If you’re a baseball fan, nothing gets your juices flowing for the pennant races like some good trade deadline chatter …

Who’s buying? Who’s selling? Which stars are changing teams? Will your team make a move?

And if you’re a baseball card collector, well, the delights of trade-deadline season are multiplied by all the cardboard possibilities.

I mean, remember how awesome it was to know Terry Mulholland would appear in a different uniform each spring when the new baseball cards hit store shelves?

But as exciting as the trade deadline is, it’s not the only late-July ritual that ignites diamond imagination … and debate.

That’s because Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are held in Cooperstown during the last weekend of July each year, and there is always disagreement about who belongs in baseball’s Valhalla and who should have to pay admission like the rest of us scrubs.

It’s all great fun.

And sometimes … sometimes … baseball’s two hot-topic streaks collide and the unthinkable happens: a future Hall of Famer is traded!

Not long ago, I came across a Sports Illustrated article by Jay Jaffe that deals with this very topic — eventual Hall of Famers dealt before the non-waiver trade deadline (so Jeff Bagwell doesn’t make the cut, for example).

I thought it would be fun to take Jay’s list and put it a hobby twist on it.

Specifically, I wanted to look at two baseball cards for each of the HOF players: the last card issued before the trade (old team) and the first card issued after the trade (new team).

Here then, I present ten Hall of Fame baseball card makeovers, courtesy of the MLB trade deadline. Enjoy the memories!

June 15, 1964 — Lou Brock, Cubs to Cardinals

Before the trade …

Brock was the Chicago Cubs starting left fielder, but it took him parts of three Major League seasons to get there, and he wasn’t running — or hitting — like a record breaker. He did 24 steals in 1963, but that came with 12 caught-stealings, and his lifetime batting average stood at .258.

Judging by his 1964 Topps card, Brock wasn’t all that thrilled.

1964 Topps Lou Brock

The Cubs evidently weren’t, either, as they traded Brock, Jack Spring, and Paul Toth to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Ernie Broglio, Doug Clemens, and Bobby Shantz.

After the trade …

Brock stole 33 bases while hitting .348 with 12 home runs for the 1964 Cardinals in 103 games, finishing tenth in National League Most Valuable Player voting. He also picked up a World Series ring that October.

No wonder he looked so much happier on his 1965 Topps card.

1965 Topps Lou Brock

And, of course, Brock would go on to 3000 hits and a berth in the Hall of Fame, along with just about every stolen base record in the book … until Rickey Henderson swallowed them all up a decade-ish later.

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June 13, 1975 — Gaylord Perry, Indians to Rangers

Before the trade …

Perry won the American League Cy Young Award for the Cleveland Indians in 1972, and he manged a 21-13, 2.51 ERA campaign in 1974. That was good enough for him to get shipped from one also-ran to another — the Texas Rangers — in exchange for Jim Bibby, Jackie Brown, and Rick Waits early in 1975.

And, at 36 (maybe 35 in the pic), Perry already looked like your grandfather on his 1975 Topps card.

1975 Topps Gaylord Perry

After the trade …

Perry went 12-8, 3.03 the rest of the way in 1975, then spent all of 1976 and 1977 in Arlington before the Rangers traded him to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Dave Tomlin. There in the southern California sunshine, Perry won the 1978 National League Cy Young award.

He then slip-slide-Vasolined his way through another five Major League seasons to bring his win total to 314.

All along the way, he continued to look like your grandfather, just as on his 1976 Topps card.

1976 Topps Gaylord Perry

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June 15, 1976 — Rollie Fingers, A’s to Red Sox

Before the trade …

Fingers was the premier reliever for the dynastic Oakland A’s of the 1970s, but became just another expensive pawn when Charlie O. Finley decided to tear down his monster in 1975-76.

Finley sold Fingers to the Boston Red Sox for $1 million.

Before he headed out of town, though, Fingers looked distinctly 19th century with his handlebar mustache and serif A’s jersey, as on his 1976 Topps card.

1976 Topps Rollie Fingers

After the trade …

Fingers cut up with his new BoSox teammates, mugged for the camera … and then headed back to Oakland when commissioner Bowie Kuhn stepped in and voided the deal because it felt too seedy to him.

From there, Fingers continued his assault on the all-time saves record and won the 1981 American League Cy Young and MVP awards with the Milwaukee Brewers.

All along the way, he maintained his Dick Dastardly sense of style, as you can see on his 1977 Topps card:

1977 Topps Rollie Fingers

But Fingers never made it onto a “real” Red Sox card.

Thanks to the magical airbrush of the guys at the Baseball Card Blog, though, we have a delicious and historically accurate 1976 Topps Traded Fingers to ponder:

1976 Topps Traded Rollie Fingers

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June 15, 1977 — Tom Seaver, Mets to Reds

Before the trade …

Seaver was already a legend in the game, having helped the 1969 Miracle Mets to their unbelievable World Series title with his first Cy Young season … his second CYA came in 1973 when the Amazins again made it to the Series.

Just for good measure, he added a third CY in 1975.

In 1977, though, the Mets were your basic New York City sewer backwash and needed to start rebuilding.

Maybe unbeknownst to most New Yorkers, Seaver’s 1977 Topps would be their last chance to see Seaver in pinstripes (at least for a few years) …

1977 Topps Tom Seaver

… because New York traded Tom Terrific to the Reds for Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, Dan Norman, and Pat Zachry.

After the trade …

Seaver went 14-3 with the Reds in 1978 while staring down batters like an angry Tom Bergeron … like here on his 1978 Topps card:

1978 Topps Tom Seaver

Seaver then reeled off several more winning seasons for Cincy, including a sterling 14-2 mark in the strike-shortened 1981 campaign before heading back to the Mets.

He spent the latter half of the eighties with a variety of teams, including a stop with the Chicago White Sox — when he became Floyd Bannister for awhile.

1985 Donruss Tom Seaver Floyd Bannister Error


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July 31, 1987 — Steve Carlton, Indians to Twins

Before the trade …

By the time the Cleveland Indians traded Carlton to the Minnesota Twins for a PTBNL (Jeff Perry) at the 1987 trade deadline, Lefty was pretty much done as an effective starter.

And he had entered that head-spinning final push of his career that saw him run through the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, and Chicago White Sox during the 1986 season.

He signed with the Indians in April 1987, which meant he didn’t appear on Tribe cardboard until the 1987┬áTopps Traded set:

1987 Topps Traded Steve Carlton

After the trade …

If the Twins were expecting Carlton’s 5-9 record with the Indians to turn around … well … at least he didn’t lose as many games for Minnesota. Still, his 1-5, 6.70 ERA to finish out the season was ugly.

From there, the Twins released and re-signed Carlton multiple times, and he wrapped up his career with them in 1988.

Still, they were the last team for which Carlton appeared on a baseball card, such as this 1988 Fleer cupcake:

1988 Fleer Steve Carlton

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July 31, 1993 — Rickey Henderson, A’s to Blue Jays

Before the trade …

Henderson was in his second stint with the Oakland A’s, and he already held the single-season and all-time records for stolen bases. He was also a run-scoring machine and considered by many to be the greatest leadoff hitter ever.

He looked pretty much like he always had in green and gold, like on this 1993 Topps card.

1993 Topps Rickey Henderson

After the trade …

The Toronto Blue Jays were pushing toward the postseason again at the trade deadline in 1993, hellbent on repeating as world champions.

So they shipped Steve Karsay and a PTBNL (Jose Herrera) to Oakland in exchange for Henderson, their would-be catalyst.

Problem was, Rickey hit just .215 with almost no power in 44 games with Toronto, who won the World Series anyway.

That fall, Henderson signed with the A’s again as a free agent and continued his march toward Cooperstown, but not before he landed some Blue Jay cardboard — like his 1994 Topps card.

1994 Topps Rickey Henderson

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July 31, 1998 — Randy Johnson, Mariners to Astros

Before the trade …

By the 1998 trade deadline, Randy Johnson had fully developed into The Big Unit, and he was a Seattle Mariners legend.

Alas, as an impending free agent and with a middling team behind him, Johnson carried huge trade value.

So … Seattle pushed him to the Houston Astros in exchange for Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen, and a PTBNL (John Halama) — salary dump and prospect reload accomplished.

Unit’s 1998 Topps Opening Day card was among his last Mariners pasteboards.

1998 Topps Opening Day Randy Johnson

After the trade …

Johnson blazed through the National League in the second half like, well, an Astro (whatever that is). His 10-1 record in 11 games was supported by an unbelievable 1.28 ERA and an ungodly 116 strikeouts in 84-1/3 innings.

Those afterburners helped Houston finish 102-60 to win the NL Central before losing the NL Division Series to the Padres.

They also helped Johnson land a big offseason contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, leaving collectors to seek mementos of his time in Houston — like this 1998 Mother’s Cookies Astros card:

1998 Mother's Cookies Houston Astros Randy Johnson

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July 31, 2006 — Greg Maddux, Cubs to Dodgers

Before the trade …

By midsummer 2006, Maddux had long since wrapped up his storied run with the Atlanta Braves and had been back “home” with the Chicago Cubs for two-and-a-half seasons.

The Cubs, though, were the Cubs … losing, in other words. So Chicago sent Maddux to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Cesar Izturis.

It was good to see Maddux in Cubbies pinstripes again, as on his 2006 Topps Heritage card, while it lasted, though.

2006 Topps Heritage Greg Maddux

After the trade …

The Professor went 6-3, 3.30 as LA finished second in the NL West and then lost the NL Division Series to the Mets in three straight.

Maddux’s 2007 Topps Chrome gives you a glimpse of that first brief stint with the Dodgers:

2007 Topps Chrome Greg Maddux

From there, Maddux signed two successive free agent contracts with the Padres — for 2007 and 2008 — before the Friars dealt him back to the Dodgers in August 2008.

And that was the end of the road for Mad Dog, one of the greatest ever.

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July 30, 2008 — Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers to Yankees

Before the trade. …

In the summer of 2008, the Detroit Tigers were headed back down the competitive ladder after having reached the World Series in 2006.

One of the keys to their mid-2000s success was catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who won an AL MVP award with the Rangers in 1999 and helped the Florida Marlins win the World Series in 2003 during a one-year Miami layover.

At 36, though, the future Hall of Fame catcher was expendable, and contenders like the New York Yankees came calling.

Collectors got a last good look at Ivan the Tiger courtesy of cards like his 2008 Topps base issue before he headed to the Bronx in exchange for Kyle Farnsworth.

2008 Topps Ivan Rodriguez

After the trade …

Rodriguez appeared in just 33 games for the Yanks in the second half, hitting an anemic .219 with two homers and three RBI. On the plus side, he did steal four bases and score 11 times.

Still, the Yanks missed the playoffs, and Rodriguez bounced around for another few seasons, via free agency and trades, to the Astros, Rangers, and Washington Nationals.

His brief stint in New York was nothing to brag about, but it was something to card about … check out his 2009 Topps pinstripes:

2009 Topps Ivan Rodriguez

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July 31, 2008 — Ken Griffey Jr., Reds to White Sox

Before the trade …

Ken Griffey, Jr., came home to the Cincinnati Reds in a 2000 trade that everyone said couldn’t happen, but that Reds GM Jim Bowden somehow pulled off.

Junior was going to smash every record there was wearing Riverfront Red and playing in sparkling new Great American Ballpark.

He was going to finally end the debate about who was the greatest player of all time.

He was going to save the Reds.

Only … Griffey was already 30 when Trader Jim brought him to the Midwest, and the physical decline happened fast. The Kid seemed to lose much of his joy for the game, too, and his enthusiasm while locked into his 10-year Cincy contract.

Things didn’t go especially well for Griffey and the Reds, in other words, but he did look pretty good in team colors before management sent him and Cash to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Nick Massat and Danny Richar.

See his nifty 2008 Topps card (ignore the belly):

2008 Topps Ken Griffey

After the trade …

Griffey played below league average levels in the second half for the ChiSox before signing with his original team, the Mariners, for the 2009 season.

It was a much sweeter homecoming than his 2000 Cincinnati tour because a) Griffey was already a lock for the Hall of Fame and b) nobody really expected much from him.

And that’s just what he provided — on the field, anyway — not much.

He did hit 19 homers for the Ms in 2009 before retiring in June 2010, but he got further and further out of shape and became sort of a doddering old man (e.g., maybe missing PAs because he was sleeping in the clubhouse).

Griffey’s 2009 Topps card gave us a glimpse of those things to come, but also a peek at a legend in strange duds (hard to ignore the belly).

2009 Topps Ken Griffey

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