Five Worst Trades In Oakland Athletics’ History

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Rickey Henderson to the New York Yankees for Stan Javier, Jay Howell, Jose Rijo, Eric Plunk and Tim Birtsas – 1984

After a 77-85 season, the Athletics finished in the middle of the AL West in 1984. That December, the A’s traded Rickey Henderson, who stole over 100 bases in his first five seasons, to the New York Yankees along with Bert Bradley. In return, Oakland received five Yankee players.

Henderson had been an All-Star with the A’s the 1984 season, hitting .293 with 16 home runs and 113 runs scored. For the Yankees in 1985, Rickey finished 3rd in the MVP vote, and led the league in both runs scored (146), and stolen bases (80), and also had 24 home runs, 72 RBIs and a .314 batting average.

Henderson would go on to be an All-Star in all four of his seasons in New York, and would lead the American League in stolen bases in three of those seasons. Fortunately, Henderson, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2009, was traded back to Oakland in 1989.

Javier, Howell, Rijo, Plunk and Birtsas never amounted to anything in Oakland Athletics’ lore, although they were involved in some substantial trades that later assisted the A’s in becoming pennant winners. Birtsas was involved in the 1988 trade to the Reds that brought over A’s designated hitter Dave Parker, and Howell was a part of the trade to the Dodgers in 1988 that brought over Bob Welch. Welch became a key part of the A’s starting rotation during their winning championship years of the late 80s and early 90s. Plunk was involved in the deal that brought Henderson back to Oakland in 1989. Javier was traded to the Dodgers in 1990, in a move that brought over second baseman Willie Randolph to fill a void for the 1990 World Series.

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