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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Greatest Trade Ever Hits a Snag

In case you hadn’t heard, the Mets made a trade in December 2012. Nobody ever mentions it every five minutes, so it might be unfamiliar to you.

The Mets sent R.A. Dickey, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, plus two catchers with very large mitts, to the Toronto Blue Jays. Here is who the Mets received in return, either directly or eventually, as a result of this trade:

Travis d’Arnaud
Noah Syndergaard
Wuilmer Becerra
John Buck
Dilson Herrera
Vic Black

Milt Pappas
Ernie Broglio
Danny Heep
Leroy Stanton
Francisco Estrada
Don Rose
Brian Rose
Howie Rose

Saul Katz
Saul Bellow
Dr. Alfred Bellows
Saul Goodman
Jimmy McGill

Kirk Nieuwenhuis
Logan Verrett
Jeff Tam
Frank Lary
Harry Chiti

Harry M. Stevens
Harry S Truman
Harry Morgan
Henry Morgan
Morgan Ensberg

Marvin Webster
Webster Long
Wes Westrum
Wes Parker
Salty Parker
Harry Parker

Art Fern
Danny Kaye
Turhan Bey
Martha Raye
Faye Wray
Marvin Gaye
and Pellets the Nervous Rabbit

Yes, it was that productive a trade for the Mets. It is celebrated often, especially when d’Arnaud, Syndergaard and Herrera do something spectacular. The swap looks better and better with every passing second. The Mets sent a 38-year-old knuckleballer who was never going to be as amazing as he had just been to the Jays for everybody in their minor league system plus Buck. And Buck they paired with Marlon Byrd to turn into everybody in the Bucs’ minor league system.

Genius, absolute genius. Truly the stuff of mavericks. Sure, we had to surrender the most fascinating, complex and articulate 20-game winner since John Locke (who won 23 for the English Enlightenments twice), but how much more extensive was R.A. going to make our vocabulary? We learned to use words like “propensity,” “inconsequential” and “nuances” in a baseball context thanks to Dickey, but we also had to speak in phrases like, “Oy, who’s catching tonight — Thole or the other one?” Whatever we had to give up in syllables we’d make up for behind the plate.

Plus Syndergaard’s a pretty substantial mouthful himself.

Dickey in Toronto hasn’t been Dickey in New York and not just because of having to pass through customs. R.A. requires optimal circumstances to succeed. Everything clicked perfectly in Flushing in 2012. What were the odds they’d keep clicking with such precision, especially considering everything would have to be converted into metric? Still, it wasn’t necessarily a bad bet to go out and get him at hefty costs, even if the deal looks awfully lopsided now. It was a win-now trade for the Jays.

They haven’t won yet. They’re in the thick of the American League East race despite being no more than North American, but they’re still waiting for their first postseason appearance since Joe Carter touched ’em all in 1993, when Syndergaard was one and Herrera was not at all. Maybe Dickey will help get them where they long to go. Or maybe all Dickey will leave them with is a dog-eared Thesaurus, allowing the Ontario fans to look up synonyms for “frustrating” in the years ahead while they watch Noah and Travis lead the Mets to October after October.

In the interim, perhaps the one game that will wind up telling the respective final-standings tales of the 2015 Mets (36-32) and Jays (36-32) took place Thursday night at Rogers Centre, when R.A. Dickey thoroughly extinguished his former club to help his current club to a 7-1 victory that couldn’t have been any easier to attain had the hosts opted to play it in Barcaloungers. Dickey was his old self (despite dealing with some very fresh, very tough personal hurt). We know what that can be. He threw seven-and-a-third innings. He didn’t give up a hit until the fifth or a run until the eighth. He did walk the bases loaded in the second, setting up the perfect opportunity for Curtis Granderson, but R.A. struck him out. It was one of seven K’s for Dickey on the night — and one of 4,000 for Curtis on the year. After the game, R.A. even rolled out one of his favorite terms for his performance; he deemed it “trustworthy”.

He used both his pitching skills and his language skills to remind the Mets what they gave up when they sent him packing. If that’s not an R.A. Dickey “in your face!” I don’t know what is.

One loss by no means invalidates the greatest trade ever made. The Mets gave up something and got a lot of good things in return. Sometimes, though, something can come back to briefly bite you — as well as temporarily gnaw, momentarily masticate and fleetingly chomp you — if just to remind you pulling off enormous heists are possible, but messy getaways tend to be inevitable.

I didn’t get a chance to include this in yesterday’s consideration of Nelson Doubleday, so I’ll present a link to it here: Marty Noble offers a characteristically wonderful collection of recollections regarding the late owner’s time with the Mets. Treat yourself and read it.

17 comments to Greatest Trade Ever Hits a Snag

  • Ray

    You left out the Seven Santini Brothers, who always seemed to make it into these lists when the late great Stan Isaacs did them.

  • jpb

    Now wait a minute……

    I’m pretty sure we got Jamie Farr instead of Harry Morgan.

  • Rob E

    I must admit I had a hard time rooting against R.A., but I would hang yesterday’s well-deserved loss on the ineptitude of the Mets rather than anything Dickey did. The R.A. of the first two innings sure didn’t look like our Cy Young winner. Once Granderson had that awful at-bat with the bases loaded to end the 2nd inning the game just pancaked. The Mets had a chance to take him out early and they let him off the hook.

    But I hope the Dickey from the 3rd inning on is the one the Jays get the rest of the way!

  • LA Jake

    Bad for Mets last night but good for Dickey. And it’s always fun to say last night was a good night for Dickey, especially for those of us married with children.

  • Dave

    If they’re going to go 0-81 on the road, guess it’s just as well that one of those losses is to a guy we can’t help but like. Or venerate. Or hold in obeisance. Or before whom we are obsequious.

  • mikeL

    yep, was hard to root against RA last nite – and jeez that was before i knew he had such a heavy heart!
    likewise wishing RA success over the rest of the season and may the mets and jays meet again in october!

    or not. it’s better to dislike the opponent without any ambivalence.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Dickey used yet another word yesterday I don’t think I’ve ever heard before in the context of a player describing his contribution to his team. He said he wanted to be consistent and “trustworthy” as a starting pitcher. In other words, everything Niese is not.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Greg, wasn’t Susan Dey included in the Danny Kaye deal?

  • Lou Banjawi

    Good to know we have our very own version of the xkcd bracket!

  • meticated

    Still smarting from the Joe Foy for Amos Otis trade…or fregosi for Ryan. …jeff kent…joe smith…recently still oozing from Justin Turner for nuthin! …there’s so many it’s hard to choose…oh Yeh. ..Darren o’day…that was insightful. matter what, the history for our side is going to take some serious pendulum swing to even up our trading score card in mets favor

  • Penacious H (Shea Mezz 21)

    Sorry, missed Dr Bellow’s transaction when it happened…was he one of the 99 3B’s?

    I also had mixed feelings watching the game on Thursday; it was great to see RA pull out of the walkathon in first 2 innings, and pitch similarly to his great year.

    And, I didn’t see any mention of this yet: to see RA AND Reyes, our last 2 award winners prior to deGrom (who should be leaving any year now, sadly???) on the same field was distressing yet cheery at same time. I really enjoyed both the one or two year RA phenomenon, and Reyes’ play when healthy (few things prettier on a ball field than his triples or inside the parker, which SNY played during the week).

    And say what we do about Wilmer’s RBI, his miscues even on “you can’t count on it” double plays sure makes me yearn to have Jose back, even 70% of the time… he’d have turned a minimum of half of the muffed DPs…

    Still we have what we have, but I sure think that we will look back on this season as a missed chance because Fred and Jeff still won’t release $ to get another bat…

    BTW, anyone else think like I do that Murph (with Wright subbing when Murph is hurt) IS the 3B of our future?

    Despite the owners, let’s go Mets!

  • open the gates

    Shame they didn’t throw in Teddy Roosevelt. The Mets can use a guy who speaks softly and carries a big stick. Aside from Lucas Duda.

  • Ed Rising

    Enjoyed the Dr. Bellows mention!