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Sports Then and Now

Trade You for a Catfish – the Most Bizarre Deals in Sporting History

Posted on December 12, 2017 by Rik Snuiverink
Ken Krahenbuhl was part of one of the most unusual trades in baseball history.

Ken Krahenbuhl was part of one of the most unusual trades in baseball history.

Ah, the sporting trade – it conjures images of wholesome children in the sun-kissed days of yesteryear trading their baseball cards, or high school teams negotiating over the star soccer players, piles of sweaters at the ready as makeshift goalposts. Of course, in the world of professional sports, trading players is deadly serious, involving multi million dollar transactions.

At least, you might reasonably think so, but there have been some truly surreal sporting trades over the years.

Fighting over the best and betting on the outcomes

Whether it is draft picks in the NFL or European soccer stars in the transfer window, professional sports team love to negotiate with each other. Sometimes those negotiations can get intense – perhaps this is why, with the rise in online betting, the topic of who will complete what deal is becoming as popular a wager as the games themselves. The UK casino sites at are no strangers to sports betting, and if you take a look when January comes around and the transfer window opens, they will all be discussing the odds of potential trades.

Usually the who and the where are the focus of the average sporting trade, but sometimes it is the “for what,” as the following examples demonstrate.

The Pitcher and the Catfish

Poor Ken Krahenbuhl. First, the Pacific Suns traded him to the Greenville Bluesmen without even having the good grace to tell him about it, but regardless, he went out and pitched a perfect game in his very first outing for his new team. Yet despite his achievements against the odds, he has gone down in history as the man who was traded in exchange for 10lb of catfish.

Bussey Martin

Tom Martin was a journeyman NHL winger who served time with the Winnipeg Jets, the Hartford Whalers and the Minnesota North Stars in a seven-year career that was solid but unremarkable. However, before turning pro, he had the singular experience of being traded by the Seattle Breakers to the Victoria Cougars in exchange for a new team bus. As you might guess, there is more to the story than meets the eye, but the nickname Bussey lived with him for his entire career.

Jonny Jones for Thanksgiving

Joe Engel was without doubt one of the most eccentric promoters in sporting history. In the 1930s, his antics were legendary, and included naming a stadium after himself and having his team arrive to a game riding elephants. But the crowning glory was when he traded shortstop Jonny Jones to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for a turkey. He then roasted it and presented it to local journalists. His explanation? “The turkey was having a better year, and these guys were giving me the bird.”

Restrepo traded for a good night’s sleep

In case you thought bizarre trades were a quirky aspect of sporting history, we finish with one from 2013. Walter Restrapo was one of the top players in the NASL, but that didn’t stop the cash-strapped Fort Lauderdale Strikers from selling him to the San Antonio Scorpions. The fee? Hotel rooms and travel expenses for the team when they met up in the 2014 season. It didn’t do Restrapo any harm, and today, he plays for the New York Cosmos.

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