Ryczek: Revisiting the Cepeda-Sadecki trade

From SABR member Bill Ryczek at The National Pastime Museum on August 18, 2014:

The May 1966 trade of San Francisco first baseman Orlando Cepeda to the Cardinals for pitcher Ray Sadecki is generally ranked with that of Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio, Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, and Babe Ruth for No, No, Nanette as one of the most lopsided deals in baseball history. The Cards won the World Series the next year, with Cepeda, their inspirational leader in the clubhouse, capturing the NL MVP Award. They also won the pennant in 1968, while the Giants, despite all their talent, finished second both years. Sadecki spent the rest of his career as a journeyman pitcher who never won more than 12 games in a season.

On the surface it seemed as if St. Louis scored a coup, and many thought the apparently uneven exchange had been initiated because the Giants thought they had too many minorities on their team. In 1964, San Francisco Manager Alvin Dark, thinking he was off the record, told Newsday sportswriter Stan Isaacs that he believed one of the reasons his team was underachieving was that the Giants had too many blacks and Latinos, whom Dark said were not team players and not adept at the mental aspects of the game.

Remarks like that are often made after a few drinks, but Dark was a teetotaler. He knew what he was saying, and he meant it. Isaacs printed Dark’s comments, which unleashed a firestorm, and it was foreordained that he would be fired after the season. Even though Dark was gone by 1966, his legacy remained, and the chemistry in the San Francisco clubhouse was edgy. Cepeda was one of the malcontents.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/cepeda-sadecki-trade-revisited

Originally published: August 18, 2014. Last Updated: August 18, 2014.