Thursday, November 10, 2005
Yankees Trade Sparky Lyle
This was part of a larger trade as the Yankees sent Lyle and four other players to the Rangers for five players, most notably Dave Righetti. This is also the trade that inspired Graig Nettles' line that Lyle had gone from Cy Young to sayonara in one year. In 1977 Lyle was indeed the Cy Young winner, as went 13-5, with twenty-six saves with a 2.17 ERA. However, in the 1977 the Yankees signed Rich "Goose" Gossage as a free agent. Gossage had been even more effective than Lyle in 1977, also saving twenty-six games but doing so with a 1.62 ERA.
Despite having big shoes to fill, Gossage stepped in as the Yankee closer and was again excellent, saving twenty-seven games, winning ten more and posting a 2.01 ERA, while Lyle slumped to a 3.47 ERA, just better than league average. Feeling that the best years of the now thirty-three year old Lyle's career were behind him, he was deemed expandable and sent to
As it turned out, the Yankees were correct and Lyle never again came close to his 1977 form again and retired after the 1982 season. Gossage was still closing for the Yankees then, and would do so for another year until being replaced in 1984 by the very man his predecessor had been traded for, Dave Righetti.