Ah, 1990. Times were very different then. Ken Griffey Jr. played for the Seattle Mariners. The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live were on the air. And Congress passed a bill in response to an unprecedented oil spill.
But even if that all seems familiar, the trade deadline of 1990 certainly won't. The action came later in the season, with most of the biggest trades actually taking place in August. Let's meet at the corner of Transaction Avenue and Memory Lane…
- The Boston Red Sox, keen on acquiring a first baseman, grabbed Mike Marshall from the Mets on July 27 for three minor leaguers, headlined by Greg Hansell. Marshall was actually pretty effective for Boston, with a .464 slugging percentage in 117 plate appearances, though he was near the end of his career.
- An August 3 deal between the Braves and Phillies had hidden implications. The immediate deal? Dale Murphy for Jeff Parrett. Both teams also included players to be named later. Atlanta got Jim Vatcher and Victor Rosario. Philadelphia got Tommy Greene, who posted a 3.66 ERA from 1991-93 and and pitched a no-hitter in 1991.
- In a Doyle Alexander-for-John Smoltz-like trade, the Pirates acquired Zane Smith from the Expos for Willie Greene, Scott Ruskin and a player to be named later. At first, the deal seemed one-sided, as Smith went 6-2 with a 1.30 ERA for Pittsburgh as the Pirates won the NL East. However, the PTBNL turned out to be… Moises Alou.
- The Athletics, en route to a World Series appearance, made a pair of interesting moves just before postseason rosters could be set. On August 29, they acquired Harold Baines from the Texas Rangers for Joe Bitker and Scott Chiamparino. The same day, they traded top prospect Felix Jose, Stan Royer and Daryl Green to the Cardinals for Willie McGee. The move froze McGee's National League batting average at .335- he'd go on to win the batting title in absentia. Good thing, too- his .274 mark with Oakland brought his season line down to .324, meaning under today's rules, which combine NL and AL totals, he'd have finished behind Eddie Murray (.330), Dave Magadan (.328) and Lenny Dykstra (.325).
- And the Houston Astros, on August 31, made a blockbuster move, trading longtime second baseman Bill Doran to the eventual World Champion Cincinnati Reds for Terry McGriff, Keith Kaiser and Butch Henry. Oh, and also, they made a throwaway trade, dealing reliever Larry Andersen to the Boston Red Sox for so-so prospect Jeff Bagwell.