This day in baseball history

On April 4, 1960, the Washington Senators traded Roy Sievers to the Chicago White Sox for Earl Battey, Don Mincher, and $150,000. It was one of the saddest days in my life up to that point.
Sievers had been the face of baseball in Washington during my three years as a fan. More than that, he was one of the very best sluggers in baseball. In 1957, he led the American League in home runs and RBIs. The following year, he was third in both categories. Sievers slipped in 1959, but to this 10 year-old it seemed like a random off-year, not the sign that, at age 33, he was starting to lose it.
I was also dismayed by what the Senators got in return — a back-up catcher who had hit .219 in 1959 and a minor leaguer I had never heard of.
My friend next door invited me over to commiserate. He had pulled together all of his Sievers baseball cards and other memorabilia to construct a sort of Sievers shrine. Decades later, John Hinderaker would wonder whether I was attempting to put Power Line to the same use.
The trade ended up being a great one for the Senators (who would soon become the Minnesota Twins). Sievers had two good years and one decent year left. But by 1965, he would be finished, after just 21 at-bats for the new Washington franchise. That year, Battey and Mincher were key figures in Minnesota’s pennant winning season.
From the White Sox’s perspective, as I’ve discussed before, the Sievers deal was part of a series of trades through which the club hoped to defend its American League crown by adding power. In addition to acquiring Sievers, Chicago also brought in Minnie Minoso and Gene Freese. In the process, they let go not just Battey and Mincher, but also John Romano, Norm Cash, and Johnny Callison.
The White Sox won more games in 1960 than they had the previous year, but they fell to third place. And I believe that by trading away so many good prospects, they probably cost themselves at least one pennant in the years that followed.


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