Today’s Trade Tree is our first reader submitted proposal. Take it away, CH:
I’ve got a suggestion for a trade tree which might lead to some tangled and interesting webs.
In February 1954 the New York Giants traded Bobby “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” Thompson to the Milwaukee Braves for four players, including former bonus baby Johnny Antonelli, and fifty grand. Antonelli led the National League in ERA+, won 21 games, and finished third in MVP voting that year, became a six-time All Star, and posted a 108-84 record (124 ERA+) over his Giants career. Thompson broke his ankle in spring training and only played in 43 games that year. He must have been injured in 1955, too, because he only played in 101 games. Thompson’s slash line with Milwaukee was .242/.307/.400/.706, good for only an OPS+ of 92. His career line was .270/.332/.462/.794 (110 OPS+), including a .277/.337/.484/.821 (116 OPS+) line with the Giants.
Another player involved in the deal was Don Liddle, the spot starter who threw the pitch to Vic Wertz in the 1954 World Series which resulted in The Catch. A season and a half later, the Giants traded Liddle and three other players to the Cardinals for four players, including Red Schoendienst, and a PTBNL. Barely a year later, Schoendienst was traded to Milwaukee for Bobby Thompson and two other players. A year later, the Giants again traded Thompson, this time to the Cubs for Bob Speake.
What intrigued me about all this is that Thompson, who hit one of the most famous playoff homers of all time, was twice traded by teams which were that year’s eventual World Series Champs. When I started to realize how many players were involved in these deals, coupled with Thompson’s back and forth act, I figured a Milwaukee Braves/New York Giants/Bobby Thompson trade tee would be a pretty cool thing to see.
CH has suggested a gem for us. We have another example of a player traded for himself, and there are two more very interesting things.
First, you’ll notice the red line from Dick Littlefield to Jackie Robinson. This is because Jackie Robinson refused to report to his new team. The trade was voided and the players returned to their original teams. This led to Littlefield being traded for Ray Jablonski and Ray Katt instead. Directly under Katt is our second interesting transaction - Jim King.
BR.com’s transactions for King list an "unknown" transaction that sent him to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League. In his book The Original San Francisco Giants: The Giants of ‘58, Steve Bitker writes:
The Giants worked out a deal with independent Toronto, in the International League, sending Ernie Broglio and Jim King [on loan] in exchange for veteran right-hander Don Johnson, who won 20 games in ‘57 was was named MVP of the [International] league.
Don Johnson was eventually acquired again by the Giants, this time by trading Ray Crone to Toronto, instead of a loan. Jim King would stay in Toronto, and eventually end up in Cleveland, though I couldn’t nail down how exactly that happened. BR.com lists the transaction “as part of a minor league working agreement.” I can’t find any evidence that the Giants received any compensation for King after sending Johnson back to Toronto at the end of 1958.
Any information that can clear up the fate of Jim King would be greatly appreciated.