MLB: 10 Best Active Players Who Have Played for Only One Franchise

Tim StoeckleContributor IIIJuly 21, 2012

MLB: 10 Best Active Players Who Have Played for Only One Franchise

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    In today's game, where franchises offer millions of dollars for players to come and play for them, it is rare that an athlete stays with one team for more than five years at a time; even that could be considered a long time.

    Loyalty is a hard thing to find in sports.  Guys like Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, who played their entire Hall of Fame careers with one franchise, just don't come around much anymore.

    Here are the ten best current players who have played for one franchise for their entire career to date.

     

    Note: Players who have played for less than nine years were not considered.

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Derek Jeter

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    The Yankee captain is currently playing in his 18th season in pinstripes.  In New York, Jeter has won five World Series titles and is the franchise's all-time leader in hits, games played, stolen bases and at-bats.

    Jeter has been selected to 13 All-Star games, has won five Gold Gloves and four Silver Slugger Awards. 

    Last season, Jeter became the 28th player in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits.  He has a career .313 average and a .382 on-base percentage.

    Jeter has been the face of the most successful franchise in baseball history for close to two decades and will no doubt be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. 

Chipper Jones

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    At the end of this season, Chipper Jones will retire after 19 seasons in an Atlanta Braves uniform.

    The 1999 National League MVP has a .304 career average, .402 on-base percentage, 462 home runs and 1,598 RBI.

    Jones will go down in the history books as one of the best third basemen in MLB history and one of the best switch-hitters to ever play the game.

    Like Jeter, Jones will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. 

Todd Helton

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    Todd Helton has been one of the most underrated players in baseball throughout his career.

    He's spent 16 seasons in Colorado, where he has set Rockies franchise records for hits, home runs, doubles, walks, runs scored, RBI, games played and total bases.  

    People question whether or not Helton will be a Hall of Famer, but the numbers don't lie.  The best player in Rockies history has a .320 career average, 354 home runs, 1,342 RBI and a .419 on-base percentage.

Mariano Rivera

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    We may have seen the last of Mariano Rivera, despite him saying that he will be back next year.

    Rivera made his MLB debut with the Yankees in 1995, and has worked his way into consideration as the best closer of all time, even though at this point it may not be much of a discussion.  Rivera is the all-time saves leader at 608 and has a career ERA of 2.21.

    Rivera is a 12-time All-Star, five-time World Series champion and won the 1999 World Series MVP Award.

    If we have, in fact, seen the last of Rivera on the field, we will soon be seeing him getting inducted into Cooperstown.

Jimmy Rollins

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    J-Roll is currently in his 13th season in Philadelphia, where he has become the face of the Phillies franchise.

    In 2007, Rollins won the National League MVP Award.  He has also won three Gold Gloves and one Silver Slugger, while being selected to three All-Star teams.

    Rollins has a .271 career average, but it is his defense that has really made him a favorite in Philadelphia.  Rollins has a great reaction time at shortstop and a strong arm that has contributed to his .983 career fielding percentage.

Ichiro Suzuki

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    The 38-year-old Japanese hit machine has spent his entire 12 years in the MLB playing for the Seattle Mariners.

    Ichiro's accolades speak for themselves: 10 All-Star games, 10 Gold Gloves, three Silver Slugger Awards, two American League batting titles, 2001 AL Rookie of the Year and MVP, and in 2009, Ichiro became the second fastest player to reach 2,000 career hits.

    In 2004, Ichiro set a Major League record for hits in a season with 262.

    Ichiro has a .323 career average and 426 career stolen bases.

    When Ichiro retires, he will become the first Japanese player to make the MLB Hall of Fame. 

Michael Young

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    Like Todd Helton, Michael Young has been one of the most underrated players in baseball during his career.

    Young has been in Texas for 13 years and has a .302 career batting average, 172 home runs and 953 RBI.  He has finished the season hitting under .300 just four times, two of which were his first two full seasons in the MLB.

    Young has been named to seven All-Star teams and won the 2008 Gold Glove Award.

    At age 35, Young's career is coming to an end, but he will go down as one of the best players in Texas Rangers history.

David Wright

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    David Wright is in his ninth year with the Mets, and has been the backbone of this team over the past few seasons.

    Wright has been named an All-Star six times and has won two Gold Glove Awards, two Silver Slugger Awards, and is the Mets all-time leader in RBI, doubles, total bases and runs scored.

    Wright is only 29, so he has some more years to go, but he has a career average of .304 and has hit 197 career home runs and has driven in 791 runs.

Joe Mauer

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    Not only has Joe Mauer played for the Twins for nine years, but he was born in St. Paul, Minnesota.  And Mauer is under contract through the 2018 season, so it looks like he'll be a Twin for years to come.

    When his career is over, Mauer may go down as the best hitting catcher of all time.  He has a .324 career average and a .405 career on-base percentage.

    In 2009, Mauer won the American League MVP after hitting .364 with 28 home runs and 96 RBI.

    Mauer has made five All-Star appearances, won three Gold Gloves, four Silver Slugger Awards and is a three-time American League batting champion.

Chase Utley

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    A fan favorite in Philadelphia, Chase Utley is in his 10th year in the City of Brotherly Love.  

    Utley has a career .289 average, 190 home runs and 701 RBI.  

    The scrappy second baseman has played over 150 games in a season only three times, so you can't help but wonder what his stats would look like if he could stay healthy.

    Utley made the All-Star team in every year from 2006-2010 and is a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner.