Sunday Frivolities

Even more difficult to find is a Hall of Fame class that played their entire careers with one team.

One of the most nostalgic sentiments in baseball is the desire for players to play their entire careers with one team. It is the ultimate sign of loyalty. The team believes in the player and sees him as something more than simply a player. The player makes him home in one city and believes the team is part of his family. George Brett played his entire career in Kansas City, and it would be tantamount to blasphemy to criticize him there. Mickey Mantle is one of the most beloved Yankees ever after playing his entire career in New York. Chipper Jones is cementing a similar status in Atlanta after he signed an extension that will probably keep him there for the rest of his career.

Of course, it doesn’t always work that way, and for most players, they’ll play in several different places during their careers. In the aftermath of the release of Tom Glavine (wait for the next post), Lar put up a really good post on how players end up in odd places at the end of their careers. It’s really hard to stick in one place. The team’s situation, the player’s production, money, trades and free-agency (at least in the last 30 years) lead to a player leaving town. It’s sad, but you get over it after a while.

Anyway, the business surrounding Tom Glavine got me to thinking about who had played for the most franchises. I wish there was a Franchise% stat that calculated how many franchises a played played for over the amount possible. Because while modern players will play for more teams, there are more teams to play for. It doesn’t necessarily mean that more older players played for the same team or changed teams fewer times.

Regardless, I looked up who had played for the most franchises on Baseball-Reference. Ron Villone and Mike Morgan each lead with 12 different franchises, and considering their careers as relievers, I’m not too surprised, though I’m surprised Villone was around long enough.

Matt Stairs, Julian Tavarez, Royce Clayton, Kenny Lofton, Rick White, Terry Mulholland, and Todd Zeile come next with 11 franchises. Zeile actually surprised me a bit. I only really thought of him as a St. Louis Cardinal and Los Angeles Dodger, but as I looked at his page, I started remembering him in all those different uniforms. It’s weird how you only remember certain players in certain uniforms, and it’s even weirder how I usually correllate Zeile and the Dodgers even though he spent less than 10% of his career there.

Coming next with 10 franchises are Alan Embree, Dennys Reyes, Paul Bako, Roberto Hernandez, Kevin Jarvis, Dan Miceli, Ken Brett, Tommy Davis, and Bob Miller. Reyes is the big surprise for me. He’s been pitching since he was 20 in 1997. He was traded 3 times, and has been granted free-agency 6 times. At age 32, he’ll probably pass Villone and Morgan in about 3 seasons.

The earliest pre-1950 player is Bobo Newsom (remember the walks post the other day?) with 9 franchises from 1929-1953. Otherwise, it gets down to 8 franchises and 150 players before some older players start showing up more regularly.

Over 350 players have played for 7 or more teams. Guys get around.


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