All One-Team Team: Fan Opinion
In this day of very frequent player movement, I have chosen my all-time team of players who spent their entire MLB careers with exactly one team (starter listed first) and mostly at the indicated position. Most are in the Hall of Fame or will be before too long.
My rules eliminate legends like Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays among other favorites. Even Yogi Berra played four games for the New York Mets in 1975. Albert Pujols just changed teams. My all-time favorite player, Ryne Sandberg, played a handful of games for the Philadelphia Phillies. Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs split his time fairly evenly between first base and shortstop.
From 1939 through 1983, Fenway Park had these two Boston Red Sox legends patrolling The Green Monster. The two of them combined for 973 home runs over the 44-year span, and each won an MVP and a triple crown (Williams won two of each).
Mantle and DiMaggio shared the same outfield in 1951 but played the majority of their careers in center field at Yankee Stadium from 1936-1968 combined. These New York Yankees legends combined for 897 home runs, 22 American League Pennants, and 16 World Series titles. The tough choice of starter went to Mantle because he played more seasons (18) than DiMaggio (13) and won a triple crown.
Both Clemente and Kaline are among the best players of the game regardless of how many teams. Clemente's career and life both ended far too soon. He hit .317 in 18 seasons (1955-1972) for the Pittsburgh Pirates, amassed exactly 3000 hits, and won 12 gold gloves and 12 N.L. All-Star selections. Kaline hit 399 home runs in 22 seasons (1953-1974) for the Detroit Tigers, made 15 A.L. All-Star teams, and won 10 gold gloves.
Schmidt played the hot corner for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1972-1989 and slammed 548 home runs. He also won 10 gold gloves and three MVP awards. Brooks Robinson is the very definition of a gold glove as he won 16 of them consecutively for the Baltimore Orioles in his 23 seasons (1955-1977). He also made 15 A.L. All-Star teams and hit .303 in six postseasons.
Cal Ripken of the Orioles (1981-2001) would start at shortstop on any type of All-Time team. His unbreakable record of 2632 consecutive games is only the beginning. He made 19 All-Star games, hit 476 home runs, and won two MVP awards and the 1982 A.L. Rookie of the Year. Jeter is still going strong after 17 Yankee seasons and will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He owns the Yankee record of 3088 hits through 2011 and has a knack for hitting clutch home runs in the postseason. He has won five World Series.
Jackie Robinson's 10 years with the Brooklyn Dodgers (1947-1956) were not enough. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 1947 and made six All-Star teams. He hit .311 and stole 197 bases, including the infamous steal of home in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series. Biggio manned second base and more for the Houston Astros from 1988-2007. He made seven All-Star teams and won five silver sluggers and four gold gloves.
The Yankees' Iron Horse played in 2130 consecutive games from 1925-1939. Hit blasted 492 home runs and fell only five RBI short of 2000. Gehrig won two MVP awards and finished six other times in the top five. Like Clemente, Gehrig's career and life ended far too early. Stargell played 21 seasons in Pittsburgh from 1962-1982. He hit 475 home runs, made seven N.L. All-Star teams, won the 1979 N.L. MVP for the "We Are Family" Pirates. "Pops" also won two World Series.
Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds (1967-1983) may be the game's best ever defensive catcher, and he could also hit. Bench won 10 straight gold gloves, the 1968 N.L. ROY, two MVP awards, two World Series, and 14 All-Star selections. Campanella is a Hall-of-Fame Brooklyn Dodger from 1948-1957. Campy made eight N.L. All-Star teams and won three MVP awards before tragedy ended his career and left him paralyzed.
DH: Edgar Martinez
The best DH ever, Edgar Martinez hit .312 in his 18 seasons with the Seattle Mariners, mostly as their DH. Martinez hit 309 home runs, made seven A.L. All-Star teams, and won five silver slugger awards. Mariners' fans will forever cherish his walk-off two-run double to win the 1995 ALDS over the Yankees.
What a starting rotation! I stopped at five to match more closely with today's five-man rotation or I could have added a few more. These five legends combined for a record of 1335 - 808 (.623), which averages to approximately 16-9 per season.
Closer: Mariano Rivera
Rivera is the all-time saves leader (603) and a definite first-ballot Hall of Famer. He also has 42 postseason saves and a 0.70 postseason ERA (stats through 2011). He has won five World Series and made 12 A.L. All-Star teams.
OF: Stan Musial, Jim Rice; Bernie Williams; 3B: Pie Traynor, George Brett; SS: Luke Appling, Robin Yount, Ernie Banks, Alan Trammell; 2B: Bill Mazeroski, Lou Whittaker, Frank White; 1B: Don Mattingly, Jeff Bagwell; C: Bill Dickey, Thurman Munson; P: Jim Palmer, Don Drysdale, Mel Stottlemyre, Ron Guidry, Paul Splittorff
Fans can debate these and other players not listed, but that makes these types of topics fun.
Baseball Reference, Individual Player Pages (linked above), baseball-reference.com
New York Yankees, Championship Clubs, newyork.yankees.mlb.com.
Raymond became a baseball fan at a very young age. He played baseball through high school and soon after became a varsity coach. He currently coaches Little League in Florida. Raymond previously produced radio sports talk shows and hosted a weekly baseball radio call-in show.
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