Ranking the 5 biggest stars the Cubs traded away over the years

(Photo by SPX/Ron Vesely Photography via Getty Images)
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(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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Cubs: Looking at some honorable mention candidates

As the Cubs first (OK, only) World Series dynasty began to fray at the edges, owner Charles Murphy started flinging toys out of the pram, trading two-thirds of the legendary double play combination (the other third, Frank Chance, was waived at the end of the 1912 season). First to be traded was SS Joe Tinker (46.6) after the 1912 season to the Cincinnati Reds for five guys (no, not the hamburger people), only one of whom would make a significant impact with the Cubs: aging righty Bert Humphries.

Tinker would return to the Cubs after jumping to the Chicago Whales of the Federal League. He was one of several players the Cubs bought from the Whales when they went belly up. I’m in town all week folks, try the plankton.

Next to go was 2B Johnny Evers (41.0), traded to the Boston Braves after the 1913 season. Evers had a vitriolic fight with Murphy, claiming that Murphy had breached a five-year contract they had signed at the beginning of the 1913 season, and refused to report.

The trade had the aroma of retaliation. The Braves were a joke of a franchise; their last winning season had been in 1902. But with the looming threat of the new Federal League, star players had power, and Evers used it. Fearing he would jump to the new league, the National League owners nullified the trade, effectively making Evers a free agent. Consequently, and predictably, he became baseball’s highest paid player in 1914, giving owners an object lesson in the dangers of free agency. More surprisingly, he went ahead and signed with the Braves.

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And from here, the story goes all Frank Capra on us. Named captain of the team, the aging Evers spearheaded one of the most unlikely pennant drives in baseball history, leading the “Miracle Braves” to the franchise’s first World Series victory. Evers was named NL MVP in just the award’s third season of existence. The numbers don’t quite back it up, but only the coldest of sabermetric hearts could have advocated for any other result.