Johnny Damon. Kevin Youkilis. Jacoby Ellsbury.
It’s a story Boston Red Sox fans have memorized: A guy joins the Red Sox, becomes a star, then eventually goes on to wear the hated New York Yankee pinstripes.
It might surprise those same fans, however, to learn that players’ moves from Boston to the Bronx almost never come via trade.
According to a list compiled by MLB.com’s Cut4 blog, the Red Sox and Yankees have not completed a trade with one another since Aug. 13, 1997 — the longest such drought for either team.
Catcher/first baseman Mike Stanley was shipped to New York in the deal (only to return to Boston the following season), along with career minor league infielder Randy Brown. In return, the Red Sox received right-handers Tony Armas Jr. and Jim Mecir, neither of whom ended up playing a game for the club.
The Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros share the majors’ longest drought as trade partners (their most recent was Dickie Thon for Ken Forsch in 1981), but the most interesting entry on the list is shared by the San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds.
That deal, made on July 21, 1995, included three players who later would go on to play for the Red Sox — Darren Lewis, Dave McCarty and Mark Portugal — and was headlined by the one and only Deion Sanders.