1) NY Mets trade with the Marlins for Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza went from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Florida Marlins on May 14, 1998. Only days later on May 22, 1998, the Marlins traded him to the rival Mets. Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnall, and Geoff Goetz were the three packaged together for the iconic slugger.
Piazza’s impact was felt immediately. He batted .348/.417/.607 in his first 109 games for the team in 1998. Although they came up short challenging for the playoffs, a new era of Mets baseball was about to begin.
Piazza signed an extension after the season and would stay with the team through the 2005 season. Through some ups and downs with the ball club, he remained a mostly consistent player with some of the best seasons any catcher in MLB history has had at the plate. He’d smash a total of 220 home runs for the Mets while hitting .296/.373/.542. When Cooperstown came calling years later, it was the NYM emblem he’d choose to have on his plaque.
This remains one of the most important trades in Mets history and a whole generation of fans in their 30s and 40s will tear up thinking about it; or maybe that’s just allergies.
Whatever the case is, Piazza is number one on this list for good reason. As important and valuable as some of these other players acquired in a trade with a division rival were, none were as singularly amazing as this guy.