The NHL Trade Deadline has come and past, and in light of that, let’s discuss something we rarely ever talk about - the awkwardness of getting traded. As much as we grade, critique and throw athletes under the microscope, we forget players aren’t just expendable pieces, but people. Being lugged away at the drop of a hat must be difficult, and it is probably a lot harder when you’re dealt away for, say, a rusty old bus.
Let’s discuss some of the most awkward trades in sports history.
Tom “Bussey” Martin traded for a used bus
Tom Martin was a journey man, playing the majority of his professional hockey career in the AHL; he won the Calder Cup in 1985 with the Sherbrooke Canadiens and was a First Team AHL All-Star in 1988. But “Bussey” is most famous for how he got his nickname; in 1983 the Seattle Breakers traded him to the Victoria Cougars in exchange for the Cougars’ used team bus. To be fair, Seattle was legitimately looking for a new team bus, and Victoria had an extra one. Also, Victoria gained a hometown boy, so really all parties involved won, and as a bonus Martin gained a cool nickname.
Keith Comstock traded for 100$ and a bag of baseballs
By far, Baseball has given us some of the most bizarre trades in sports history, but none more embarrassing than the San Diego Padres trade of Keith Comstock to the Seattle Mariners, in 1983. Comstock played 14 years in the Minor Leagues before heading to the Majors, where he actually won seven straight games with the Mariners out of their bullpen in 1990. Let’s go ahead and credit his success to the chip on his shoulder. Not only was he traded for a bag of baseballs and $100, to make it worst, he had to deliver the baseballs from his former team himself.
Dave Winfield, traded for dinner
Baseball Hall of Famers are not exempt from awkward dealings. As all athletes know, time is undefeated. As players’ increase in age, they decrease in value. As Hall of Famer Dave Winfield was hitting his 40s, the Minnesota Twins were looking to separate themselves from the outfielder, trading him to the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later. Unfortunately, that was in 1994 during the players strike, so when the season was canceled both teams were stuck and ran the risk of losing out on the deal. Luckily, Minnesota’s executives were a clever group. To ensure the deal was not canceled, the Twins took the Cleveland executives to dinner and made sure to pick up the tab, technically trading Winfield for “cash.”
Kris Draper traded for dollar
He can laugh about it now, but I am sure when the Winnipeg Jets traded him to the Detroit Red Wings for one dollar it wasn’t very funny. In the end it worked out for him, Draper played 17 seasons with Detroit, helping to win four Stanley Cups. To us he will always be the “One Dollar Man.”
Fred Roberts Traded for 2 exhibition games
In 1986 the NBA wasn’t like it is today, small ball wasn’t sweeping the league and having a legit big man was a real asset - unless your name was Fred Roberts. Standing 6’10 and returning to the NBA after a short stint in Europe, he was traded to the Boston Celtics from the Utah Jazz, for the rights to play Boston twice the following preseason. The joke is on Utah though, because Boston went on to win the NBA Finals that year.