As a life-long Philadelphia sports fan, I’m no stranger to bad eras of Philadelphia sports teams. The bulk of my life so far has seen a 25 year title drought from 1983 to 2008. But the sordid history of Philadelphia sports long predates me. The Phillies have lost over 10,000 games and had to wait almost 100 years to win their first World Series. The Eagles haven’t won sine 1960, and the Flyers since 1975. The Sixers won in 1983, but they’ve had their share of misery too. A lot of the bad eras were sprung as a result of some horrendous trades. Here’s a look back at 5 of the worst trades in Philadelphia sports history.
5. The Flyers Trade for Eric Lindros
It’s hard to say that Lindros’ career in Philadelphia was a complete flop. But given what the Flyers gave up for him, and the hype he didn’t live up to, this has to be considered a rough trade. Leading up to the Lindros trade, the Flyers were in their worst era. They missed the playoffs from 1990-1994, after last missing in 1972. Eric Lindros was about to enter the league. He had the same hype that Sidney Crosby had when he was about to enter the league a few years back. So the Flyers traded for him, giving up six players, two draft picks, and $15 million to get Lindros. That was a huge sum to pay. Lindros won an MVP and got the Flyers back to the playoffs regularly, but only to one Stanley Cup Finals. They were swept by the Detroit Red Wings. Meanwhile Quebec, the team who got all the Flyers players, quickly became contenders and won the Stanley Cup in 1996 after moving to Colorado. Peter Forsberg, one of the Flyers exiles, became one of the league’s best players and far outperformed Lindros, who never endeared himself to Philadelphia fans.
4. Sixers Trade Charles Barkley to Suns
Charles Barkley was one of the league’s best players for most of the late ’80s and early ’90s. But the relationship between Barkley and the 76ers deteroriated fast, and the 76ers dealt Barkley to the Suns in 1992. In return they got Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang, and Tim Perry. None of them ever had any impact for the 76ers. Barkley meanwhile won an MVP and took the Phoenix Suns to the 1993 NBA Finals. He’s one of the best players in NBA history.
3. Phillies Trade Larry Bowa and Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs
Larry Bowa was the shortstop from the 1980 championship team, but the Phillies dealt him to the Cubs for another shortstop, Ivan DeJesus. Thrown in the deal was Ryne Sandberg, a little regarded second-base prospect. DeJesus played only a few forgettable seasons in Philadelphia. Sandberg meanwhile went up to the Cubs and began his Hall of Fame career. The Phillies meanwhile went through tons of forgettable second basemen over the years that followed.
2. Eagles Trade Sonny Jurgensen to the Redskins
In 1964, long before Donovan McNabb was sent to division rival Washington, the Eagles dealt Hall of Fame QB Jurgensen to the Redskins for Norm Snead. This marked the end of some decent seasons for the Eagles, and ushered in the beginning of some very dark times. Jurgensen continued his excellent career in Washington, while Snead threw more interceptions in the 1960s than any other quarterback. I hope similar dark times don’t follow the latest Eagles trade.
1. Sixers Trade Wilt Chamberlain to the Lakers
It wouldn’t have mattered if the 76ers got back a Hall of Famer in this deal. Chamberlain was arguably the best physical specimen in NBA history, putting up numbers that we would only see today in a video game. His relationship with the 76ers soured, and he was sent to the Lakers in 1968. Of course the 76ers didn’t get any Hall of Famers in return. The Sixers got Jerry Chambers, Archie Clark, and Darrell Imhoff. The Lakers got to the NBA Finals four times, winning once. Chamberlain was the first reigning MVP to be traded.