On this date in 1983, the New York Mets traded middling relief pitcher Carlos Diaz and the veteran utility man Bob Bailor to the Dodgers for a pair of minor leaguers, Sid Fernandez and infielder Ross Jones.
Although I’d never seen Fernandez pitch, he had compiled some eye-popping minor league numbers and it was a surprise to me that the Dodgers would let him go for a couple of run-of-the-mill players with little potential to get better.
Before long, we all found out that Fernandez had a major weight problem, didn’t have extraordinary stuff or a blazing fastball and had the kind of laid-back attitude befitting a Hawaiian surfer dude. He relied primarily on a deceptive motion. But he was plenty good enough.
Although Sid never duplicated the astonishing numbers he had put up in the minors, he did put up some very impressive ones and fit nicely with a Mets’ team that had some other outstanding starters whose styles were totally different.
One of the most important outings of Sid’s career came in Game Seven of the 1986 World Series when he threw 2.1 innings of scoreless relief in the Mets 8-5 victory.
Fernandez’ hits per nine innings ratio was among the best in baseball history (6.85, 4th best in MLB history) and he won 114 games in his major league career, most of which was spent with the Mets. Sid tried to make a few comebacks. I believe the last time was in spring training with the Yankees in the late ’90’s.
The talented left-hander currently ranks fifth in Mets franchise history with 98 wins, fifth with 1584.2 innings pitched, fourth with 1449 strikeouts, third with a 1.11 WHIP and third with .281 OBP against.
Sid was fun to watch and a highly effective, if, unorthodox starting pitcher. On the other side, both Diaz and Bailor did pretty much what was expected during their short tenures with the Dodgers. So, this was definitely one of the Mets’ all-time best trades.