White Flag Trade
The White Flag Trade was a trade made between two Major League Baseball teams in 1997. On July 31, 1997, the Chicago White Sox traded three major players to the San Francisco Giants for six minor leaguers. At the time, the trade was maligned by the vast majority of White Sox fans as Jerry Reinsdorf giving up on the team, as they were only 3 1⁄2 games behind the Cleveland Indians for the American League Central Division lead. "Anyone who thinks we can catch Cleveland is crazy," stated Reinsdorf. In 2000, however, the White Sox won the Central Division title, receiving large contributions from two of the players received in this trade (Keith Foulke and Bob Howry).
The San Francisco Giants received:
- Wilson Álvarez, left-handed pitcher
- Danny Darwin, right-handed pitcher
- Roberto Hernández, right-handed pitcher
The Chicago White Sox received:
The San Francisco Giants went on to win the National League Western Division title with a 90-72 record, two games better than the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Chicago White Sox finished 80-81, six games behind the American League Central Division champion Cleveland Indians. The Giants were swept by the Florida Marlins in the National League Division Series. Incidentally, the Indians also lost to the Marlins in the World Series.
In 2000, the White Sox won the American League Central with a league-best record of 95-67. They made the playoffs but were swept in the Division Series by the American League wild card team, the Seattle Mariners. Foulke and Howry were a large part of their bullpen, with Foulke earning 34 saves in his role as closer. However, the collapse of their offensive production from the middle of their batting order, which went a combined 3-for-40 in the series proved to be their downfall in the series as they were swept in three games. The 2000 San Francisco Giants also won their division, with a league-best record of 97-65. However, none of the players acquired from the 1997 trade were still playing with the team during the 2000 season. The Giants also lost in the Division Series, this time to the New York Mets.
By of the end of the 2010 season, none of the players acquired in the trade by either team were playing for the team to which they were traded. Only Foulke was an active player but was not playing in the Major Leagues. On December 8, 2008, Howry reunited with the Giants, signing a one-year contract. Manning never made it to the major leagues, and Vining only played 8 games with the White Sox during his Major League career. Shortstop Mike Caruso showed signs of being a solid hitter, batting .306 his rookie year, but was a poor fielder.
- Sullivan, Paul (June 29, 2017). "White Sox engineered infamous 'White Flag trade' 20 years ago". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on October 23, 2017.