main culprit.
4 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Jim Owczarski
Published July 29, 2014
Jimmy Nelson got a taste of the major leagues last summer when he was called up by the Milwaukee Brewers in September. This year, the right-hander was called up before the all-star break to provide a spark in the rotation for a first-place team in a division race. Needless the say, the pressure is a little different. Nelson, however, is trying to stay cool.
Published July 28, 2014
A 20-7 start to the year showed Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke how good this current team can be, but with a little under four days away from the non-waiver trade deadline, are they certain how good they will be as the team makes a playoff push?
Published July 25, 2014
There is plenty of great golf to take advantage of in Wisconsin Dells, but Coldwater Canyon - now part of the Chula Vista Resort - is a must play for travelers and residents alike.
Published July 25, 2014
The Green Bay Packers report to training camp today and practice begins tomorrow in the shadow of Lambeau Field. Hopes are high for 2014 -- here's what to watch for over the next month.
Published July 24, 2014
It's been nearly two weeks since the world of Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Jean Segura's world was turned upside down following the death of his infant son. But he missed just two games, and since his return he's looking like the all-star player he was last year.
Published July 23, 2014
Eight years after being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers and saddled with being one of the moribund franchise's new stars, and four after being traded away, Jeremy Jeffress has found his way home.
Published July 22, 2014
The Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-2 on Monday and recorded three extra base hits, the sixth time in seven games the team has had at least that many. The offense may not be completely back on track, but signs like that might point to a breakout in the near future.
Published July 21, 2014
For the bulk of the season - 96 of 99 games played heading into tonight's action - the Milwaukee Brewers have enjoyed a share, or solo grip, on first place of the National League Central. The division has caught up however, and this series with Cincinnati could be looked at as the start of a new season altogether.
Published July 19, 2014
"I'm coming home." LeBron James rocked the sports world with those three simple words. It got us thinking - what if all of Wisconsin's baseball players did the same thing? Then we realized, wait, there aren't enough active players left to field a full squad. So, we made an all-time team. Did we get it right?
Published July 18, 2014
The Milwaukee Brewers return from the all-star break tonight in Washington, and the push for the playoffs begins with just 66 games remaining in the regular season. Here are five things to watch for as the Brewers try to reach the postseason for the second time in four years.