Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One team Hall of Famers.

Night Owl (one of my favorite blogs) had a great post the other day, and at the end talked a bit about the perception of there not being as many players around these days that stayed with the same team.

I've always though that's a bit of a myth, and that the true one team player has always been somewhat rare. I mentioned in my comment that if someone was really bored they could go through the Hall of Fame list to see how many of them played for one team.

Well, I was bored today.

Of 295 Hall of Fame players (not including the Negro Leagues), only 46 spent their entire career with one team. 15.6%.

Lots of them spent the bulk of their career with one team, but a lot of players tried to hang on and spent one season, even one game (Christy Mathewson), with another team. A few, like Ryne Sandberg, started with one team, got traded early, and played the rest of their career for that team.

I'd say that at least as many who played for one team played for 4 or more teams.

6 of the 46 played in the more modern era, where they could have been affected by free agency. It's easy to assume that free agency would help cause the perception that players don't play for a single team any more. However, one part of the perception is that there are 30 teams, so a lot more trades happen then when there were only 16 teams.

So what about the players on the 2011 HOF ballot? Larkin, Bagwell, Edgar, Trammell, Mattingly. All single team plaeyers.  Bernie Williams and Tim Salmon hit the ballot next year. Craig Biggio in 2013. After that most of the top candidates have played for more than one team.

There's only one guarantee. If a Hall of Famer ever played for the Philadelphia A's under Connie Mack, he played for more than one team in his career.

Luke Appling SS AL
Ernie Banks SS/1B NL
Johnny Bench C NL
George Brett 3B AL
Roy Campanella C NL
Roberto Clemente OF NL
Earle Combs OF AL
Bill Dickey C AL
Joe DiMaggio OF AL
Bobby Doerr 2B AL
Don Drysdale P NL
Red Faber P AL
Bob Feller P AL
Whitey Ford P AL
Lou Gehrig 1B AL
Charlie Gehringer 2B AL
Tony Gwynn OF NL
Carl Hubbell P NL
Travis Jackson SS NL
Walter Johnson P AL
Addie Joss P AL
Al Kaline OF AL
Sandy Koufax P NL
Bob Lemon P AL
Ted Lyons P AL
Mickey Mantle OF AL
Bill Mazeroski 2B NL
Bid McPhee 2B NL
Stan Musial OF NL
Mel Ott OF NL
Jim Palmer P AL
Kirby Puckett OF AL
Pee Wee Reese SS NL
Jim Rice OF AL
Cal Ripken Jr SS AL
Phil Rizzuto SS AL
Brooks Robinson 3B AL
Jackie Robinson 2B NL
Mike Schmidt 3B NL
Willie Stargell 1B NL
Bill Terry 1B NL
Pie Traynor 3B NL
Ted Williams OF AL
Carl Yastrzemski OF AL
Ross Youngs OF NL
Robin Yount SS/OF AL

46 OF 295 = 15.6%

19 National Leaguers

27 American Leaguers

3 C

3 1B

5 2B

4 3B

7 SS

13 OF

11 P


  1. A couple of notes on this list (which is great by the way). Roberto Clemente started out in the Dodger organization and came to the Pirates when the Dodgers left him unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. Jackie Robinson was traded to the Giants, but retired instead of reporting to them. Both of these players came close to playing on more than one team in the major leagues.

  2. For sure. What a pair of mistakes by the Dodgers. Roberto is obvious, but Jackie was only 37 and could have been a useful player for 2-3 more years.

  3. Jackie's numbers really began to decline in 1955 and by the end of '56 it was obvious to the Dodgers that he just wasn't the same player (diabetes was starting to affect him, too). Jim Gilliam had staked his claim in the infield and players like Charlie Neal were coming up. The Dodgers had a little trouble filling all the infield spots for a couple of years, but I don't think it was a mistake to cut ties at that point.

  4. There's no doubt that skill wise he was on the decline, but to me the idea of trading Jackie Robinson...I mean, he's Jackie Robinson! The Dodgers broke the color line with him, he gave his heart and soul to that team and put up with all the crap that came with being the first without responding....and they trade him. To the Giants of all teams?

    From my perspective, only being able to look back at it, it seems like a betrayal of "Giant" proportions.

    Not only that, but in '56 he had a decent year, better than '55, and he even finished 16th in MVP voting.

    Having him on the bench in '57, when 28 year old Jim Gilliam put up a 67 OPS+ and 38 year old Pee Wee Reese put up a 47 OPS, and main infield sub Don Zimmer put up a 52 OPS+....It's no wonder they finished 3rd, 11 games back of the Braves. They were only 3 back on August 6 that year, with Robinson on that team they quite possibly would have won the pennant.

    The Giants?