The best trade that was never made, they say
(And I agree wholeheartedly), was Ted for Joe —
Williams, the Splendid Splinter for Di Maggio,
The Yankee Clipper — Joltin’ Joe! Can you imagine
Williams, who hit 521 dingers despite his years in the Armed Forces,
Swinging for that so-so close low porch in right field
In Yankee Stadium — or Di Mag powering ball after ball
Over the Green Monster at Fenway?
Can you imagine how many more hits Ted would have gotten
Faced with the spacious outfield grass at the Stadium
Or Joe gracefully fielding the smaller center field at Fenway
(Sadly, prior to the existence of the Golden Glove Award)?
It was a trade fit for the greatest of fantasy baseball discussions
But it would have broken hearts of fans who fell in love —
In Boston and New York — with two Hall of Famers
Who would go on to play their whole careers in a single town.
Maybe it was the bad taste left in Boston mouths by a trade
Made decades earlier by owner Harry Frazee
That sent the Babe to the Yanks for money he lost on Broadway
(Giving birth to The Curse of the Bambino; ask your grandparents)
That ran the trade of the century into a dead end made of quicksand.
Whatever the reason, the trade was never made, which is okay
For Yankee fans, for Joe appeared in ten World Series, winning nine,
While Ted reached the Series only once — and lost.
Ask a New Yorker from the olden days and he or she will say,
“Sometimes the best trades are the ones you didn’t make.”
Still, it’s fun to fantasize, to ask, “What if?” —
To live a while inside the playing field of your imagination.