Joe Posnanski

#ironyjerseys Living great* position players with 162 games or fewer for a franchise (Age at the time):

*5+ seasons of 5+ WAR per

Angels: Rickey Henderson (38), Eddie Murray (41)

Orioles: Tim Raines (41), Jim Thome (41), Sammy Sosa (36), Reggie Jackson (30), Vladimir Guerrero (36)

Red Sox: Rickey Henderson (43), John Olerud (36), Adrian Beltre (31)

White Sox: Manny Ramirez (38), Ken Griffey Jr (38), Roberto Alomar (35–36), Kenny Lofton (35), Andruw Jones (33)

Indians: Keith Hernandez (36), Dave Winfield (43), Frank Robinson (38–40)

Tigers: none

Astros: Kenny Lofton (24), Bobby Abreu (22–23), Buddy Bell (36), Ivan Rodriguez (37)

Royals: none

Twins: Graig Nettles (22–24)

Yankees: Jim Wynn (35), Ivan Rodriguez (36), Lance Berkman (34), John Olerud (35), Kenny Lofton (37)

Athletics: Willie McCovey (38), Ron Cey (39), Dick Allen (35), Tim Raines (39), Nomar Garciaparra (35), Mike Piazza (38), Joe Morgan (40), Felipe Alou (35–36)

Mariners: Rickey Henderson (41)

Rays: Manny Ramirez (39)

Rangers: Carlos Beltran (39), Lance Berkman (37), Andruw Jones (32), Kenny Lofton (40), Sammy Sosa (20 & 38), Vladimir Guerrero (35)

Blue Jays: Rickey Henderson (34), Dave Winfield (40)

Diamondbacks: Roberto Alomar (36)

Braves: Graig Nettles (42), Kenny Lofton (30), Jim Wynn (34)

Cubs: Kenny Lofton (36), Jim Edmonds (38), Nomar Garciaparra (30–31)

Reds: Jim Edmonds (40)

Rockies: Dale Murphy (37)

Marlins: Mike Piazza (29), Tim Raines (42), Ivan Rodriguez (31)

Dodgers: Jim Thome (38), Rickey Henderson (44), Cesar Cedeno (35), Andruw Jones (31), Bobby Abreu (38), Frank Robinson (36), Kenny Lofton (39), Robin Ventura (35–36), Dick Allen (29)

Brewers: Felipe Alou (39), Jim Wynn (35), Jim Edmonds (40)

Mets: Bobby Abreu (40), Willie Mays (41–42), Rickey Henderson (40–41)

Phillies: Ryne Sandberg (21), Kenny Lofton (38), Joe Morgan (39)

Pirates: Kenny Lofton (36)

Padres: Jim Edmonds (38), Mike Piazza (37)

Giants: Carlos Beltran (34), Kenny Lofton (46), Reggie Smith (37)

Cardinals: Cesar Cedeno (34), Dick Allen (28), Larry Walker (37–38)

Nationals: Felipe Alou (38), Graig Nettles (43), Pete Rose (43), Ivan Rodriguez (38–39)

Kenny Lofton is listed for 10 franchises, Rickey “only” 6. Old players wanting to extend their career for anyone who will pay them isn’t all that ironic. Pete Rose getting his 4000th hit on the Expos, Hank Aaron (222 games not on list) for the Brewers and Willie Mays on the Mets are probably the three most famous among living players with Babe Ruth on the Braves probably the most famous of all-time.

Out of the 86 living position players who qualify for great* only Ryne Sandberg, Graig Nettles, Kenny Lofton, Sammy Sosa, Bobby Abreu, Roberto Alomar, Rafael Palmeiro and Ozzie Smith play less than 5 seasons for their first MLB franchise. Jeff Bagwell is one of the most famous trades of a young position player before he reaches MLB. Jose Bautista who plays for 4 franchises in 2004 and David Ortiz who is drafted by the Mariners both fall short of the great* criteria.

31 year old Ivan Rodriguez picks a 1 year and $10mil offer from the Marlins over a 3 year and $18mil offer from the Orioles, wins the World Series and then signs for 4 years and $40mil for the last place Tigers who improve by 29 wins his first year with the team.

30 year old Nomar Garciaparra is traded from the 56–46 Red Sox who are 1 game out of the Wild Card spot and then go 42–18 the rest of the season. The Red Sox then sweep the Angels in the ALDS, lose the first 3 games in the ALCS to the Yankees and then win 8 straight. The Cubs were 56–48 and 2 games out of the Wild Card spot, go 33–25 the rest of the season and miss the playoffs. Nomar does get a World Series ring and signs a 1 year free agent contract with the Cubs that off-season but only plays 105 games in 1.5 seasons with the Cubs and qualifies for the list. Nomar being traded away from Boston is certainly pretty famous, remembering which team he was traded to is a little more difficult.

30 year old Reggie Jackson is a really high profile contract dispute, trade and month long sit-out after the trade and then an even more famous free agent contract with the Yankees after the season. The 2nd place Orioles win 88 games but finish 10.5 games behind the Yankees in 1976.

30 year old Adrian Beltre hit 265/304/379 in his final year with the Mariners, bets on himself by signing a one year + player option deal with the Red Sox, collects $9mil and opts to leave after hitting 321/365/553 his one year in Boston. The 2010 Red Sox win 89 and miss the playoffs by 6 games.

30 year old Kenny Lofton and Alan Embree went to the Braves in a massive trade that sent David Justice and Marquis Grissom to the Indians. The 1997 Indians win 86 games and lose Game 7 of the World Series, the 101 win Braves lose in 6 games in the NLCS.

The Lofton trade opens up playing time for Andruw Jones who starts bouncing around at a young age relative to the other players but that’s in part because he declined at a young age hitting 222/311/413 his final year in Atlanta.

Dick Allen has a terrible relationship with Philly fans and management: he is traded from the 1969 Phillies who had won 63 games to the Cardinals who had won 87 games, the trade is one of the most significant in baseball history as Curt Flood refuses to report to the Phillies which directly leads to the creation of Free Agency. Allen plays his 6th last Cardinals game on Aug 14th, 1970 with the team at 56–62, the Phillies are 54–62.

Allen is traded to the 2nd place Dodgers who won 87 games in 1970 but were 14.5 games behind the Reds. The 1971 Dodgers again finish 2nd with 89 wins and 1 game behind the Giants. Allen is traded to the 79 win White Sox and in 1972 the White Sox finish 2nd with 87 wins and 5.5 games behind the Athletics and Allen wins the AL MVP. This is one of the most unusual career stretches in MLB history that one of the best hitters playing at a high level plays for 4 different teams in 4 years.

The final name on the list who is around 30 is Mike Piazza who was a Marlin for 8 days. The Marlins were the defending World Series Champions at the time they traded for Piazza but were also 13–28 with a gutted roster. The Marlins went 1–4 in Piazza appearances while Mike hit 278/263/389 and one of his 8 career triples. Because of the high profile of Piazza leaving the Dodgers and his godfather Tommy Lasorda, more people probably remember Piazza being a Marlin than most of the team/player combinations on the list.

Felipe Alou’s Brewer career is 3 pinch hit plate appearances, 2 strike outs, 1 fly out, 1 inning played in the field and committed an error on the only ball hit his way. The Brewers lost all 3 games that Alou appeared in. This is the worst career with a team on the list but it shouldn’t be that surprising that Felipe was willing to sign for $62,500, about 150% of average MLB salary at the time. Also not terribly surprising that 1 of 24 teams was willing to take a chance on a former superstar hoping for better results and quite possibly got some mentoring value from a future MLB manager.

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