Cheap Seats

On This Date in Cardinals History: Aug. 30, 1990

This day 22 years ago was one of my least favorite as a Cardinals fan.

I remember walking into my dad's house and, no sooner than I got the door closed behind me, he said "You're never going to guess who the Cardinals traded today."

"Say it wasn't Willie McGee," I said.

"It was Willie McGee," he replied.

Leading the National League with a .335 batting average, McGee -- star of the 1982 World Series and 1985 National League Most Valuable Player -- was unceremoniously swapped to Oakland outfielder Felix Jose, third baseman Stan Royer and minor leaguer Daryl Green.

McGee, who apparently was too expensive for the Cardinals with a $1.5 million annual salary, would go on to bat .274 with Oakland and play in the World Series in a losing effort against Cincinnati, had amassed enough National League at bats to win his second batting title in his absence.

Over the winter of 1990-91, McGee would move across the bay and sign with the Giants as a free agent. He triumphantly  returned to the Cardinals in 1996 for a four-year encore in which he served as a valuable fourth outfielder and a standing ovation generator. 

Jose hit .298 in three seasons with the Cardinals with 25 home runs and 52 stolen bases. He was traded prior to the 1993 season to the Royals for Gregg Jefferies.

Royer had four shots to make something of himself with the Redbirds from 1991-94 but never could command more than 66 at bats in a season.

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