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Trades Evaluated Five Years Later

December 08, 1985|MIKE TULLY | United Press International

SAN DIEGO — Baseball executives say it takes five years to evaluate a trade.

If that is so, then the winter meetings in San Diego afford an occasion to analyze what happened five years ago in Dallas.

St. Louis fans will remember that 1980 marked the time when then-general manager Whitey Herzog moved 13 players in three blockbuster deals in five days.

Of the players Herzog dispatched, three remain productive in the big leagues. Not one of the nine players he acquired still play for the Cardinals.

Since that week, however, the Cardinals have captured one World Series and come within one victory of winning another. In addition, the deals affected franchises in San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia, to name a few.

This is what happened:

On Dec. 8, Herzog dealt with San Diego, sending catchers Terry Kennedy and Steve Swisher, infielder Mike Philips, and pitchers John Littlefield, John Urrea, Kim Seaman and Alan Olmstead to the Padres for pitchers Rollie Fingers and Bob Shirley and catchers Gene Tenace and Bob Geren.

The next day, Herzog acquired reliever Bruce Sutter from the Cubs for then-outfielder Leon Durham and infielders Ken Reitz and Ty Waller.

After two days off, Herzog swung his third blockbuster, sending right-hander Pete Vuckovich, Fingers and catcher Ted Simmons to Milwaukee for outfielders Sixto Lezcano and David Green, and pitchers Lary Sorensen and Dave LaPoint.

The deal produced both immediate and long-range effects.

In the short term, Vuckovich, Fingers and Simmons helped Milwaukee reach the 1982 World Series, where St. Louis won in seven games. Only Simmons remains with the Brewers.

Lezcano became part of a package that netted shortstop Ozzie Smith. Sorensen was dealt to Philadelphia in a three-way trade that brought another valuable Cardinal--outfielder Lonnie Smith.

Sutter, Ozzie Smith, Lonnie Smith, Tenace, Green and LaPoint all contributed to the Cardinals' World Series victory in 1982.

Over the longer term, Kennedy helped make the Padres a winner in 1984, while Durham was doing the same for the Cubs.

Shirley eventually went to Cincinnati for two pitchers--Jeff Lahti and Jose Brito. Herzog later used Brito as the bait that brought outfielder Tito Landrum to St. Louis.

Both Landrum and Lahti helped the Cardinals win the National League pennant last season. So did Green and LaPoint. They were part of a deal that brought some longball power from San Francisco. The longball power belonged to Jack Clark.

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