Baseball history was changed forever on Nov. 28, 2003.

Curt Schilling was traded to the Boston Red Sox by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Without Schilling, the Red Sox would not have been World Champions in 2004 or in 2007.

Schilling didn’t mince words. At the press conference announcing the trade, he succinctly summed up the situation. He told the world that he wanted to be part of bringing the Red Sox their first championship since 1918.

“And hopefully more than one over the next four years.”

The Red Sox beat out the hated New York Yankees for Schilling’s services. New York’s second team wanted Schilling to replace Roger Clemens, who announced his retirement, but the Yankees refused to meet the Diamondbacks’ demand for Alfonso Soriano and Nick Johnson.

Looking back, it was one of the most incompetent evaluations the Yankees ever made.

The Red Sox sent household names Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, Jorge de la Rosa, and Michael Goss to the Diamondbacks for Schilling.

A few days later, the Yankees announced that they had traded Nick Johnson, outfielder Juan Rivera, and left-handed relief pitcher Randy Choate to the Montreal Expos for Javier Vazquez.

Brian Cashman, the Yankees general manager, had discussed acquiring Vazquez with his Montreal counterpart, Omar Minaya. At the press conference announcing the trade, Minaya, who in June, 2010, has once again become a baseball genius, told the media,

“I told Brian at dinner, ‘If you’re interested in this guy, be aggressive. Come at me aggressively. To his credit, they were aggressive.”

We are living in an age when most individuals want to be told what to think by those who are labeled “experts.”

When Vazquez became a Yankee, Jeff Torborg, who caught Sandy Koufax’s perfect game, was behind the plate for Nolan Ryan’s first of seven career no-hitters, and managed Vazquez in 2001, praised the new Yankee.

“He’s a winner, He’s got real competitive fire and he’s a classy kid. With the Yankees, he’s liable to just pop big time. He’s always been very good but his record’s not been much over .500. This is the kind of guy who could pop it and go 20-8.”

So much for the expert.

In 2004, Curt Schilling led the Boston Red Sox to their first World Championship since 1918, forcing Yankees’ fans to either stop the infamous “1918, 1918, 1918” chant or further hurt any credibility they might have possessed.

Schilling was 21-6, with a 3.26 ERA and a 150 ERA+.

He won his one start against the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, pitching six shutout innings.

In 2004, the Yankees became the first team to lose a playoff series after winning the first three games.

Vazquez won 14 games for the Yankees. He had a 4.91 ERA and a 92 ERA+. He won his only playoff decision because the Yankees scored 19 runs

Vazquez relieved Kevin Brown in the third inning of the third game of the playoff series against the Sox. He was the winning pitcher, working four and one-third innings, while allowing four hits, two walks, and four runs.

It was the last game the Yankees would win in 2004.

Schilling helped the Red Sox win another World Championship in 2007. He didn’t pitch in 2008, and announced his retirement in 2009.

The Yankees traded Vazquez to Diamondbacks after the 2004 season for his former Diamondbacks teammate, Randy Johnson. We all know how that turned out, but the Yankees are a forgiving organization.

On Dec. 22, 2009, the Yankees re-acquired Vazquez, this time from the Braves.

How different it might have been if Mr. Steinbrenner and Mr. Cashman has not valued Alfonso Soriano and Nick Johnson so highly.


RAFAEL HERMOSO. (2003, November 29). Red Sox Ace Out the Yankees And Get Schilling for 3 Years. New York Times (1923-Current file),p. D1. Retrieved June 19, 2010, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2006). (Document ID: 865873002).

TYLER KEPNER. (2003, December 5). Yankees Add Vazquez and Get Younger on Mound. New York Times (1923-Current file),p. D1. Retrieved June 19, 2010, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2006). (Document ID: 867466952).

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