The best and worst Chicago Cubs trades in history: Fan’s opinion

Chicago Cubs trades

The Chicago Cubs are famous for futility and making poor decisions. As a Chicago Cubs fan for over 30 years, I have seen the Cubs make a number of monumental trades that both helped and hurt Chicago. Although the biggest trades often take place right before the trade deadline and during the offseason, the most famous Chicago Cubs trades have taken place during June. Take a look back at the best and worst trades in Chicago Cubs history.

Worst: Lou Brock

On June 15, 1964, the Chicago Cubs traded Lou Brock, Jack Spring and Paul Toth to the St. Louis Cardinals for Ernie Broglio, Doug Clemens and Bobby Shantz.

Through the years, Chicago has been vilified for the Lou Brock trade. But while he was in Chicago, Brock was not the superstar that he became with the St. Louis Cardinals. Before the trade, Brock never hit double-digit homeruns, he never hit over .263 and his best SB total was 24. But there is no denying that things quickly changed in St. Louis. I guess this points out the difference in coaching and instruction between the two organizations. This fiasco is as much a failure of the Cubs to maximize Brock's potential in Chicago as it was a poor personnel decision.

Of course, there are two parts to every trade. What made the loss of Lou Brock even worse for Chicago was the fact that they got little in return for the future Hall of Famer. Ernie Broglio, who had a nice career in St. Louis, was 7-19 for the Cubs with a 5.40 ERA. Doug Clemens hit .238 in two seasons in Chicago. Bobby Shantz was so bad that the Cubs unloaded him before the season was over. In 2011, the verbiage for such a disastrous trade would be "epic fail." In fact, this trade was so bad for Chicago that even Jim Hendry has never made a decision this bad.

Best: Rick Sutcliffe

On June 13, 1984, the Chicago Cubs traded Darryl Banks, Joe Carter, Mel Hall and Don Schulze to the Cleveland Indians for George Frazier, Ron Hassey and Rick Sutcliffe.

Ironically, almost 20 years to the day that Lou Brock left the Windy City, Dallas Green executed the greatest trade in Chicago history. Some fans may claim this trade was not "great" because the Cubs had to give up Carter, who hit nearly 400 MLB homeruns. But I do not believe that a trade which helps both teams should negate its value to either club. If Ernie Broglio had won a Cy Young Award with the Cubs and helped Chicago reach the postseason, then the Lou Brock trade would not still be causing older Cubs fans to pull out the rest of their hair.

In 1984, Rick Sutcliffe went 16-1 with a 2.69 ERA in just 20 starts with the Cubs, en route to the NL Cy Young Award. He also helped the Cubs win the NL East in 1984 and 1989. And he led the NL with 18 wins in 1987. But even the other players who joined the Cubs in the Sutcliffe trade went on to help Chicago in the magical season of 1984. George Frazier went 6-3 with three saves in 1984. And Ron Hassey hit .333 as a backup for Jody Davis. Both statistically and for helping Chicago reach the playoffs twice, the Rick Sutcliffe trade is the greatest in Cubs history.

Honorable mention bad Chicago Cubs trade

12/8/1987: Chicago Cubs trade Lee Smith to the Boston Red Sox for Al Nipper and Calvin Schiraldi.

Honorable mention great Chicago Cubs trade

3/30/1992: Chicago Cubs trade George Bell to the Chicago White Sox for Ken Patterson and Sammy Sosa.


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Updated Wednesday, Jun 22, 2011