There is a story floating around about a trade between the Yankees and the Red Sox back in the 1940s. Both owners would trade away their biggest star to the opponent. Eventually, the trade never happened but it would have been something to see both Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams in the uniform of the arch-rival.
The story goes that around 1948 both Tom Yawkey, the owner of the Boston Red Sox and Dan Topping, owner of the New York Yankees once met for dinner at Toots Shor’s restaurant, a popular establishment in those days.
Another slight different story tells that the meeting between the two owners was during spring training.
Anyhow, after several alcoholic beverages (scotch, bourbon, etc), both owners agreed on trading their biggest stars. DiMaggio to Boston and Williams to New York. When you look at the possible trade, it would make perfect sense. The right hitting DiMaggio would be a perfect fit for the short left field in Fenway Park. Besides that, he could have played outfield with his brother Dom. Williams on the other side would be a good fit in Yankee Stadium with his left-handed swing.
In an interview that was held much later, Williams explained: “Well, I think it’s easy to say that. And it could very well be true. But I know, from my experience, that I got balls to hit in Boston because of the long right field fence from the very pitchers that I might have hit at in Yankee Stadium that I would have never gotten a chance to hit that same pitch in Yankee Stadium. Because, the fence being long, they said, ‘Well, we gotta make you hit here.” The Splendid Splinter had a good point.
The Yankees would have had a big advantage in this trade. DiMaggio was much older than Williams. Joltin’ Joe was nearing his retirement (1951 while Williams would retire only in 1960.
According to the story, Yawkey woke up with a huge hangover and a strange feeling in his stomach. When thinking over he decided to call Topping and call the trade off. The fans would likely not agree on the trade. Can you imagine DiMaggio in a Red Sox jersey and Williams in pinstripes?
Another story tells that the dealbreaker of this trade was Yawkey wanting another player to be thrown in by the Yankees. He was aiming for a certain rookie outfielder named Larry Berra… The question is if Berra would have won as many World Series rings as he did with the Yankees if any.
If the trade had not fallen through, it might have been the trade of the century. But we will never know what the impact on both players and teams would have been. Would DiMaggio have helped the Red Sox to a World Series title? Would Williams have won one or more World Series rings? That will remain a question forever.