Delino DeShields

Greatest. Cap. Ever.

Why we like him: Sometimes I remember players because of the way they played the game, statistics they compiled over their career, or even just because of the way they looked.  Then there are players you remember because of all of that as well as the fact that they were a piece of one of the most ludicrously stupid trades in baseball history. Meet Delino Lamont DeShields.

DeShields was a pretty good player by any standard, a pesky lefty slap hitter that always seemed to find his way on base and steal second, third, and shortstop's wallet.  In his first year in the league, 1990, DeShields batted .289 with 42 steals for a young Expos team that had a certain buzz about them. They were competitive within the division always seemed like a threat to sneak up on anyone in the National League.  DeShields was part of the Montreal's youthful foundation that centered around himself, Larry Walker, Rondell White, and Marquis Grissom, all of which had enough veteran leadership around them in guys like Tim Wallach, Tim Raines, and Andres Galarraga to make them legitimate contenders in the future.

At the end of the 1993 season, DeShields' stock had never been higher.  He was coming off a .295 season with 42 steals and looked like the prototypical, consistent leadoff hitter of the future.  He even finished 16th in MVP voting in 1992.  The Expos were loaded with young talent and looking to make a run for the division in 1994 (and I like to think they would have won the Series too, you know, if there was one).  They just needed a little more firepower in the pitching department to send them over the top.  The Montreal brass dangled DeShields on the trade market looking for any takers.  The Los Angeles Dodgers were willing to part ways with a young pitching prospect of their own named Pedro Martinez in return for the pesky DeShields. No, really. Straight up. Needless to say, the rest is history.

Pedro Martinez went on to win his first Cy Young Award in Montreal in 1997 on his way to becoming one of the best pitchers the game has ever seen.  DeShields played three seasons for the Dodgers and batted .241 before walking away to St. Louis as a free agent in 1997.  DeShields' final career stats include 13 big-league seasons, a .268 average, and 463 steals.  And an involvement in one of the single dumbest, head-scratching-est trades in baseball history.

Ladies and gentlemen, Delino DeShields, Ballplayer.

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