The best New York Mets trade with the Philadelphia Phillies wasn’t actually a bad deal for either team. Both benefitted and you could even declare it a draw in the end with maybe a win for the one that wears red.
The Mets haven’t been able to get one over big time on their longtime rivals. However, this 1974 trade wasn’t a major loss for them either.
This trade sent Don Hahn, Dave Schneck, and Tug McGraw to the Phillies in exchange for Mac Scarce, Del Unser, and John Stearns. Basically, if you ask either team’s fans, it was a McGraw for Stearns swap. Although McGraw would have a lot of success in Philadelphia, the Mets weren’t left with absolutely nothing in return.
The best Mets trade with the Phillies was a victory for both teams
McGraw struggled for the Mets in 1973 and 1974 after pitching two of the best seasons a relief pitcher ever had in club history. He’d turn things around quickly in Philadelphia in their process of becoming a contender again in the latter part of the 1970s and early 1980s.
Stearns, meanwhile, took a couple of years to begin getting significant playing time. He was the backup to Jerry Grote early on before taking the bulk of the starts in 1977. It was that year when Stearns picked up his first All-Star selection—one of four he’d have as a member of the Mets.
It’s kind of amazing that Stearns was able to make so many All-Star appearances and possibly his best season in 1978 doesn’t even include it. He somehow even managed to be an All-Star twice while receiving fewer than 400 plate appearances in a season. Late season injuries were a cause for this. It’s still an odd feat nonetheless.
Stearns’ Mets career included a .259/.341/.375 slash line and one of the rarest accomplishments of all; a 25 stolen base campaign while primarily playing the catcher position.
Honorable mention Mets trades with the Phillies
Trades between these two teams are rather uncommon but they do happen. Dive deep into them and you’ll come away wondering why the Mets ever bother because of how many they’ve lost.
No other trade actually deserves an honorable mention unless you count the 2019 deal involving Jason Vargas which may have helped sabotage the Phillies’ season.
Whether it’s Lenny Dykstra, Rico Brogna, or even Todd Pratt, the Mets have handed the Phillies some pretty good players over the years. The best was the trade for Stearns even if it did cost them McGraw.