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The Baseball Trade Deadline: What If It Were Today?

MLB’s non-waiver trade deadline is July 31, about six weeks from now. By then, many teams will have fallen out of contention and trades of significant players to those still aiming for the postseason will happen.

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But did you know until the late 1980’s, today’s date — June 15 — was the non-waiver trade deadline? Perhaps the most famous of June 15 deals was the Cubs’ Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio trade; we all know how that worked out, but the consensus at the time was that the Cubs had ripped off St. Louis, since the 27-year-old Broglio had gone 18-8, 2.99 with the Cardinals in 1963.

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Broglio hurt his arm and won only seven games in a Cubs uniform and Brock went to the Hall of Fame.

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The Cubs made out better with their June 15, 1984 acquisition of Rick Sutcliffe (and others) for Joe Carter (and others) from the Indians. Though it would have been nice to have Carter’s 398 future HR in left field for the Cubs for the next 14 seasons, the Cubs would not have won the NL East in 1984 without Sutcliffe.

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And what of the White Sox? DId they make any significant June 15 trades, either good or bad? Not really, but one they made on June 15, 1976 stands out for a unique reason. On that date the Sox sent backup catcher Pete Varney (one of only 15 Harvard men to ever play in the major leagues) to the Braves for Johnny “Blue Moon” Odom, who had been a key part of some of the A’s playoff teams in the early ’70s, but by ’76 was playing out the string with a bad arm.

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Odom pitched in only eight games for the Sox, four in relief and four starts. One of those starts was memorable. On July 28, 1976, Odom and Francisco Barrios combined on one of the wackiest no-hitters in baseball history, oddly enough, against Odom’s old team, the A’s.

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Odom gave up no hits through five innings, but issued eight walks and allowed an unearned run to tie the game. When he walked former Cub Billy Williams to lead off the sixth for his ninth free pass of the game, manager Paul Richards yanked him.

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Barrios finished the game, allowing no hits (but two more walks) in four innings. The 11 walks are the most ever in a no-hit game. The Sox won the game 2-1.