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Articles by Steven Goldman

Steven Goldman is a columnist for Vice Sports. He was formerly the editor-in-chief of Baseball Prospectus and the managing editor for baseball at SBNation.com. In the former capacity he edited and co-wrote the books Mind GameIt Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over, Extra Innings: More Baseball Between the Numbers, and the 2006 through 2011 editions of the New York Times-bestselling Baseball Prospectus annual. He’s also the author of Forging Genius: The Making of Casey Stengel on the early career of the Hall of Fame manager. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children.

 
Historian's Corner

The Greatest Hits of Baseball’s Bad Trade Band,
1910–2010, Volume IV

December 3, 1969: The Mets traded OF Amos Otis and RHP Bob Johnson to the Kansas City Royals for 3B Joe Foy.

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Historian's Corner

The Greatest Hits of Baseball’s Bad Trade Band,
1910–2010, Volume III

December 8, 1914: The Philadelphia Athletics sold 2B Eddie Collins to the Chicago White Sox for $50,000.

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Historian's Corner

The Greatest Hits of Baseball’s Bad Trade Band,
1910–2010, Volume II

December 8, 1966: The New York Yankees traded OF Roger Maris to the St. Louis Cardinals for 3B Charley Smith.

Charley Smith was a career .239/.279/.370 hitter, so if you didn’t know that the player the Yankees were giving up was vastly degraded from his peak, you’d be puzzled as to why the single-season home-run leader, a two-time MVP, had brought so little in return. As such, this trade represents not just an ill-judged swap, but the culmination of a series of bad decisions.

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Historian's Corner

The Greatest Hits of Baseball’s Bad Trade Band,
1910–2010, Volume I

Almost every band with a career lasting more than 30 seconds will at some point release a greatest hits compilation. Even bands that had not hits but hit, singular, will often scrape together enough tracks to justify an anthology, even if the plural of the title lies somewhere between a misnomer and false advertising. Conversely, if they have enough legitimate or semilegitimate hits for more than one collection they will add additional volumes. Queen lists Volumes I, II, and III in their discography, as do Billy Joel and Elton John.  

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Historian's Corner

No One Is Looking for the Next Rudy Law

Ten years ago, I was speaking with a colleague about Yankees outfield prospect Brett Gardner, whom I had just interviewed at Double-A Trenton. Having seen Gardner’s speed and patience in action, I was excited to see him climb the ladder to the Major Leagues. My colleague, who was an excellent judge of horseflesh (who would eventually be employed in a talent-evaluating capacity by a Major League team), told me to temper my expectations. “Right now, he looks like the next Rudy Law,” he said. “And no one is looking for the next Rudy Law.”

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Historian's Corner

Forgiving Bob Lemon (and Everybody Else)

“You do the best you can. That’s it.”

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Historian's Corner

Relievers Eat Everything

When I was very young, one of the so-called children’s stories I found deeply disturbing was “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde. It’s the story of a haunted but charity-minded statue that coaxes a swallow to gradually strip off its jewels and gilded leaves to aid the sad and impoverished residents of the city around it.

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Historian's Corner

Don Mattingly, Martyr to the Unserious

Q: What is the purpose of a baseball team?

A: Let’s not be naïve: to make money.

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Historian's Corner

The Twice-Missing Cubans

It is to be hoped that eventually even the most reactionary opponents of integration came to see, as African-American players entered the Majors in increasing numbers after 1947, that baseball that was open to the best talent, as opposed to the best white talent, was better baseball. This is as distinct from issues of fairness and morality. In their conformity to postbellum prejudices, the owners called into question for posterity all preintegration accomplishments. Babe Ruth’s home runs were hit against an intentionally castrated opposition.

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