Wednesday, January 25, 2006

 
January 25th, 1965

Brian Holman Born

When trades involving minor leaguers are discussed, they tend to be simplified as the major leaguer who was traded for the minor leaguer who eventually became a star. Sometimes this is valid; John Smoltz really was traded for Doyle Alexander and just Doyle Alexander, but more often its not. David Cone wasn’t traded for Ed Hearn, he was traded—along with Chris Jelic—for Ed Hearn, Rick Anderson and Mauro Gozzo, and despite what Annie Savoy thinks, Frank Robinson wasn’t just traded for Milt Pappas, Cincinnati also got Jack Baldschun and Dick Simpson in the deal.

The point of all this is that everyone remembers the Expos traded Randy Johnson for Mark Langston. But, of course, there’s more to it than that. The Expos traded Johnson, Gene Harris and Brian Holman to the Mariners in exchange for Langston and Mike Campbell. What is often overlooked by history is that at the time, the Mariners held out on making the deal until they received Harris. Johnson was a throw-in, a flamethrower whose walk and strikeout rates in the minors brought to mind another Bull Durham character, “Nuke” LaLoosh. Harris never panned out but Homan had success initially in Seattle—including coming within one out of a perfect game, broken up by Ken Phelps of all people—but his career ended after rotator cuff surgery in 1991. It was not until 1993 when Johnson nearly halved his walk rate of the year before when it finally became clear that Seattle had “won” the trade and done so because of The Big Unit. When that happened, Brian Holman, like Mauro Gozzo and Jack Baldschun before him, was lost to the ages.




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