Well, maybe it wasn’t that extreme. The two clubs did orchestrate a deal that involved a record 17 players, which remains the largest trade in baseball history.
While the lasting impact of the deal was minimal compared to the quantity of players involved, it did bring starting pitcher Don Larsen to the Bronx, who would enjoy being a part of another piece of baseball history just two years later.
The trade was announced on November 18th, 1954, with Larsen and future 20-game winner Bob Turley highlighting the return package for the Yanks. While Larsen was a World Series hero for the Yanks in 1956, Turley would take home the World Series MVP in 1958 after relieving Larsen in Game Seven to clinch the title on Turley’s third appearance in four days.
While the trade was announced in November, it was finalized on December 1st when the rest of the “players to be named later” were officially announced. Here is the complete list of players traded, courtesy of Baseball Reference:
The big return for the Orioles was infielder Gus Triandos and outfielder Gene Woodling, who was part of the Yankees’ record five straight World Series titles from 1949-53. Woodling was a successful contact hitter in his major league career and retired with a career OBP of .386, but the Orioles traded him to Cleveland just seven months after acquiring him from the Yankees.
Triandos earned three consecutive All-Star selections after coming to the Orioles, but given the postseason performances of Larsen and Turley, you could argue that the Yankees won the trade.
Of the 17 players involved in the deal, Ted Del Guercio was the only one to never play at the major league level. The outfielder played 12 seasons before calling it a career.
Of the four players the Yankees received on December 1st after the player draft, catcher Darrell Johnson was the only one to eventually play for the Yankees. Johnson served as a backup to Yogi Berra while the rest of his trade mates were either traded away or never made it back to the majors as a Yankee.
Looking at the big picture, the quantity of the deal may be the only noteworthy aspect of the trade, as few impact players were a part of the trade that is really only remembered for the number of players attached to it.