March 14, 1991: Los Angeles Angels trade Dante Bichette for Dave Parker.
In what Angels fans old enough to remember are prone to call the worst trade in franchise history, twenty-nine years ago today, the Halos traded away a young outfielder named Dante Bichette to Milwaukee in exchange for 39-year-old Dave Parker.
The Angels were looking for a left-handed bat with power to balance a lineup that included outfielder Dave Winfield, who was acquired the previous season in a move that stunted the development of Bichette. The future All-Star was starting to come into his own before losing plate appearances to the established Winfield.
In fairness to the Angels, it took a few years for Bichette to find his full stride. He batted only .238 in his first season with the Brewers, and his slugging percentage dropped 40 points from his final campaign in Anaheim. It wasn’t until he found the friendly air of the rockies that his offensive game really took off.
Bichette joined the Rockies for their inaugural season in 1993, reuniting with his former hitting coach, Don Baylor, who had been named the franchise’s first manager. Bichette would became one of the most prominent players in Colorado Rockies history. He made four All-Star teams, won a Silver Slugger award, and nearly won the Triple Crown in 1995 when he led the league in home runs (40), RBIs (128), and finished third in batting (.340).
Dave Parker was coming off an All-Star season with the Brewers, but his advanced age finally caught up to him after being traded to the Angels. Playing as the designated hitter, Parker batted .232 and hit 11 home runs over 119 games in 1991, before being released and signing with the Blue Jays, failing to finish one full season with the team that had traded away one of their most promising young players to acquire him.
Hopefully the Angels have learned their lesson about mortgaging the future for immediate needs.