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Link: Mets Today’s look back at a 1989 deal that didn’t happen

Howard Johnson's 2008 Topps Ring of Honor insert card

If you’re old enough to have followed the New York Mets in the late 1980s, you might remember a rumored trade that would have sent Howard Johnson, Sid Fernandez and hyped prospect David West to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Mark Langston.

At Mets Today, Dan Capwell discusses the trade that was very close to happening and mentions a couple of minor leaguers that Seattle was going to include to even up the numbers… if the deal actually went through, I wonder what it would have meant for the 1990s New York Mets and baseball in Seattle.


Hufflepuff. Level 43 entertainment junkie and Mets fan. Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind.

12 thoughts on “Link: Mets Today’s look back at a 1989 deal that didn’t happen

  1. Wow. That would have been an amazing trade. Reminds of, around the same time, the Post used to do a section where fans would send in their ideas on trades and the Post writers would shoot them down.


    1. I think it would have helped the Mets, though who knows if it would have led to any additional post-season success.

      If the Mariners had gone through with it, I wonder if they would even still be in Seattle today.


      1. Hi Paul,

        In addition to the question of the future of MLB in Seattle, one could also theorize that, if the Mets and Mariners pulled the trigger on this trade, MLB could have been saved in Montreal. The logic would be, if Langston became a Met, then Randy Johnson would not have been dealt by the Expos to Seattle. Thus, baseball might’ve been saved in Quebec, and Met fans like you and I would still have a reason to travel up there for games. Woulda, shoulda, coulda.


  2. I remember hearing about that trade proposal. Had no idea about the prospects though. Probably would have not even known who they were at the time.

    I also remember Game 4 of the ’88 NLCS quite fondly!


    1. I didn’t remember anything about the minor league “throw-ins” either. I might have remembered Jay Buhner from the Ken Phelps trade the summer before, but I wouldn’t have any more idea about the player he would become than the Yankees did.

      Game 4 of the 1988 NLCS, Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, and the Mets’ final game of the 2007 season are three of my worst baseball memories.


  3. Who knows where Randy Johnson would have wound up. He was one of the guys Seattle got for Langston. Seattle also got Brian Holman in the deal. He was once 1 out from a perfect game and lost the PG, no hitter and shutout on 1 pitch.

    If Johnson had stayed in Montreal through being eligible for free agency, I wonder what kind of contract he would have gotten and from who.

    $$$ wise would have to favor the Yankees- unless he would have wanted to stay in the NL. Anyone want to guess what logo he has on his cap in Cooperstown in 2015? My guess is Seattle- although you could make a case for the DBacks- all those CY Young awards and his only WS ring. I’d be willing to bet a paycheck it WON’T be as a NY Yankee.

    The trade with Montreal definitely worked better for Seattle. Who knows if Langston would have stayed with the Mets- unless an extension would have been worked out prior to the trade- similar to Santana. Langston and Witt combined on a no hitter in 1990 with the California Angels.

    I agree with Paul- that trade saved Seattle baseball along with the 1995 ALDS.


    1. I always picture Randy Johnson as a Diamondback, but that may be because I didn’t follow baseball that much in the 1990s after the strike.


  4. It seems like the Montreal Expos could put an ALL STAR at every position if you did an all Expo team.

    The 1994 strike overall killed baseball in Canada. The Blue Jays were the first team to draw 4 million people. They have yet to come anywhere near that number since the strike. I remember the hype when Skydome opened. I’m not all that impressed- parking is expensive also. The stadium is a multi-purpose facility with a roof. Its actually one of the older facilities and it opened in 1989. Only Fenway, Wrigley, Dodger Stadium, Kauffman Stadium and the Oakland Coliseum are older now


    1. It is surprising that Skydome (I refuse to try to keep up with all of the re-named ballparks) is now one of the oldest still in use. The Blue Jays had the misfortune of building a new park before the retro craze caught on.


  5. Unless Edgar Martinez (doubtful) or Curt Schilling (could go in with the Red Sox) gets in before Johnson, he’d be the first to have the Mariners or Diamondbacks on his cap in the Hall.

    There’s a cool quiz on that on Sporcle, but beware: there are two trick answers (that are pretty easy) and five nicknames no longer in use, three Negro League teams and one Caribbean team.


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