Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost announced today that he is retiring as manager at the end of the season. Except for 2009, Yost has spent at least part of every season since 2003 as a manager at the major league level, logging almost six years as manager of the Brewers from 2003-08, and then taking over as Royals manager in early 2010 and leading that club through the end of this year.
While Yost has had a long career as a manager, getting to two World Series and winning one, Texas Rangers fans of a certain vintage will remember him more for being part of one of the most infamous trades in Rangers history.
On December 8, 1983, the Rangers traded incumbent catcher and fan favorite Jim Sundberg to the Milwaukee Brewers for minor league pitcher Daniel Scarpetta and 29 year old catcher Ned Yost. The move was immediately pilloried in the Metroplex, with general manager Joe Kleine and manager Doug Rader the target of much anger for trading Sunny, who had spent a decade in Texas and who was seen as one of the best defensive catchers in the game.
Texas felt that Sundberg, who had slashed .201/.272/.254 in 1983 at the age of 32 (with a 0.5 bWAR), was over the hill, and wanted to bring in new blood behind the plate. Sundberg responded to the deal with a 3.1 bWAR for the Brewers, as well as his third All Star Game appearance.
Yost, on the other hand, put up a Mathis-esque .182/.201/.273 slash line in 251 plate appearances for the Rangers in 1984, as he ended up sharing catcher duties with Marv Foley and Donnie Scott. He also allowed 64 of 77 basestealers to advance against him that year, contributing to a -2.4 bWAR for the Rangers.
On the eve of Opening Day, 1985, the Rangers released Yost. He signed on with the Montreal Expos and played briefly with them, but his major league career was over after 1985.
And as for Sundberg, ironically, he was involved in a trade just 13 months after the deal that sent him to Milwaukee that brought the Rangers a new frontline catcher. The Kansas City Royals, looking for a veteran catcher, acquired Sundberg from Milwaukee in a trade that saw Tim Leary go to the Brewers from the Mets, Frank Wills go from the Royals to the Mets, Danny Darwin and Bill Hance head to the Brewers, and catcher Don Slaught go from Kansas City to the Rangers.