Wednesday, September 10, 2008
#734 Craig Lefferts
Why this card is awesome: Because, hey check it out, here is a Giant who was traded to the Giants during 1987 and yet is pictured in an actual Giants jersey, instead of an airbrushed one (like Kevin Mitchell, Dave Dravecky, Dave Henderson, etc.)
Also, a couple of years ago, I assembled a pretty cool trade tree for the Padres. I can't figure out how to upload a high-enough resolution image, so you'll just have to imagine it. But Craig Lefferts appears twice in the same tree.
Anyway, it goes something like this: The Padres drafted Gary Lucas in 1976, and between the '79 and '80 seasons traded him for Al Newman, Fritzie Connally, Carmelo Martinez, and Lefferts. Lefferts was traded before the '87 season to the Giants with Kevin Mitchell and Dave Dravecky (hence the airbrushing in this set) for Chris Brown, Keith Comstock, Mark Davis, and Mark Grant. Chris Brown and Keith Moreland were traded the next year for Walt Terrell. Moreland had been acquired in 1985 with Mike Brumley for Rich Gossage and Ray Hayward. Brumley was traded in 1988 for Luis Salazar. Shortly thereafter, Salazar was packaged with Marvelle Wynne to acquire Calvin Schiraldi, Darrin Jackson, and Phil Stephenson. In 1991, Jackson was flipped for Derek Bell.
Now here's where it gets interesting. In 1993, Bell was packaged as part of a huge trade. Most of you probably remember it. The Padres sent Bell, Ricky Gutierrez, Phil Plantier, Pedro Martinez (not that one), Craig Shipley, and Doug Brocail to the Astros in exchange for Andujar Cedeno, Ken Caminiti, Roberto Petagine, Steve Finley, and Brian Williams. What's fascinating is that the Padres originally obtained Gutierrez from the Orioles in a 1991 trade along with Erik Schullstrom in exchange for...wait for it....wait for it....Craig Lefferts! Lefferts had been re-signed by the Padres as a free agent in 1989.
So the same guy appears in a single trade tree twice, which is pretty unusual.
Cool stat: It's easy to see why Lefferts was so highly desired in the first half of his career. From 1983 to 1990, he had one of the best ERA+ among relief pitchers with at least 500 IP. Most of the guys ahead of him were dominant closers, too.