A reader was kind enough to remind me that today is the 20-year anniversary of arguably the worst trade in Orioles history (if anyone is still arguing it).
I won’t rush out to Greetings & Readings. The occasion doesn’t call for a card. You’re better off with a stiff drink and a short memory.
Twenty years ago today, the Orioles traded three players to the Houston Astros for first baseman Glenn Davis. You might recognize the names: Curt Schilling, Pete Harnisch and Steve Finley.
Those guys were pretty good.
Let’s just go with “one of the worst trades in baseball history.” No argument there.
Davis came down with some strange neck injury - it involved a nerve and a questionable attitude - and lasted three seasons. Schilling had a bloody sock and a great career after the Astros dealt him to the Philadelphia Phillies for ... wait for it ... Jason Grimsley.
Schilling, a six-time All-Star, went 216-146 over 20 seasons. Finley hit 304 homers, won five Gold Gloves and made two All-Star teams in 19 seasons. Harnisch, the guy I thought would become the Orioles’ biggest regret, went 111-103 with a 3.89 ERA and made one All-Star team over 14 seasons.
Davis batted .247 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs in 185 games. He also got hit by a line drive while sitting in the dugout and is lucky he didn’t get hit inside the clubhouse when manager Johnny Oates stormed after him.
We try to forget, but we can’t do it.
Schilling never seemed to be fully appreciated. Or maybe he was undervalued.
The Phillies traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 26, 2000 for Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee and Vicente Padilla. The Diamondbacks traded Schilling to the Boston Red Sox on Nov. 28, 2003 for Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, Jorge de la Rosa and Michael Goss.
Too bad the Orioles couldn’t trade for Schilling and right a terrible wrong.
I’ll go on record again as saying that I endorsed the Davis trade, figuring that the Orioles needed a big-time cleanup hitter. Schilling was a flake. Finley was a duplicate of Brady Anderson. Every other team in the division had an imposing bat in the middle of their order. I was totally on board with it.
It’s just like a friend of mine who admits that he preferred Ryan Leaf over Peyton Manning.
Maybe I’ll head to the grocery store and buy a dried-out cake and those trick candles - the kind that, when you try to blow them out, reverse a bad trade.
At least the Orioles won’t get burned this time.