What if I told you a dynasty was started well before their time of reckoning?
ESPN Films presents a 30 for 30 story,
FOWL PLAY: The folly of the Chicago Hawks
The trade between Grafton and Boston has been well discussed as a big turning point in the league’s history. It provided Boston with three players, one of which was inducted into the Hall of Fame and another that has a good chance of making the Hall of Fame this off-season or next off-season. In return Grafton received five players, none of which have been or will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
This trade in January, 2020 helped Boston expand their trophy case from 5 trophies (3 President’s Shields, 1 Grand Championship, 1 USBA Cup) to a total of 20 trophies. From 2020 to 2033, Boston won 15 trophies; 8-Straight PL Shields, 1 Grand Championship, 1 Tournament of Champions, 5 USBA Cups. This included winning the Treble for the first time in franchise history and the third time in association history (Brooklyn 2018 & ‘19), doing so in the same year as the trade (2020).
Grafton has since increased their trophy case from 1 (2015 USBA Cup) to an astounding 2. This was done after relocating to Nashville. The franchise won the Third League presented by Menards in 2023. Only one player from that fateful trade in 2020 remained on the roster, and a second player that was acquired after trading away a player from that trade.
The trade was, without a doubt, a disaster for the franchise, but this is not where this origin story begins. This story begins a few seasons prior.
In the off-seasons of 2016, ‘17, and ‘18, Boston was able to acquire a number of players relatively cheaply. Two were draft picks, Scotty Anderson and Andrés Martínez. Two were free agent signings, Pancho Ruíz and Brian Wheeler, who signed minor league contracts for a combined $860,000 (all to Ruiz). The remaining five players were all amateur International Free Agent (IFA) signings. These five men were Domingo Posadas and Gerardo Márquez (2016), Lorenzo Ramírez and Javier Santos (2017), and Alfredo Suárez (2018). These five players were acquired in the amateur IFA periods from 2016 through 2018 for a total of $1,722,000, with $1,000,000 as the most given out and $50,000 as the least.
THE BROOKLYN PROJECT
November 24, 2018
Brooklyn had won the first Treble in association history and the Boston general manager knew that something needed to change if he was going to break the stranglehold held by the Dodgers, led by Ray Sears, Thom Wilcox, and Todd Hines.
The much maligned Chicago Hawks were struggling in the Third League and were trying to make a splash to come out from under the shadow of the much larger club in town, the Chicago Gold Sox. The Chicago Hawks general manager would agree to a trade on this day that would set in motion the cataclysmic event that would change the USBA world forever. With the trade on this date between Chicago and Boston, the entire USBA history would be forever and permanently altered.
On this day, Boston sends three players, Andrés Martínez, Javier Santos, and Lorenzo Ramírez to the Chicago Hawks for their 1st round draft pick in the upcoming 2019 draft, the #4 Overall pick.
Martinez would never suit up for the Chicago Hawks in his 16-season career. He summed up a total of 311 games, 429 Ks, 5.05 ERA, and -0.4 WAR.
Santos would never reach the majors and was released by the Chicago Hawks in 2026. He would retire the following off-season.
Ramirez was the only player to play for Chicago, but only briefly. He would see one season of major league action. In 61 games, he would have 41 Hs and 3 HRs for a -0.6 WAR.
Boston used the #4 overall pick to select P Lynwood Matos out of UNLV. Although he would never play a game in Boston, he would prove to be a major piece in this epic tragedy.
A NEW DISCOVERY
December 4, 2018
In what was surely viewed as a harmless trade at the time, Boston traded former free agent signing Pancho Ruíz to Louisville in a one-for-one deal that brought Leonard O’Connor to Boston.
Ruíz, who was signed on September 21, 2018, was paid $860,000 to never play a game in the Boston organization and was traded 2 months, 13 days after his initial minor league contract was signed. Ruíz would spend a couple seasons in the minors before being traded again to Montana, where he made his Major League debut. Over the span of his three-season major league career, he would amass 30 games accumulating career statistics of .186 AVG, .3 HRs, and -0.4 WAR. All 30 games were played in Montana before being released in 2023 and subsequently two seasons later in 2025.
O’Connor had a much better career, but he did not stay in Boston for too long. In the 6 months, 8 days that he was a member of the Boston Patriots, he played a total of 32 games accumulating .301 AVG, 8 HRs, and 1.4 WAR. Over the course of his entire 14 year career, he had 1291 games played, .260 AVG, 153 HRs, and 19.3 WAR.
After his just over 6-month stay in Boston, he was traded.
June 12, 2019
Leonard O’Connor and two other Boston players were traded to an unsuspecting rookie General Manager (GM) . The newly appointed GM had only been on the job for a few months before this trade was made.
O’Connor, along with Gerardo Márquez and Brian Wheeler were dealt to Lone Star (now Montana) for Daniel Martínez, Miguel Márquez, and Jesús Martínez.
Gerardo Marquez never played in the major leagues. After retirement, he changed his name to Jim Unknown.
Wheeler, who only pitched 5.2 innings over two games for Boston, accrued a 9.53 ERA and -0.1 WAR for the club. In 180 career games, he had a career 4.10 ERA and 6.9 WAR.
The three players Boston would acquire would all be subsequently traded.
Miguel Márquez played small roles in Montana, Richardson City, and Montana again before being traded back to Boston where he went on to play 397 games and hit .241 AVG and 9 HRs and accumulate 5.5 WAR.
Jesús Martínez would not play a single game in the majors for Boston, and was subsequently traded in a 7-for-4 trade to California that would include a past-his-prime Sozen Raikatuji.
Daniel Martínez never pitched a game for the major league Patriots. He was traded before his 11-season career began. He pitched in 107 games, tallying 564 IP, 546 K, 4.45 ERA and 5.1 WAR.
THE FINAL STEPS
October 14, 2019
In another trade that barely made the ESPN ticker that day, Boston traded previously signed amateur IFAs Alfredo Suárez and Domingo Posadas to Lexington for Joe Craig and José Álvarez.
Suárez never played in Lexington and was traded after their relocation to DC. Suárez would play in parts of 5 major league seasons, accumulating a .248 average and a -1.1 WAR in New Amsterdam.
Posadas would have a better career. 10 of his 11 major league seasons were playing in DC. For his career, he pitched in 262 games with a 3.24 ERA and acquired a 1.6 WAR.
Joe Craig was dealt in the same trade as Jesús Martínez to acquire a war torn Sozen Raikatuji. He would play many of his days in the Hartford-Greenville organization and retired with a summation of 647 major league games. For his career, he would accrue .217 AVG, 71 HRs, and a 6.9 WAR.
José Álvarez was the final piece to the Brooklyn puzzle. In his career, he would play a total of 515 games. In those games he had .277 AVG, 17 HRs, and 2.7 WAR.
January 27, 2020
Brooklyn had just won the Treble for the second season in a row and their grip on the league continued to grow. Knowing this, Boston Patriots’ general manager knew it was time to strike and make his presence known. The time was right to unleash what he had been scheming for so long. In a trade that has lived in infamy, Boston and Grafton agreed to what is now known as The Trade.
Grafton sent to Boston three players that would go on to have lasting impact on the franchise and the league; Jorge Aguirre, Lúcio Sánchez, and Yuri Volkers.
Boston sent newly acquired José Álvarez, 2018 draft pick Scotty Anderson, inaugural draft pick Edgardo Marín, trade acquired Daniel Martínez, and…
Lynwood Matos, who was acquired with the #4 Overall pick from Chicago Hawks.
José Álvarez would go on to post -1.6 WAR over 315 games for Grafton. He would retire after four seasons in Grafton.
Scotty Anderson would play 7 seasons in Grafton. Over those 7 seasons, he would play in 580 games, bat .261 AVG, hit 59 HRs and accrue 13.7 WAR. He was later traded to Montana where he would play one season before retiring.
Edgardo Marín was later traded back to Boston in the same season for Carlos Maldonado, a then prospect that eventually accrued 10.6 WAR all for the Grafton-Nashvhille franchise in 9 seasons. Maldonado retired after the 2035 season.
After being traded back to Boston, Marín would pitch an additional 4½ seasons before becoming a Free Agent and signing with DC. The right handed pitcher had 0.2 WAR in his second stint with Boston. Marín retired in 2032.
Daniel Martínez pitched in 77 games for Grafton over a span of 6 seasons. The pitcher posted a losing record of 22-24 with Grafton with an ERA of 4.20 and striking out 411 batters. He ended his time in Grafton with a 3.3 WAR and became a free agent in 2032. He retired in 2037 after tearing his labrum while pitching for Montana.
Lynwood Matos, the catalyst to this entire saga, played his entire 13-season career in Grafton. The Closer never really lived up to his draft position. He pitched in 343 games, collecting 142 Saves, 581 Ks, 3.50 ERA, and a 13.1 WAR.
Yuri Volkers was the weak link of this trade that Boston received, which may have come as a surprise at the time. The then 39 year-old veteran pitcher came to Boston with an already accrued 27.4 WAR, all after the age of 31. He would only accrue 0.9 WAR with Boston, but would throw 91.1 IP and accrue a 2.45 ERA for the 2020 Treble winners. He would retire after the 2022 season.
Lúcio Sánchez would go on to play in 12 seasons for the Boston Patriots. He is most known for winning the 2022 Gold Ball. He played 243 Games for the Boston Patriots, and was credited with the win in 106 of those contests. He had 1551 Ks, a 2.75 ERA and a WAR of 42.5 all in Boston. These numbers, combined with his three seasons in Grafton was enough to get him elected to the USBA Hall of Fame in the Class of 2038.
Jorge Aguirre would play 13 seasons in Boston. Aguirre is most known for being the only player to win both the Gold Ball, which is given to the USBA’s Premier League’s best pitcher, and the Gold Bat, which is awarded to the USBA’s Premier League’s best player. He accomplished this in the year of the trade, 2020. That season he went 20-0 while striking out 271 batters and posting a USBA Record 1.11 ERA. This was good enough for 7.0 WAR. he would end his time in Boston with 273 games played, 104 wins, 1582 Ks, and a 34.0 WAR. He is still awaiting a call from the Hall of Fame voters, inducting him into the hallowed grounds.
EPILOGUE: TRIUMPHS AND TRIBULATIONS
These events changed the course of the United States Baseball Association for decades to follow. Boston’s reign over the league and Grafton’s floundering has been well documented previously in this passage and does not need to be detailed here. This is for the others that have fallen in the Patriots’ wake.
Lexington experienced a higher time prior to the trade. They were Presidents’ Shield and Grand Champion winners in 2014. After the trade, they relocated to the District of Columbia, where they finally earned their third trophy in 2029, a Silver League Championship.
Montana has had some ups and many downs. Despite winning two trophies since the trade, 2026 Third League Title and 2030 Americana Cup, they have had the lowest of lows. In 2028, the Montana Pandas set the record for fewest wins in a USBA season with 11.
Louisville, after experiencing trying times in the city, a relocation from and back to the city, finally relocated for good to Portland for the 2026 season. Portland helped unseat Boston from their reign of terror, but soon became what they sought to destroy. Overcome by greed, their general manager was subsequently banned for life by the USBA Board Office for corruption and abusive behavior. The current general manager has done well in the wake of scandal.
Lastly, the Chicago Hawks experienced short term gains in winning the 2019 Americana Cup and the 2020 Third League to gain promotion to the Silver League, but they experienced 16 seasons of losing. They were relegated from the SL after three seasons and they left the city for good after the 2031 season where a new stadium in the young, growing metropolis of Quebec City was built for them. This did not favor them though and they were out of town after only four seasons. They moved to San Mateo County in California. The first season in Northern California, the team won the Third League Championship and is currently battling for promotion to make the franchise’s first Premier League appearance since their establishment in 2015.
All trades in today’s post can be viewed in the newly created The Trade Tree Project, which can be found in the link below. The Trade Tree Project is an ongoing record keeping that seeks to find all trades leading up to and after The Trade. If you would like more information on or if you would like to assist in the advancement of the The Trade Tree Project, feel free to reach out to the creator of this post.