Willie Mays was National League (NL) MVP in 1954, his second full season, after playing only 34 games in 1952 through May 28 and none in 1953. His New York Giants swept the Cleveland Indians in the 1954 World Series.
Giants record and attendance:
1954 97-57 1,155,067 (2nd of 8)
1955 80-74 824,112 (6th of 8)
1956 67-87 629,179 (8th of 8)
1957 69-85 653,923 (8th of 8)
The 1957 New York Giants were a bad team even with Willie Mays and they were last in NL attendance for the second consecutive year. Back then, most revenue was at the gate.
Sound familiar? While their attendance is 2,204,546 (4th of 15), the Angels record is 50-70. There are some who think that the Angels should trade Mike Trout, MVP in his third full season 2014, second in the other three.
Mays was 26 in 1957. Trout just turned 25. Yet the thought of trading Mays would have been incomprehensible in 1957 and is probably incomprehensible even to most of those who now advocate the trading of Trout. What has changed?
1. Common draft of amateur players started in 1965.
2. Trading deadline was changed from June 15 to July 31.
3. Number of teams is almost double.
4. Number of teams qualifying for post season increased from one to four in each conference.
5. Most teams now have revenue streams independent of attendance, including TV money from both shared league and local team contracts.
6. Most teams play in new ballparks.
7. Online betting on individual players each day through websites like Draftkings is legal.
Handicapping is the order of the day. It includes:
1. Players being drafted.
2. Players being traded in July.
3. Players who are hot (for Draftkings type gambling).
4. Players being traded between seasons.
To the extent that we root for the home team, we're rooting for the laundry. Players don't simply come and go. We want them to come and go.
Daft them, whoever they are.
Bring them up, hurry.
Sign free agents for big bucks, hurry.
Trade them for prospects, hurry.
So is it wise to trade Mike Trout for prospects? I say never trade a somebody for a bunch of nobodies. Never.
Would it have been wise for the New York Giants to have traded Willie Mays? It never even occurred to anyone rational.