This past Monday, is an anniversary of one such trade. One that helped one team short term and other, long term.
|1986 ProCards Lakeland Tigers|
In August of 1987, the Detroit Tigers were in a tight pennant chase with Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers. They picked up veteran starter Doyle Alexander from the Atlanta Braves for minor leaguer pitcher John Smoltz.
Alexander was nothing short of brilliant after the trade for '87 Tigers. He went 9-0 in 11 starts with an ERA of 1.53 and helped the team when the division title. Alexander went on to pitch two more seasons for Detroit before retiring from the game.
Meanwhile, Smoltz made his major league debut in 1988 and later became a key member of Atlanta's run of 14 consecutive division titles, five National League pennants and one World Series championship. Individually, Smoltz made eight All Star teams, won a Cy Young award and is the only pitcher in MLB history with 200 or more wins and 150 saves in a career.
Who knows what kind of career Smoltz would have had if he stayed in the Tigers' organization. Probably not as accomplished as it turned out. Regardless, this trade is considered one of the biggest trades in MLB history.
As for the card itself, This is Smoltz's first professional card. It was released only as a set of the Lakeland Tigers ballclub by Procards. Procards manufactured many of the minor league team sets of the 1980s.