It certainly rivals the Babe Ruth trade to the Yankees as one of the worst in Red Sox franchise history, especially in hindsight. But when Boston GM Lou Gorman decided to send Red Sox prospect Jeff Bagwell to the Astros for veteran middle reliever Larry Andersen, you need to remember that Bagwell had yet to play in a big league game and the Red Sox were entering the stretch run of a close division race with a bullpen that was giving up runs by the bushel. Andersen in fact pitched very well for Boston the last month of that season and helped them capture that Eastern Division crown. But he was 37 years-old at the time and when he got roughed up by the A’s in that year’s ALCS, the Red Sox let him go.
You know what Bagwell did after he got to Houston. The only question left unanswered at this point is will the all-time Astro home run leader (449) make it to Cooperstown. The saddest aspect of the trade from the viewpoint of Red Sox fans is that Bagwell was a hometown boy, born in Boston who grew up rooting for the team and idolizing Carl Yastrzemski. He had just one plus years of minor league ball under his belt at the time of the deal but he was definitely proving he had the right stuff to play regularly in the Majors. If he had spent the fifteen seasons of his big league career playing his home games in Fenway, there’s no way of knowing how many more homers he would have hit or how many more postseasons his bat would have helped the Red Sox reach. What could have been? We will never know.