"Bert's Boys" ... a "trade"-marked team

Sunday, April 10 2011 @ 10:47 PM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

Near the end of the last decade of the 20th century, the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, under the calming influence of head coach  (wait, strike “calming, leave it as “under the … influence of”) Mike Ditka, traded their entire  collection of1999 draft picks to the Washington Redskins for the rights to draft  University of Texas running back Ricky Williams.

Big trade, but ultimately … big deal! It’s not like Ricky Facemask was ever traded for/with an entire roster of players. It’s not like Ricky has anything on … Bert Blyleven. That’s right, Rik Aalbert Blyleven, who this summer will at long last (and very deservedly) be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, changed teams via trade five times in his long career, in a series of deals that included, literally, an entire roster – and a pretty good one! – of players, more than two dozen MLB veterans who are now forevermore also to be known as part of a team called (thank you, Chris Berman) ...

The Be Home Blylevens
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

C  Manny Sanguillen* (.296, 1500 hits even, 1967-80)
1B Willie Montanez * (.275, 139 homers, 1966-82)
2B Mike Cubbage (.258, 1974-81)
SS Jay Bell* (.265, 195 homers, 1986-2003)
3B Roy Smalley * (.267, 153 homers, 1975-87)
LF John Milner (.249, 131 homers, 1971-82)
CF Al Oliver* (1968-85, 2743 hits, 209 homers)
RF Ken Henderson (.257, 122 homers, 1965-80)
DH Paul Sorrento (.257, 166 homers, 1989-99)

C Gary Alexander (,230, 55 homers, 1975-81)
IF Danny Thompson (.248, 1970-76)
IF Nelson Norman (.221, 1978-82)
OF Tom Grieve (.249, 65 homers, 1970-79)
OF Eddie Miller (.238 in 366 PA, 1977-84)
OF Jim Weaver (.161, 5-for-31, 1985, ’87, ’89)

RHSP Bert Blyleven** (287-250, 3.3, 1970-92)
RHSP Jon Matlack* (125-126, 3.18, 1971-83)
RHSP Bill Singer* (118-127, 3.39, 1964-77)
LHSP Bob Owchinko (37-60, 4.28, 1976-94)
RHSP Tommy Boggs (20-44, 4.22, 1976-83)

CL Victor Cruz (18-23, 37 saves, 1978-83,)
RP Adrian Devine (26-22, 31 saves, 1973-80)
RP Curt Wardle (8-9, 1 save, 1984-85)
RP Rich Yett (22-24, 2 saves, 1985-90)
RP Rafael Vasquez (1-0 in nine games with ’79 SEA)
RP Jim Gideon (1 5.2 IP start for 1975 TEX, ND)

Half Past Blyleven? … Nobody traded for or with Blyleven has yet managed in the big leagues, though Roy Smalley’s uncle was Gene Mauch, and stalwart bench outfielder Grieve served a turn as a big league general manager … Bert himself heads up the rotation of course, and with Matlack and Singer following him, that’s a really fine front three …

Boggs was 12-9 with the '80 Braves, but just 8-35 in his other seven seasons combined ... Owchinko's career 4.28 ERA is the worst in this rotation -- that would make him a star these days! -- and he's the sole lefty starter (actually he’s the only southpaw on the entire pitching staff!) ... Blue Jay fans will recall Singer, a two-time 20-game winner, as the starting pitcher in the first game in Jay franchise history … Matlack was an integral part of the famous 1977 four-team trade (Mets, Rangers, Pirates, Braves) which ultimately makes this team even possible …

Cruz had seven wins and nine saves for the 1978 sophomore Jays, then back-to-back double-digit save seasons for the 1979-80 Indians, but not much after that, and was out of baseball at 25 with those 37 career saves to sustain him … The BeHomes’ single-season save leader was actually Devine, who had 15 for the 1977 Rangers … The one pitcher included in a Blyleven deal who didn’t make the BeHomes roster is Mike Cook, who was 1-6, 5.55 over parts of 1986-93 …

Montanez was a solid big league player who was a primary cog in deals for two different Hall of Fame pitchers – Gaylord Perry, and of course, Blyleven , as well as in other deals for a near-HOF corner IF in Darrell Evans and a Gold Glove CF in Garry Maddox … Come to think of it, Montanez might spur his own traded-for-amd-with roster; that might bear taking a look …

The roster isn’t packed with big power names, but certainly carries some punch – that collection of medium-pop guys accounted for more than 1300 career home runs … Alexander hit nearly half of his career homers (27 of the 55) for the 1978 Giants … Similarly, Grieve swatted 34 of his 65 career homers for the 1974-75 Rangers … For those keeping score at home, Tom was out-homered by his MLB progeny Ben, nearly two-to-one (118-65) …

Thompson died of leukemia at the Mayo Clinic in December of 1976, at the age of 29, just nine weeks after his final big league appearance …

Trades involving Bert Blyleven

So Bauxites, what other trade magnets can compile full rosters (or at least close to it) that could even compete with this one? The challenge is set before you!