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WHL trade deadline and other last minute moves

The Western Hockey League trade deadline was yesterday (as you’re reading this) but still a couple of days away (as I’m writing this).

That means I can’t provide an in-depth and genius-level assessment of every trade made by every team. (Of course, I doubt if I could do that anyway, given my less than profound n\knowledge of the WHL.)

What I can say about the past week or so in the trade market was that it was unusual in some respects.

I mean, the Prince George Cougars did what most teams in their position would. They made a couple of relatively minor moves to get ready for the playoff run, giving up, for the most part, draft picks.

On the other hand, the Wenatchee WIld, sitting right behind the Cougars in the Western Conference standings, apparently decided getting beaten by the Cougars 6-2 in their own rink last Wednesday meant it was time to tear everything down and build for the future.

They made a couple of eight-player trades, one with Swift Current and one with Moose Jaw. The trades were identical in one respect: The Wild gave up one player and got back seven players or draft picks in each deal.

While a number of fans of the WHL I’ve spoken with since the trades had the same sense of disbelief I did, the trades are in no way among the weirdest sports has ever seen, especially at the professional level.

Take baseball catcher Harry Chiti, for instance. In 1962, the catcher was traded from the Cleveland Indians for some cash and the infamous “player to be named later.”

In this case, a few months later, the player to be named later turned out to be – Harry Chiti, who was basically traded for himself.

Future baseball Hall of Famer Lefty Grove was also involved in a strange trade when he was in the minor leagues. He was playing for the Martinsburg Mountaineers of the Blue Ridge League when the Baltimore Orioles (who were a top-level minor league team at the time) came calling.

Martinsburg set their price tag for Grove at $3,500, which in 1920 was probably a good sum of money.

For Martinsburg, though, it represented something more important. It allowed them to put a fence around their ballpark. Until then, with no fence, they had played their entire schedule on the road.

There have been a number of cases in baseball history (as well as the NFL) of managers being traded for players or draft picks, but the 1960 Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians took it a step further. They swapped managers partway through the season.

Neither team was doing very well, so Jimmy Dykes went from Detroit to Cleveland while Joe Gordon went the other way. It didn’t help, as neither team showed much improvement the rest of the season.

The Cougars are obviously hoping the moves they’ve made this season will work out better.

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