Cleveland Indians: 5 most foolish trades in team history

Cleveland Indians Joe Jackson (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians Joe Jackson (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians Rocky Colavito (Photo by Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /

1. Colavito to the Tigers

The most infamous trade in the history of the Cleveland Indians saw the Tribe trade Rocky Colavito to the Tigers for Harvey Kuehn.

In 1959, Rocky Colavito was coming off his first All-Star nod and was one of the games emerging starts. The Indians, cementing their misfortune for the next three decades, shipped Colavito to Detroit for Harvey Kuehn, completing the most infamous trade in franchise history.

The ’59 version of the Tribe won 89 games, yet finished way behind the Yankees in the American League East. It’s as close as the organization would come to a postseason berth until 1994, when those Indians were the front runner to be the American’s League’s first Wild Card before the player’s strike canceled the rest of the season.

Over the next four seasons, Colavito hit 139 of his 372 career home runs paying in the Motor City, as the Tribe haplessly began the 1960s.

Colavito returned to Cleveland in 1965, earning a trip to the mid-summer classic then, and in 1966. He began the 1967 campaign in Cleveland, but was traded to the White Sox for Jim King.

Kuehn was already a seven-time All-Star by the time he came to Cleveland, and put on an Indians’ uniform as the reigning AL batting champ (.353). His last All-Star berth came in his only season with the Tribe, as he was shipped to the Giants for Johnny Antonelli and Willie Kirkland after the season.

The trade of Colavito was forever immortalized by Terry Pluto, in “The Curse of Rocky Colavito”. The deal took the steam out of the fan base, much like LeBron James left when he left the Cleveland Indians for the Miami Heat. Don’t believe me? Ask your grandpa, and he’ll tell you the story of one of the most foolish trades in Indians’ history.