Everyone remembers Tennessee Titans legend Randy Moss, right? Arizona Cardinals legend Emmitt Smith? No?
Well, nevertheless, just like the NFL, baseball has a plethora of marquee players who have played for teams that absolutely no one remembers. Here are the top 5 instances.
If you think I missed anyone, or if you have a suggestion for the next Top 5 list, tweet us at @FPC_MLB.
5. Randy Johnson – Houston Astros
Johnson was traded from Seattle to Houston midway through the 1998 season, and despite not many having much of a recollection of this ever happening, was fantastic in the lone star state.
Perhaps more than anyone else on this list, Johnson was one of the best in baseball for Houston. In 11 starts for the Astros, Johnson put up a 1.28 ERA, spinning four complete game shutouts in the process. He also struck out 12.4 hitters per 9 innings, which would have been his third highest career mark for a single season.
Johnson didn’t help the ‘Stros make any noise in 1998, as they were defeated by the San Diego Padres in 4 games in the NLDS that year, and Johnson would depart to Arizona in the offseason for the first of his two stints there. Houston actually wasn’t Johnson’s most obscure career destination, so we will see him again later on in this list.
4. Ken Griffey, Jr. – Chicago White Sox
It’s hard to believe there was a point in time in which Jerry Reinsdorf paid to have a star player on his baseball team, but that was the case in 2008, when the White Sox traded for then-Reds star Ken Griffey, Jr.
Griffey didn’t really do much for the Sox, hitting 3 bombs in 41 games on the South Side of Chicago, all while slashing .260/.347/.405. This was one of the last years in Griffey’s career, so naturally, he really didn’t etch himself into White Sox lore.
He did, however, make a huge play for the Sox in 2008. His throw from CF in the 2008 AL tiebreaker game, known locally as the “Blackout Game”, to nail Michael Cuddyer at the plate helped win the Sox a chance to make the playoffs. They’d ultimately lose in the ALDS to Tampa Bay, and Griffey would leave to return to Seattle in the offseason.
3. Greg Maddux – Los Angeles Dodgers
Maddux is the only two-parter on this list. The Dodgers acquired Maddux in 2006 from the Cubs, hoping he would catapult the Dodgers to the division crown. They actually tied with San Diego for the NL West Title that year, falling to the Wild Card by virtue of a tiebreaker. They would then get Swept by the Mets in the NLDS.
Maddux then signed with the Padres, another obscure career destination, before getting traded back to the Dodgers a year and a half later. Overall, with Los Angeles, Maddux put up a 3.94 ERA in 19 starts, spread out over two stints.
Maddux actually retired a Dodger after that second stint, and then rejoined the organization for a couple months in a front office role in 2016.
2. Randy Johnson – San Francisco Giants
I told you he would be back.
Randy Johnson actually made history in a Giants uniform, yet I have zero recollection of it ever happening. In 2009, Johnson signed with the Giants at the age of 46, just a few wins shy of 300. He would achieve that against the Washington Nationals, becoming just the 7th lefty ever to do so.
Johnson spent much of his tenure in San Francisco on the disabled list, but still managed to throw 22 outings for the Giants. Unfortunately for Randy, it came with a very uninspiring 4.88 ERA. He would retire following that season.
1. Babe Ruth – Boston Braves
Almost everyone knows that Babe Ruth played in Boston. We’ve heard the story over and over again, he was sold to the Yankees to fund a Broadway play, cursing the Red Sox for 86 years.
However, what most don’t know, is that Ruth returned to Boston. He didn’t return to the Red Sox, but the Great Bambino finished his career as a Boston Brave in 1935. He didn’t play all that much for the Braves, only 28 games, which is why almost everyone has forgotten about this footnote in history.
Ruth was also largely ineffective for Boston. He had a hole in his bat teh size of a small country, striking out 24 times in 92 plate appearances. He did, however, slash a respectable .181/.359/.431 in those 28 games, hitting six home runs.
Ruth was also assistant manager for the Braves during this season, or at least up until his retirement in early June.