The Phillies’ five-for-one trade for Von Hayes in 1982, was it a good or bad one?

May 18th, 2014 by Kyle Lutz | Filed under Baseball, General, Phillies.

Many Philadelphia fans, sports analysts, and writers, that were around over 30 years ago, remember the “five-for-one” trade involving future-Phillie Von Hayes. Hayes was originally drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the seventh round of the 1979 MLB amateur draft as an infielder. He split his time primarily, throughout his career, playing the infield and outfield; within numerous positions there, as well as a designated hitter.

Hayes spent a total of nine years with Philadelphia, hitting .272/.363/.427/.789 with 124 home-runs, 568 RBIs, and 202 stolen bases. He made the 1989 NL All-Star team at center field; the lone All-Star-Game appearance in his 12-year career; going 1/1 in his only at-bat, off of another former-Phillie in Dan Plesac, with an RBI off the bench.

Now, after giving you ample background on Hayes’ career, let’s evaluate the trade itself, and whether or not it was a good or bad one in hindsight.

First off, I’ll start by giving you the details. The trade involved Hayes of Cleveland for Jay Baller, Julio Franco, Manny Trillo, George Vukovich, and Jerry Willard. It occurred on December 9th of 1982, and was orchestrated on the Phillies’ end of things by the late-great Phillies’ GM Paul Owens. It also occurred (a day short of being exactly) 10 months prior to the ’83-Phillies winning the NL pennant and losing in the ’83 World Series to Baltimore.

Hayes, in his only-two post-season series, went just 0/5 in limited action during the ’83 playoffs for Philadelphia vs. the Dodgers and Orioles. He served the team mostly in a pinch-hitting or defensive-replacement role.

At first, when he became a full-time starter, it appeared as if the Phillies got the long end of the stick and exactly what they wanted in/expected from Hayes. His second year with Philly, in 1984, he batted .292 with 48 stolen bases in 561 at-bats. Two seasons later, he hit even better at .305, with an impressive 98 RBIs and league-leading 46 doubles to boot. On top of that, he also led the league in runs scored as well with 107. At the end of the latter season, he finished eighth in NL-MVP voting behind teammate Mike Schmidt. Hayes was inconsistent throughout his career, but when he was on his game, he could hit for average and steal bases with the best of ‘em.

Hayes also shares the lone honor of being the only Major League hitter to hit two home runs in the span of an inning, when he did so in June of the 1985 season. Despite that feat, he only hit .263 that season in 570 at-bats.

As for the other side; how Cleveland fared in the deal; I’ll break down what occurred.

Jay Baller

Jay Baller was also drafted in the 1979 MLB amateur draft, but instead in the fourth round by Philadelphia as a pitcher. Although he was inconsistent at the minor league level with the Phillies’ organization at first, 1982 with Reading; Philadelphia’s AA team; became a breakout year for him. That season he went just 9-8 but with an impressive 2.68 ERA. Baller allowed just seven home-runs all year long; for an average of 0.4 HR/9; all while allowing just 110 hits in 151.1 innings pitched as well.

At the time, it looked like a good pickup for Cleveland in Baller, but in hindsight, after his brief Major-League career concluded, not so much. He spent a total of six years in the Majors; none of which were with Cleveland, as he never made it past their three minor-league teams, from 1983-84, in AA Buffalo, AAA Charleston, and AAA Maine (Buffalo was apart of the Eastern League, whereas the latter two were both AAA-International-League teams). Cleveland traded the overrated Baller to the Cubs in April of 1985 for infielder Dan Rohn, who, like Baller, didn’t do much either throughout his ML career.

Baller, in 94 career games/five career starts, went just 4-9 with a career ERA of 5.24; spanning 10 years, six seasons, and three different teams (he played for Philadelphia twice; returning for a second time in 1992). So far in the trade, Cleveland’s 0-1.

Now on to the second piece of the trade.

Julio Franco.

Franco’s Major League career resume is much different, and way more established, than Baller’s is. Franco also was an impressive player in how long he stuck around in MLB; 23 years. His resume:

-Three-time All-Star (1989-91; all with Texas)
-Five-time Silver Slugger (1988-91, 1994)
-1990 All-Star-Game MVP
-AL batting title in 1991 (.341 average)
-Runner-up in Rookie-of-The-Year voting in 1983 (with Cleveland; finished behind the White Sox’s Ron Kittle)
-Oldest non-pitcher to play in Majors (48 years)
-Career .298 hitter/2586 career hits.

Franco at one point in time was the all-time-hits leader among Dominic Republic players in the Majors, before being surpassed by Vladimir Guerrero in 2011. In his first six full Major-League seasons, all with Cleveland (In 1982 he played with Philadelphia, but only had 16 GP/29 ABs), he had an average of .295, 77 RBIs/season,

Manny Trillo

The third piece in the trade was the Phillies’ beloved Manny Trillo, who was the team’s starting second baseman during their 1980 World Series championship; the franchise’s first-ever title.

Trillo had come to be known as a strong, reliable defensive player; winning a Gold Glove on three different occasions with the team (1979, ’81-82). Trillo also made the NL All-Star Team twice with Philly from 1981-82, on top of winning Silver-Slugger awards from 1980-81. Prior to his stop in Philly, he was also an established player, and All-Star in 1977, with the Cubs, where he also placed third in Rookie-of-The-Year voting in 1975. The Phightins traded numerous players for Trillo, and he was repackaged again over three and a half years later in the aforementioned Cleveland deal.

More importantly, for argument’s sake, Trillo spent a very-brief amount of time with the Indians in 1983 following the trade, before being shopped again, just nine months following the trade to Cleveland, to Montreal for outfielder Don Carter and cash. Considering Cleveland only held on to Trillo for 88 games, as well as the fact that Cleveland got nothing in their return for Trillo (Carter never panned out), it was a successful trade for Philadelphia in the original one. Trillo finished his career with the Giants and his former team in the Cubs, accumulating a few above-par seasons, before eventually retiring in 1989 after a short stint with Cincinnati.

George Vukovich

Vukovich, with no relation to former-Phillies’ infielder/coach (the late) John Vukovich, was the fourth member of the trade. He was drafted by the Phillies in the fourth-round of the 1977 amateur draft as an outfielder.

After spending a couple years in the team’s minor-league systems, including 1979 with Reading- where he hit .293, he made the big club out of Spring Training in 1980 as a bench player. In his first two seasons, he was a bench player, although he earned a World-Series ring as a member of the Phillies in 1980. Vukovich eventually became the team’s starter in 1982; replacing Bake McBride in right field, who was also traded to Cleveland. Vuke hit just .272 that season, with 42 RBIs, in 123 games/335 at-bats. His sub-par defense and lack of offense that season most likely made him expendable in the off-season.

Vukovich, after the trade to Cleveland, hit a combined .267 the next few seasons; even though he hit .304 in 1984.

Although Vukovich in his career showed flashes of excellence, the trade was a success considering Hayes’ superiority to Vukovich in terms of on-field success and remaining with the team he was dealt to (Hayes stayed with Philly for nine years, compared to Vukovich staying with Cleveland for just three).

Jerry Willard

The last piece of the trade was catcher Jerry Willard. He wasn’t drafted, but instead was signed by the Phillies in December of 1979 as an amateur free-agent. Willard spent the next three seasons in the minors for the team, finishing his last season as a member of the Phillies’ organization splitting time between AA Reading and AAA Oklahoma City (a Phillies’ minor-league team at the time). In those three years in the Phillies’ minors, he hit a combined .289, averaging 17 home-runs per 500 at-bats.

Willard was moved because the team had a lot of depth at the time behind the plate. In November of 1981, the team acquired All-Star Bo Diaz from the Cardinals in a three-team deal, with Ozzie Virgil as the backup. Plus, the team had also used their first-round pick in the 1982 MLB amateur draft on a catcher just six months prior. The team’s ’82 13th-overall pick was indeed used to select catcher John Russell from University of Oklahoma. Russell never panned out, spending his entire career in the minors for over a decade.

At the time though, the tandem of Diaz-Virgil mixed with the Russell pick looked promising, and thus Willard wasn’t needed and was moved after that realization by the organization.

As for how Willard’s career panned out post-trade, not all that great. It was an obscure career, having only had one career 300+ at-bat season, which occurred in 1985. He moved around a lot, playing for six different Major-League teams throughout his career; spanning a decade. So the trade for Willard didn’t pan out for the Indians, and his career became that primarily of a bench player. On top of that, to add fuel to the fire, his career came to an abrupt end in 1994 when a foul tip off of the bat of Julio Franco; ironically another member of the same five-for-one-trade; struck Willard’s right shoulder. He retired following the season.

Verdict

Considering Vukovich, Willard, and Baller never panned out for Cleveland, Trillo didn’t stay long (and Cleveland’s return for Trillo to Montreal was weak), and how consistent Hayes was for numerous seasons with Philadelphia, I consider the trade a major success for Philadelphia over Cleveland. Despite how strong Franco played for Cleveland throughout his eight-year tenure there, Cleveland let him go to Texas prior to the prime of his career, and it wasn’t enough to counteract Hayes and his contributions to the Phillies as well.

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One Response to “The Phillies’ five-for-one trade for Von Hayes in 1982, was it a good or bad one?”

  1. Alphonse Dattolo says:

    I have been a Phillies fan for 54 years and I fondly remember Von Hayes. On June 26,1985 my Phillies beat the Mets 26-7 and Hays played a big part in that game by hitting 2 home runs in the first inning -the only player in history to do that. Manny Trillo will always be remembered for his 8th inning triple on October 12,1980 when my Phillies won their first pennant in 30 years on their way to their first world championship!

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