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Today in Sports History: July 29th


(Sosa in a White Sox jersey. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images)

7/29/1989 - Rangers deal Sosa for Baines

The Texas Rangers deal utility infielder Scott Fletcher and minor league prospects Sammy Sosa and Wilson Alvarez to the Chicago White Sox for Harold Baines. Baines was not a bad player by any means; he played 22 seasons in the big leagues and racked up 2,866 hits and 384 home runs. But the deal proved to be a tremendous mistake, as Sammy Sosa became one of the greatest power hitters of all time.

Sammy didn't do much in his two-and-a-half years with the White Sox. But in 1992, he was traded to the crosstown Chicago Cubs, where he soon developed into a perennial All-Star. Sosa hit 545 of his 609 career home runs in Chicago, won the MVP award in 1998, and hit 292 home runs from 1998 to 2002, including three 60-home run seasons in four years. Baines would never hit more than 25 home runs the rest of his career, and he barely lasted a year before being traded again, this time to the Oakland Athletics.

In 2000, the man who signed off on the trade, future-president and then-Rangers owner George W. Bush, was asked during a GOP debate what the biggest mistake of his life had been, to that point. "Sammy Sosa for Harold Baines," he answered.