1994 was the first year I followed Padres baseball. I was 9-years-old, young and impressionable. The strike was a damper for fans everywhere and it hurt like hell. Eventually things got resolved and the Padres pulled off one of the largest trades in baseball history(in terms of players involved).
On this day 18 years ago, the Padres traded SS Ricky Gutierrez, OF Derek Bell, P Pedro Martinez(not that one), OF Phil Plantier, P Doug Brocail and INF Craig Shipley to the Houston Astros. In return the Padres received: 3B Ken Caminiti, OF Steve Finley, SS Andujar Cedeno, INF Roberto Petagine, P Brian Williams and P Sean Fesh.
Hard to believe that this deal took place so long ago. The trade is now old enough for me to date and should be remembered as one of the greatest deals in Padres history. Sure, Derek Bell had some good years in Houston, but the Padres absolutely fleeced the ‘Stros in this deal.
The Padres team in 1995 was much improved and San Diego won the NL West in 1996. Cammy was the MVP that year, when he hit 40 bombs and drove in 130 runs. Finley slammed 30 bombs and and won a Gold Glove. In my opinion, Finley might have been the all-around better player in 1996.
The Padres went to the World Series in ’98, where both players were regulars. While their numbers were down, they were key pieces of a pennant-winning squad. Without this trade, Petco Park might not even exist.
Andujar Cedeno was a bust for the Padres and was traded in 1996. Sadly, he was killed in a car accident back in 2000. Petagine had moments as a pinch-hitter and Brian Williams sucked. The others, aside from Bell, did nothing in Houston. In fact, Shipley and Plantier both came back to San Diego as players.
I cannot remember the fan reaction from this trade, because I was still eating paste(I was “special”) in school. I am sure Hacksaw asked for Padre fans to “react to him.”
In retrospect, this trade has to be in the top 5 deals in Padres history. I will always have fond memories of the magic this trade brought to San Diego.