Trade Details

Date: December 10, 1971

California Angels acquire

  • Catcher Frank Estrada
  • Right-handed pitcher Don Rose
  • Right-handed pitcher Nolan Ryan
  • Outfielder Leroy Stanton

New York Mets acquire

  • Shortstop Jim Fregosi

RHP Nolan Ryan

With the Mets, Ryan had already pitched complete-game shutouts and even contributed to a World Series champion (1969), but he wasn't quite considered an ace. That all changed in his first season out west—he earned the first of eight All-Star selections and led the American League in strikeouts. Ryan ultimately set an MLB record for career whiffs, racking up 5,221 of his 5,714 following the trade.

Ryan's No-Hitters

During the 1973 season, the tough right-hander held both the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers (pictured above) hitless. His lifetime total of seven no-hitters is still an MLB record.

OF Leroy Stanton

OF Leroy Stanton

After very limited playing time with the Mets, Stanton played in 594 games as an Angel across five seasons. That included starts at all three outfield positions.

SS Jim Fregosi

SS Jim Fregosi

Fregosi's smooth fielding at shortstop made him a perennial All-Star throughout his Angels career. The Mets, however, used him primarily at third base, hoping to at least recoup some value from his bat. Turns out that Fregosi was thoroughly washed up. By Baseball-Reference's accounting, he contributed only 0.2 Wins Above Replacement during his two seasons in New York.

Trade's Legacy

The Mets' great pitching depth from the early-to-mid 1970's eventually wore thin, leading to an ugly stretch of mediocrity from 1977-1983. Retaining Ryan may have extended that window of relevance. Instead, the legend was enshrined in Cooperstown as a member of the Angels.

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