History’s Most Lopsided Trades, As Renegotiated By Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane.
BY Teddy Wayne
Original Trade: Boston Red Sox trade Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $125,000 (1920).
Beane Trade: Red Sox also acquire rights to high-school star Lou Gehrig, California kindergartner Joe DiMaggio, and unborn son of semipro player and zinc miner Mutt Mantle; as part of three-way deal, the word “curse” is expunged from the Oxford English Dictionary.
Original Trade: Native Americans trade Manhattan to Dutch for $24 worth of wampum beads (1620).
Beane Trade: Native Americans retain property rights to areas that will eventually become Greenwich Village and Soho, and receive two islands to be named later (Curacao and Saint Martin).
Original Trade: Billy Hutchinson trades triangulated and crustless PB&J sandwich and Capri Sun Orange Burst to Georgie Stepman for one Oreo (1992).
Beane Trade: PB&J remains crustless but is no longer triangulated; Hutchinson relinquishes only the Capri Sun backwash; he receives first-round dessert picks for Wednesday and Thursday lunches, as well as compensatory pick of that day’s nap rug; and the Oreo is upgraded to Double Stuf.
Original Trade: Ghana trades gold to Morocco for equal weight in salt (seventh-14th centuries).
Beane Trade: Ghana receives full 20-jar revolving spice rack.
Original Trade: Paul Thompson trades Baltic Ave. and Mediterranean Ave. to his older brother for a one-time “safety” on Boardwalk (2005).
Beane Trade: Paul accepts $4,000 (to be paid out in $500 bills); his choice of the racecar or thimble in the next game; one week of “safeties” from unprovoked noogies and dead arms; and guarantee of second place in upcoming beauty contest.
Original Trade: John Lurie’s character exchanges his jacket for Tom Waits’s character’s jacket at the end of Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law (1986).
Beane Trade: Lurie obtains Waits’s riches, fame, whiskey-soaked charisma, and invitations to act in future Jarmusch films.
Original Trade: U.S. trades arms to Iran in return for unsuccessful release of hostages, black eye of Iran-Contra affair, and future threat of nuclear attack from one of the Axes of Evil (1986).
Beane Trade: Ayatollah Khomeini releases hostages; decides to fund Nicaraguan Contras himself without any illegal American involvement; and inspires the next generation of Iranians to worship Coca-Cola and, through an unprecedented 14-year contract, NBC’s Thursday-night primetime schedule (with an option in the 15th year for several blue-chip prospects from General Electric’s nuclear-weapons arsenal).
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