Patrick Sharp, Jake Arrieta and Paul Konerko. Three names Chicago sports fans will never forget and they have something else in common.
You build championship teams by making the right choices on draft day. The Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox have all done it in the last 15 years. All three teams also made some shrewd trades that changed the future of their franchises.
In December 2005, Blackhawks General Manager Dale Tallon made one of the best trades in team history. Unquestionably top three. "We addressed a need for speed and skill in getting Patrick Sharp," Tallon told reporters after acquiring the 23-year-old winger from the Phialdelphia Flyers.
The deal turned out to be outragously lopsided, as Matt Ellison and a third round pick went to Philly. Ellison never scored another NHL goal and played just seven games for the Flyers. Sharp played 749 games in the Blackhawks sweater. He scored 249 goals and piled up 532 points. He was a key part of three Stanley Cup championships.
So, what does Sharpie have to do with Jake Arrieta and Paul Konerko? They were all part of franchise changing trades that led to championship parades in downtown Chicago.
Anthony Rizzo was Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer's first big trade. Kris Bryant and Rizzo turned into Wrigley's Kane and Toews. But Arrieta's move to the Cubs was just as lopsided as the Blackhawks swap for Sharp. A third key piece to the puzzle. The Cubs found a way to fleece Baltimore in July 2013, acquiring Arrieta and Pedro Strop for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.
Arrieta helped change the Cubs culture by transforming himself from a struggling starter that once had a bright future into a dominating Cy Young winner who threw two no-hitters and helped win a historic World Series championship. He didn't stay in town as long as Patrick Sharp, but his impact was undeniable.
Paul Konerko was a Sharp-like piece for the White Sox. On Nov. 11, 1998, the Sox stole Konerko from the Cincinnati Reds. The price for their future captain was Mike Cameron, who was certainly more accomplished than Scott Feldman, Steve Clevenger or Matt Ellison.
The Sox won big, as Konerko joined Mark Buehrle and developed into one of the faces of the franchise while winning it all in 2005. In 16 seasons on the South Side, Konerko ripped 432 home runs and drove in nearly 1,400 runs.
Three great trades in Chicago sports history and with Sharp waving at center ice this weekend, all three have now said goodbye. Thanks for the memories and the parades.