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February 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm ET
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When the Promise of ’93 met the Preeminence of ’94

Alright, yes, at one point the Montreal Expos traded Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips to rent Bartolo Colon, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

With the glaring exception of that trade, one thing that allowed the ‘Spos to be competitive for so long with minimal resources was its ability to trade a known commodity for top notch talent that would keep them afloat for a few years, before they too priced themselves out of Montreal’s market and were in turn shipped off to keep the cycle churning.

Just prior to American Thanksgiving 1993, though, some Expos fans were miffed when their second place squad traded popular , 24-year old second baseman Delino DeShields, fresh off of a .295 performance that featured an on-base percentage of .389 to go along with 43 stolen bases (for a team that played its home games on turf) to the Dodgers for some skinny pitcher named Pedro Martinez.

You know, in most lopsided trade scenarios, you hear fans talking about “How could we give up Jeff Bagwell for Larry freakin’ Andersen?!”

Hindsight goes both ways.

Over the final nine seasons of his career, DeShields would only bat .295 or better and steal more than 43 bags twice, and never again posted as high an on-base percentage. Martinez, meanwhile, helped solidify Montreal’s starting rotation and secure the best record in baseball in 1994 and took home the hardware as the NL’s best pitcher for 1997 before he was dealt to the Red Sox, where the right-hander helped Boston pull the plug on the Curse of the Bambino.

Along the way, though, Martinez fell in love with Montreal, the city with him, and even long after his days with the Expos had come to a close, it was clear Montreal remained a large part of the man simply referred to as Pedro:

Expos fans may not have been thrilled about the trade at the time, but there never would have been the magic of ’94 without Martinez, and looking back, Montreal wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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