It is one of the most anticipated dates on the baseball calendar; the July 31 trade deadline. That day when teams make the move they think will help them make it to the postseason. Why does such a deadline exist? Well, you can thank the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox for it. They made a trade that caused quite the hubbub because of the timing of it.
On July 23, 1922, the Yankees found themselves locked in a tight pennant race with the St. Louis Browns. So the Yankees acquired third baseman Joe Dugan from the Boston Red Sox for four players and $50,000. People throughout baseball complained deals like this should not be allowed to occur so late in the season.
American League President Ban Johnson called it a “regrettable transaction”. Washington Senators’ owner Clark Griffith wanted legislation against sales and trades after July 1st except for waiver deals. The Yankees’ owners successfully got him to withdraw his plan. Ultimately, Major League Baseball established June 15th as the official non-waiver trade deadline starting in 1923. That date served as the deadline until it was moved to July 31st.
Dugan wound up helping in two completely areas: getting the Yankees to their second straight World Series and establishing a deadline for trades in Major League Baseball.