Mets’ Francisco Lindor move can join pantheon of New York sports’ top trades

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We have no way of knowing, this moment, if the Francisco Lindor trade will put the Mets over the top, or even if it will make them as good as the Braves in their own division. That’s still the wonder of actually playing the games. That’s where the best testimony is laid.

Still … trades do get a sports fan’s blood circulating in ways that other transactions simply don’t. It’s easy to trace how the 1977-78 Yankees became champions: They added Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson and Goose Gossage in free agency to a roster that was already on the rise. Same with the ’09 Yankees.

Still, in some ways there are many rank-and-file Yankees fans who prefer to think of how the dynasty boys of the late ’90s were built, both through the farm system and an array of smart trades — none smarter than Roberto Kelly for Paul O’Neill, unless you go with Sterling Hitchcock and Russ Davis for Tino Martinez and Jeff Nelson.

A great trade makes the championship that follows all the sweeter. If the Mets schedule a date with the Canyon of Heroes for however long Lindor is their shortstop, they will join this group of most fortuitous trades, all-time, among the teams that call New York home.

(And, as always, we are delighted to hear about any that may be omitted from this list, either through carelessness or ignorance.)

1. Knicks acquire Dave DeBusschere in exchange for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives: Look, this is a no-brainer because it is the single biggest reason why there are two championship banners hanging in Madison Square Garden instead of zero. Eddie Donovan adding DeBusschere to the mix was that vital an element to the Knicks’ championship fiber.

But what’s every bit as amazing is just how immediate the impact was. At the time of the trade, Dec. 19, 1968, the Knicks were 18-17. They instantly won eight games in a row, and 14 out of 15, and 26 of 30. In real time Knicks fans saw exactly how they would make the long march toward May 8, 1970.

2. Mets acquire Gary Carter for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Floyd Yeomans and Herm Winningham: As with DeBusschere and the Knicks, it would take a break-it-in season before the title was delivered, but Carter’s impact wouldn’t wait. He hit a game-winning walk-off homer in his very first game as a Met on Opening Day 1985 (ironically off Neil Allen, the prime bait in the ’80s Mets’ other huge deal, delivering Keith Hernandez the previous June) and finished sixth and third in the MVP votes of 1985 and ’86.

3. Rangers acquire Mark Messier (and, eventually, Jeff Beukeboom and David Shaw) for Bernie Nicholls, Steven Rice and Louie DeBrusk: In many ways this feels like a close comp to the Lindor deal, a big-market team taking a high-priced star and a wingman (Beukeboom then, Carlos Carrasco now) off a smaller market team. What’s fun to remember about the Messier deal is that the Rangers did, indeed, take off immediately, winning the Presidents’ Trophy in 1991-92 — but then they crashed and burned the next year, and Messier actually heard boos at the Garden. Of course, by June 14, 1994, all would be forgiven, and forever.

4. Giants acquire the rights to Eli Manning in exchange for picks that ultimately became Philip Rivers, Shawne Merriman, Nate Kaeding and Jerome Collins: What’s most notable to remember is the sheer wealth of talent Ernie Accorsi wound up using to make Eli his franchise QB, something he’d have had to answer for forever if No. 10 hadn’t delivered a title or two. But he did. So this is one of the most wisely aggressive plays anyone has ever done.

5. Islanders acquire Butch Goring for Billy Harris and Dave Lewis: Maybe the Islanders were simply too rich in talent and would’ve won a few Cups anyway. But at the moment they traded for Goring from the Kings on March 10, 1980, they weren’t just scuffling at 31-28-9 but had acquired a reputation as profound postseason choke artists to the extreme. As with DeBusschere, the results were both immediate — after the deal, the Islanders closed that 1980 season on an 8-0-4 run — and long-term: two months later they’d win the first of four straight Cups.

Vac’s Whacks

In a world of such constant commotion, it remains a pleasant source of normalcy that Friday nights at 10 o’clock “Blue Bloods” can still deliver the goods, week after week.

What are we going to do about the Johnnies?

Kyrie Irving really does keep recalibrating the whole “is-he-worth-it-or-is-he-not” scale, doesn’t he?

What can I tell you? I laugh at every one of those commercials with the life coach teaching people how to not become their parents. Maybe because it’s already too late for me.

Whack Back at Vac

Rob Schwartz: The Johnson Brothers better not take a Band-Aid approach to finding a new coach. Right now the Jets are in cardiac arrest! We are mad as hell and can’t take it anymore.

Vac: After a year of not being able to boo a highly boo-able team, I sense Jets fans are a little salty.

Barry Levine: Can a Knicks victory be thrilling or can the Knicks’ situation truly be hopeful with James Dolan as the Knicks owner? That seems like a problem that can’t be ignored.

Vac: The hope has to be some early success will allow him to trust Leon Rose, Tom Thibodeau and company as completely as he does the men who run his hockey team.

@jmpdds: I guess we are seeing the real Sandy Alderson, sans the handcuff, that was Jeff Wilpon.

@MikeVacc: Alderson was always too much of a gentleman to betray what was really on his mind the first time around.

Frank Connolly: Joe Douglas said that “Sam [Darnold] has a bright future in this league and will be a great quarterback.” Then why would you get rid of him?

Vac: I do think it’s possible that he can be a great quarterback and that greatness might only be full realized in a different setting.

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