Chicago Cubs: Looking back at impact offseason trades

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Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

January 7, 1982: The Cubs got Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa from the Philadelphia Phillies for Ivan de Jesus.

The crazy part of this deal: Larry Bowa was the centerpiece for the Cubs.

The Phillies had been unable to sign Bowa to a long-term deal. So they were looking to move their shortstop and found a willing partner in the Cubs, who coveted Bowa’s glove and leadership. The Cubs’ Ivan de Jesus was a good hitter for a shortstop, and the Phillies were excited about their return.

However, Cubs GM, Dallas Green, insisted on a prospect however and knew of Sandberg from his own days with Phillies. The Phillies’ scouts saw Sandberg as nothing more than a utility infielder, so the teams came to a deal.

The rest of this story needs little iteration: Sandberg found a home at second base, played in 10 All-Star games, won nine Gold Gloves, an MVP award, hit a then-record number of home runs for a second baseman (282, later surpassed by Jeff Kent) and was a first-ballot Hall of Fame-er.

De Jesus helped the Phillies get to the 1983 World Series, but ultimately dropped into obscurity… certainly without matching the numbers of Sandberg.

Next: One to stick it to the Cardinals