A much... abuzz... was the chatter of this trade floating among baseball fans when two weeks before Christmas, when nothing was stirring, the Boston Red Sox traded one baseball player, Buddy Myer, and received 5 in return from the Washington Senators. On December 15, 1928 the last place Red Sox traded standout batsman Buddy Myer to the the Senators for 3B/SS Bobby Reeves, mound stalwarts Milt Gaston and Hod Lisenbee, young infielder Grant Gillis and minor league outfielder Elliot Bigelow
Nothing ventured... nothing gained
1928 Season Summary
At the end of July in 1928, the defending World Champions New York Yankees were engaged in a battle with Connie Mack's old Philadelphia Athletics, and not far behind and still in the pennant chase were the Senators and old St. Louis Browns. However, starting in August, Washington and St. Louis tumbled down the ladder. For the Red Sox getting 5 new players seemed the right thing to do.
Final Standing (then an 8-team, one division AL)
NY Yankees 101-53... A's 98-55 - 2.5 GB... St L 82-72 - 19 GB... Washington 75-79 - 26 GB... White Sox 72-82 - 29 GB... Detroit 68-86 - 33 GB... Cleve 62-92 - 39 GB... Boston 57-96 - 43.5 GB
The Yankees led by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the AL MVP catcher Mickey Cochrane won their 2nd straight World Series sweeping the St. L Cardinals in 4 games. Babe Ruth lined 3 doubles and 3 homers to pace the Murderers Row.
Buddy Myer was offensively and on the base paths a step ahead of most players in this era. A career .303 batter he played in the majors from 1925 thru 1941. He also was a capable fielder, and twice led the league for second basemen in fielding perecentage. In 1926 Buddy Myer took over the Senators starting shortstop position, but his range and throwing arm were not up to par, so Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith okayed a trade to the Red Sox on May 2, 1927. For Boston in '28, Buddy Myer beat out 60 bunts and led the American League in stolen bases with 30. Clark Griffith called his trading of Buddy Myer “the dumbest deal I ever made” and in December 1928 sent five players to Boston to retrieve him. In 1935 at age 31 he led the league in batting, edging out Cleveland’s Joe Vosmik for the lead on the last day of the season. Buddy Myer played Washington 1925-27, 1929-41, Boston 1927-28.
Milt Gaston, a right-handed pitcher, threw an assortment of pitches including curves, up-and-down fastballs and an occasional spit ball during his 11 seasons in the major leagues. In 5 of 6 years, 1925-27, 1928-30, Milt Gaston pitched over 200 innings, including 273 in 1930 for the Red Sox. In 1928 he had a 6-12 record for the Senators, and in 1929 and 1930 for the last place Red Sox, Milt Gaston posted records of 12-19 with a very fine 3.73 ERA and 13-20, when he led the league in losses. When he was on track, Milt Gaston had the ball humming, up-down-and-in-out over home plate. He rang up 10 complete game shutouts, including 3 for Washington in 1928. In December of 1931 he was traded to the White Sox.
Bobby Reeves, born in HIll City, Tennessee. Nicknamed Gunner. Bobby Reeves was a free-swinging batter and hit a career-high .303 with 16 doubles, 8 triples and 3 homers in the season before this trade, 1928. An all-around baseball player and a strong-armed infielder, during his 6 seasons in the major leagues he played 230 games at third base, 178 at shortstop, 67 at 2B, and one in all of these positions - outfield, 1B and pitcher. Bobby Reeves standing 5-11 and weighing 170 pounds made the most of his size and drew a large amount of walks per strikeouts per game ratio. He compiled a very solid .331 career-on-base percentage, 175 walks, 218 strikeouts (Ks) in 2364 official at bats spanning 641 games.
Horace Hod Lisenbee, born in Clarksville, Tennessee. Hod Lisenbee captured the attention of baseball fans during his rookie major league season in 1927 with the WAshington SEnators by posting a sterling 18-9 record, a .667 winning percentage, a 4.86 earn run average per 9 innings, while pitching in a career-high 242 innings, completing 17 of 34 starts. He faltered the next year as he developed arm soreness and pitched in just 16 games, 9 starts and had a 2-6 record with a very high 6.08 ERA. After this trade Hod Lisenbee pitched in only 5 games for the Red Sox in 1929. He returned to healthy form in 1930 completing 15 of 31 starts with a 10-17 record for the last place Boston club.
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Grant Gillis, born in Grove Hill, Alamaba. A utility infielder during his three years in the majors. Grant Gillis hit .245 lieftime in 62 games. He played 30 games at second base, 26 at shortstop, and 3 at third base. In 1929 for the Red Sox he batted .247 in 25 games, all at the 2nd base position.
Elliot Bigelow, born in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Nicknamed Gilly. Elliot Bigelow was an outfielder in the minors when this trade was announced in December of 1928. He was brought up to the majors by the Boston Red Sox the next season. In 1929 he batted .289 in 100 games with 16 doubles and one home run, and walked more times than striking out, 23 Ws 18 Ks in 211 at bats. Prior to the next season, Elliot Bigelow balked at the salary offered by the last place Red Sox management and quit baseball, returning to his homestate of Florida.