By: Daniel Wilkins
*note: For simplicity purposes, I am only including Hall of Famers in this article.
For some players, they are only recognizable with the uniforms they wore during their careers. Pete Rose is known as a Red, Babe Ruth is known as a Yankee, and Ted Williams is known with the Red Sox. However, despite this, some players have shortly played with teams that may be surprising to you. Usually, the players play on these teams during the beginning or end of their career, but regardless, they’re still fascinating.
The Babe In Boston… again
The Sultan of Swat, also known as Babe Ruth (plus another 100 nicknames & aliases), was a former pitcher for the Red Sox in the infancy of his career. Many sports fans refer to the selling of Ruth to the Yankees as the “dumbest trade in sports history”. Once he turned 40 years old, he decided to depart from the Yankees and sign with the Boston Braves for the 1935 season. He would only play 28 games, hit 6 homers, and drive in 12 runs. He’d also have a measly batting average of .181.
Mays the Met
Willie Mays already had a lengthy tenure in New York before this event. He was on the New York Giants (no, not the NFL club) from 1951-52, and from 1954-57. Then, the Giants would relocate to San Francisco, and Mays would ride out his career in the Bay. However, in the midst of the 1972 season, the Giants traded their star of the 60s to the New York Mets, in exchange for pitcher Charlie Williams and $50,000. In defense of the Giants, Mays was 41 years old, and batting .181 in the 19 games he’d played with the Giants that season. Mays did decent in his 69 NY games in 1972, and made the All-Star team for the 23rd consecutive time.
In 1973, Mays returned to the Mets, earning another All-Star appearance, but only batting .211 in 66 games before formally retiring at the end of the ‘73 season.
Boggs in Tampa Bay
Wade Boggs is one of the few generational players who’ve played in the MLB without having much of a power threat. When we think of current “generational” players, i.e. Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, etc, all of them share the same trait: power in the batter’s box.
Boggs was a different story, as he obtained 3,000 hits despite hitting 118 home runs throughout his 18-year career. The final two seasons out of 18 were spent with the newly developed Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and Boggs was selected in the expansion draft, departing the Yankees.
Boggs would spend the inaugural and second season in Tampa’s history there, and would retire after the 1999 season. However, Boggs’ 3,000th hit was a home run, and one of the greatest moments in Tampa Bay’s baseball history.
The Miami Hawk
Andre Dawson shared 17 of his 21 MLB seasons with the Montreal Expos and the Chicago Cubs, but also was a Red Sox outfielder for two years (1993-94) towards the tail end of his career. More surprising was his final destination: the Florida Marlins.
While Dawson would not be selected as part of an expansion draft, he was welcomed warmly by the fans of Miami, looking for a star to get them to success. However, despite the fact that Dawson was a surefire Hall of Famer, he was extremely degraded in quality by the time he got to Miami and failed to even produce WAR numbers in the positive range in his two partial seasons there.
Combining numbers from 1995 and 1996, Dawson’s slash line in Miami was .261/.306/.430/.736, hit 10 homers and drove in 51 runs in his 121 Marlin games.
Maddux to SD
Greg Maddux, like Andre Dawson, shared most of his career with 2 teams; Atlanta for 11, Cubs for 10. Maddux re-joined the Cubs in 2004 and would be traded two years later in ‘06 to the LA Dodgers. The Dodgers weren’t keen on keeping “The Professor”, so he decided to bring his teachings of a good slider down to the San Diego Padres.
Maddux went 14-11 with a 4.14 ERA in his 2007 season with San Diego (he is 41, after all). While for the start of 2008, his ERA did lower to 3.99, the Padres were also not confident in their aging arm and sent him back to the Dodgers, revisiting Chavez Ravine like he did in 2006.