Mail 3’s Biggest (But Not Always the Brightest) Trades


By Ethan Conner-Ross and Marc Ross


Over the years many APBA managers have told us that for them trading and drafting are the most exciting part of league participation. While these managers report that playing the games is fine, it’s wheeling and dealing that really turns them on. With that in mind we decided to look back at Mail 3 trades over the past 12 seasons and report our assessment of how managers did in twenty of the league’s biggest deals. By biggest we mean deals that involved stars at the time they were traded—or ones who turned out to be superstars later. (Remember that when George W. Bush’s Texas Rangers traded Sammy Sosa he just looked liked another five tool Latin ballplayer who might or not make it).

First, a little background on Mail 3 trades. As you can see from the table below, way back in the last decade of the last millenium, trading was far less common and in addition, the proportion of trades involving draft picks was smaller than today. By the middle of the decade, trading and trading of picks increased significantly. However, it has been in the last three years that Mail 3 trading has reached its highest level. We see two possible explanations at work here: one is the rise of email has allowed managers to communicate more easily with each other. The other is Woody. We won’t select among these two but will let each manager reach his own conclusion.




























Below we list the trades by year. In cases where the trades involved draft picks, we include the player eventually selected with that pick in parentheses although in a number of cases the pick was traded at least one more time so that the player selected did not necessarily go to the team who first received him in the trade that is listed.

1.                  Warren sends Von Hayes and Jon Olerud to Pinawa for Rob Deer, Pete Incaviglia and Willie Randolph (1991).


Rob Deer provided Warren with 54 homers over 3 seasons but the rookie Olerud would prove a key part of Pinawa’s 1993 World Series title as the Brookfield Black Hawks, leading the league in on base and delivering 56 doubles from the three hole in the lineup.


2.                  Warren sends Joe Carter to Winnipeg for Bobby Bonilla and Luis Rivera (1992).


This swap of two of the game’s premier power hitters at the time proved somewhat of a disappointment for both teams, as Bonilla’s average dipped below .200 in his second season with Warren while Carter moved along to River City after just one year with Winnipeg, where he delivered 141 homers in 4 seasons.


3.                  Lake Kiowa sends Gary Sheffield to Cary for Larry Walker (1993).


Another swap of preeminent offensive talents, neither has disappointed ownership since.  Walker has posted some of the greatest seasons in Mail 3 history as a member of Seine River and South End teams, while Sheffield has hit in the middle of the Cary lineup ever since.


4.                  Warren sends Kevin Brown and Warren’s 1994 2RDC (Brad Ausmus) to Decatur for Mark Langston and Ivan Rodriguez (1993).


A classic pitching for offense deal netted Decatur Kevin Brown, who has fronted the rotation ever since, winning the league Cy Young in 1997 with 27 wins and winning the World Series MVP in 1996.  Pudge meanwhile has gone on to a fine career primarily with Waterloo, who acquired him a subsequent deal for Mickey Tettleton.


1.                  Decatur sends Kevin Tapani and Mo Vaughn to Warren for Mark Langston and Jeff Montgomery (1994).


Langston was traded back to Decatur again in another premier deal with closer Jeff Montgomery in 1994.  Tapani would go on to produce solid years for Warren but the key was Vaughn, who developed into a top offensive force in the mid 90s.


2.                  Brightstone sends Brightstone’s 1996 1RDC (Jim Edmonds) and 1996 6RDC (Antonio Osuna) to Brookfield for Pedro Martinez, Bret Saberhagen, Trevor Wilson, Tim Pugh, Brookfield’s 1997 5RDC (Billy Spiers) and Brightstone’s 1996 9RDC (Jeff Tabaka) (1996).


Getting Pedro Martinez was a terrific move even if the draft pick no matter what. Getting other players of mixed value along with him was even better. No matter that the pick he dealt turn out to be xxx. The real problem here is the Brightstone didn’t keep Pedro and send him on the Warren just when he was getting good—really good. Edmonds pick traded to Emmett (#3 pick overall). Spiers pick traded to Bryn Mawr.


3.                  Cary sends Greg Maddux, Darren Daulton and Cary’s 1997 3RDC (Matt Lawton) to Bryn Mawr for Mike Piazza, Ricky Bones and Lou Whitaker (1996).


Hitting rich with Bagwell, Alou and a young A-Rod in the middle of the lineup, Bryn Mawr dealt away offensive star Piazza for the game’s best pitcher, Greg Maddux.  Piazza has complemented Gary Sheffield in the middle of the Cary lineup since, but Bryn Mawr got the ace starter it craved, with Maddux winning 6 playoff games on his way to the World Series MVP award that year.  Maddux would win 115 games in six years in a Topper uniform making him winningest all-time Hilltopper pitcher. Lawton pick traded to River City.


4.                  Bryn Mawr sends Jim Thome and Bret Boone to Morse Place for Chuck Knoblauch and Antonio Osuna (1998).


Jim Thome’s move across the diamond to first conflicted with the presence of Jeff Bagwell, leading to a trade for one of the game’s premier second baseman.  Knoblauch proceeded to play himself out of the infield and eventually the majors, while Bret Boone developed a power stroke and Jim Thome continued to be one of the top offensive forces in the game well into his 30s. Gotta see this as one of the worst deals we came across considering the value that Thome and Boone could have brought within a few years


5.                  Michigan sends Todd Zeile, Mike Lieberthal, Willie Blair and Darrin Oliver to Brightstone for Jason Giambi, Waterloo’s 1998 1RDC (Todd Helton), Cary’s 1998 2RDC (Fernando Tatis), Brightstone’s 1998 3RDC (Manny Aybar) and Brightstone’s 1999 2RDC (Geoff Jenkins) (1998).


Michigan gave away four players of varying ability to get what turned out to be two superstars in Giambi and Helton and three other players. The huge mistake that Michigan made here is that having both Giambi and Helton, Michigan decided to trade the older player which was fine. But Giambi was shipped off to South End along with Eric Milton for a draft pick that turned out to be Ronnie Belliard when Eagle Rock pick him 17th the next year. South End never looked back and won tghree straight titles with Giambi in the center of its lineup. Brightstone, needless to say, did badly in this deal as they badly underestimated what Giambi and the picks could have brought the team.


6.                  San Marino sends San Marino’s 1998 1RDC (Nomar Garciaparra) and Michigan’s 1998 2RDC (Tony Graffanino) to Michigan for Michigan’s 1999 1RDC, Morse Place’s 1998 2RDC (Juan Encarnacion), Morse Place’s 1998 3RDC (Glendon Rusch), Brightstone’s 1999 2RDC (Geoff Jenkins) and Ruben Rivera (1998).


Here was a huge deal involving top draft picks—one of the first of its kind we found. San Marino liked Edgar Renteria who they had taken the year before and Michigan salivated over the chance to take Nomar Garciaparra with the San Marino pick, the first one in the draft. For a while San Marino was torn about what to do and decided to see what he could get for Renteria. Columbus offered Sammy Sosa but San Marino held out for Juan Gonzalez thinking that Sammy was over the hill already. The next year Michigan’s top pick turned out to be less valuable than San Marino had thought it would be and it netted Adrian Beltre who was taken along with Juan Encarncion and… So the deal worked out to be Garciaparra and Tony Graffanino for Beltre, Encarnacion, Glendon Rusch and Geoff Jenkins. Another competitor for the worst deal we uncovered.



7.                  Memphis sends Jim Edmonds, Tony Gwynn, Matt Stairs and Memphis’ 1999 4RDC (Jim Mecir) to Morse Place for John Wetteland, John Valentin, Darryl Hamilton, Matt Lawton, Morse Place’s 2000 2RDC (Mike Lowell) and Overbrook’s 2000 3RDC (Kevin McGlinchy) (1999).


Memphis unloaded an outfield. Gwynn was nearing the end of his career but Edmonds still had some good years left. Other than Mike Lowell who turned out to be an excellent 2RDC, Memphis disn’t get much lasting value back. Morse Place did well in this deal but failed to keep Edmonds either.


8.                  Eagle Rock sends John Smoltz and Ryan Klesko to San Marino for Ray Durham, Javier Vazquez, Preston Wilson, Jay Powell and San Marino’s 2000 2RDC (Gookie Dawkins) (2000).


Needing a top-flight starter for a playoff run, the Sting targeted Smoltz, the most attractive player inherited by Woody Studenmund from the Dunwoody roster.  The package of young talent speaks for itself, though none would and extended amount of time on the Eagle Rock roster.  Smoltz, meanwhile, blew out his elbow the next week but has since returned as a closer.


9.                  Eagle Rock sends Ray Durham, David Segui, Brian Moehler, Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Steve Kline to Morse Place for Jim Edmonds, Tony Gwynn, Morse Place’s 2001 (Mark Redman) 1RDC and 2000 4RDC (Ramon Hernandez) (2000).


Edmonds moved on to Eagle Rock and their management showed unusal patience in waiting until Edmunds got heathy and was able to contribute to the team’s success the last two years. Redmond wound up being picked by Decatur and Hernandez was traded to Decatur as well.


10.              Millstone sends Pedro Martinez to Eagle Rock for Mike Cameron, Ron Belliard, Toronto’s 2001 1RDC (Benji Molina), Waterloo’s 2001 2RDC (Derrek Lee), Millstone’s 2001 3RDC (Jimmy Anderson), Michigan’s 2001 3RDC (John Burkett), South End’s 2001 3RDC (Curtis Leskanic), Michigan’s 2002 2RDC (Jay Gibbons) and Eagle Rock’s 2002 2RDC (Joe Kennedy) (2001).


Trading Pedro at this point in his career netted Millstone a ton of picks and his string of A’s have kept Eagle Rock at the top of the league. As best we can determine they turned out to be a mixed bag and not all of them ever played for the Waterboys. To date, Derrek Lee is the best player Millstone selected and to date, Eagle Rock seems to have gotten the best of this trade.



11.              River City sends Randy Johnson, Todd Hundley and Roberto Hernandez to Eagle Rock for Travis Dawkins, Mike Darr, Brian Rose, Wicki Gonzalez, Bryn Mawr’s 2001 1RDC (Britt Rheames), Belknap’s 2001 2RDC (Adam Piatt), Michigan’s 2001 2RDC (Jay Payton), Waterloo’s 2001 3RDC (Dan Reichert) and Durham’s 2001 3RDC (Brian Tollberg) (2001).


Here is another trade in which Eagle Rock got a top notch pitcher for a ton of bodies and picks. Johnson, like Martinez, continues to get A’s and the two of them have kept Eagle Rock at the top of the league for the last few years. So far there is nothing of real value that River City got in return. Dawkins, Darr and Rose have just had cups of coffee in the majors and Payton was picked by Millstone and never played for River City.


12.              Eagle Rock sends Derek Jeter and Todd Hundley to New York for Miguel Tejada, Kevin Millwood and Jason Kendall (2001).


New York got a fine player in Jeter but Tejeda is probably the better offensive player and he is younger. Of course Tejeda was still a bit of a prospect and Millwood and Kendall were hurt at the time so despite the high price New York paid for a favorite player, it looked like a pretty good swap at the time for both sides.



13.              Belknap sends Rafael Furcal and Belknap’s 2002 1RDC (Corey Patterson) to Raleigh for Mark Buehrle and Jason Bere (2002).


Furcal had been a top pick the year before but Belknap wanted pitching. Buehrle has had a fine start for his career although some scouts think he can’t keep it up. Bere is probably done but Furcal has come back in 2004 to post outstanding numbers so far and he just might provide Raleigh with a fine shortstop and leadoff hitter for a decade or so. Corey Patterson is a young budding star and his inclusion in the deal made it costly to Belknap indeed.


14.              Waterloo sends Curt Schilling and Waterloo’s 2002 1RDC (Alfonso Soriano) to San Marino for Darin Erstad, Odalis Perez, San Marino’s 2002 1RDC (Ben Sheets), Durham’s 2002 2RDC (Cesar Izturis) and Cary’s 2002 2RDC (Nate Cornejo) (2002).


Waterloo decided to rebuild so he sent Schilling and his first pick to San Marino for younger players—Erstad and Perez who soon had a breakout season and three good picks that he used to pick xxxx. San Marino took Alfonso Soriano with the Waterloo pick


15.              Osborne sends Miguel Tejada, Jose Canseco, Chris Carpenter, Michael Barrett and David Bell to South End for Magglio Ordonez, Alex Cora, Joe Girardi, Rob Bell, Shane Reynolds, South End’s 2002 1RDC (Dennys Baez) and 2002 2RDC (Doug Mientkiewicz), Osborne’s 2002 2RDC (D’Angelo Jiminez) and South End’s 2003 2RDC (Miguel Olivo) (2002).


This is an interesting deal. South End really wanted a top-notch shortstop and had excess outfield talent and picks. Ordonez is a top line outfielder and the first and three second round picks brought a good deal of potential to Osborne. If Baez and Jimenez put up some good years and if Ordonez since traded to Bryn Mawr yielded real value then it could be deal that wound up a benefiting both teams.


16.              Bryn Mawr, Osborne, San Marino and South End completed a 4 way deal (2003).


Bryn Mawr sends A.J. Burnett, Bryn Mawr’s 2003 1RDC and Brad Radke and received Magglio Ordonez, Billy Koch and San Marino’s 2003 4RDC (Nick Neugenbauer).


Osborne sends Magglio Ordonez, Frank Thomas, Mark Loretta and Grant Roberts and received A.J. Burnett, Brad Radke, Sean Casey, Juan Encarnacion, San Marino’s 2003 2RDC (Mike Cuddyer) and South End’s 2003 4RDC (Kirk Saarloos).


San Marino sends Kerry Wood, Russ Ortiz, Sean Casey, Billy Koch, Juan Encarnacion, San Marino’s 2003 2RDC, 2003 4RDC, 2003 6RDC and 2003 7RDC and received Chipper Jones, Frank Thomas, Grant Roberts, Mark Loretta and Bryn Mawr’s 2003 1RDC (Jake Peavy).


South End sends Chipper Jones and South End’s 2003 4RDC and received Kerry Wood, Russ Ortiz, San Marino’s 2003 6RDC (Ramon Santiago) and 2003 7RDC (Ben Broussard).


By far the largest trade in league history involving four teams 18 players and picks!!! This trade involved some huge starts—Ordonez, Chipper Jones, and Kerry Wood and some picks that produced Brett Myers and some other potential stars. To early to decide how it turned out.