The Best Starting 9 in Each MLB Franchise's History
Baseball is a game steeped in history unlike any other sport. In fact, no other North American sport can boast of a legacy that spans three centuries.
Hall of Famers dot the storied pasts of each Major League Baseball team and fans cherish the memories of their favorite players.
Another season is starting to wind down, and new memories continue to be created. A fresh cavalcade of stars have begun to make their mark on the great American pastime as well.
Bleacher Report will take a look back at each MLB team's history and create a "Dream Team" of sorts for each organization.
The best starting nine for each ball club will not include players who spent just one or two years with a team—only players who made their mark over an extended period of time.
Designated hitters will be included for American League teams, and we will only consider players from 1900 and beyond.
Luis Gonzalez's game-winning hit in Game 7 of 2001 World Series forever etched him in Diamondbacks lore.
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Four Cy Young Awards in first four seasons in the desert—a no-brainer here.
If Montero stays in Phoenix throughout duration of contract, he will take over as franchise leader in games played. Solid, but not spectacular.
Tough decision here, as D-Backs have never had anyone last at first for longer than three-to-four years. Jackson was consistent throughout his time in Arizona.
Solid and consistent performer throughout his six years in Arizona.
Steady with the glove, solid with the bat, Williams was key component of 2001 World Series team.
Slight nod to Drew over Tony Womack. Womack's versatility and production can't be overstated, however.
No-brainer here. All-time franchise leader in most major offensive categories, not to mention popularity.
Three Gold Glove Awards, second to Gonzalez in most offensive categories as well.
Tremendous talent, still only 25 years of age.
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Tough call over Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, but thirteen 20-win seasons shows excellence over long period of time as deciding factor.
Franchise leader in home runs and RBI by a catcher, although Brian McCann could someday shatter both. Props to Del Crandall as well: eight-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove Award winner.
Excellent 17-year playing career, best years with Milwaukee. Slight nod here over Fred McGriff.
Hubbard spent 10 years with the Braves during a down period in franchise history; steady with glove. Got the nod over Mark Lemke.
Mathews and Hank Aaron wreaked havoc on NL pitching for years in the 3-4 holes.
Hall of Fame shortstop who served as spark plug for 1914 "Miracle" Braves.
A .317 lifetime hitter for Braves, including 1970 NL batting title.
Two-time NL MVP doesn't just deserve a spot on Braves' all-time starting nine, but he deserves spot in Hall of Fame as well.
Is there really any explanation necessary here?
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Three Cy Young Awards and 268 wins in stellar 19-year career made Palmer the easy choice here.
I went with the offensive production here, but props also to Andy Etchebarren and Rick Dempsey.
Second-greatest switch-hitter ever behind Mickey Mantle. One of only four players with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. Boog Powell deserves props here also as major offensive force on great Orioles teams of 1960s and 1970s.
An All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner on great O's teams of late 1960s and early 1970s.
No-brainer here for the human vacuum cleaner.
SS—Cal Ripken Jr.
Another no-brainer, although Mark Belanger deserves props for phenomenal defensive abilities.
Steady producer at the plate during eight seasons with the Orioles, lifetime .291 average. Gets the nod here over Don Buford.
Eight-time Gold Glove Award winner, without question one of the great defensive center fielders of his era.
His arrival in Baltimore coincided with a dominant era that produced four AL pennants and two World Series championships.
Lifetime .301 average in Baltimore along with .881 OPS; still all-time franchise leader in home runs and RBI for a designated hitter.
Boston Red Sox
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His dominance in late 1990s to early 2000s gives Martinez the nod over Roger Clemens.
Very tough call here, as I chose Varitek over Carlton Fisk simply because of Varitek's ability to work an entire pitching staff and still produce at a solid level offensively until his later years. Fisk will be rewarded on another slide, however.
While Yastrzemski was known for his exploits in left field, that honor goes to a player just a wee bit better. Yaz did log 765 games at first for Boston, and his 3,419 hits and 452 home runs cannot be left off this list.
A Hall of Famer who played his entire career in the shadow of Ted Williams, but was still a star in his own right.
One of the best pure hitters in the history of the Red Sox.
Cronin is likely more famous as a manager, but his Hall of Fame career as a player can't be forgotten, either. Cronin gets the nod here over Nomar Garciaparra.
I don't think there's an explanation necessary here.
Speaker was the anchor of the outfield during the Red Sox glory years in the 1910s and was MVP of American League in 1912.
The best defensive outfielder ever to play in Boston, Evans won eight Gold Glove Awards and ended his career with 379 HR.
While Edgar Martinez set the standard for designated hitters, Ortiz's accomplishments at the position are extraordinary.
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One of the great National League pitchers of the early 20th century, Brown posted six straight 20-win seasons from 1906-1911 and boasts a lifetime ERA of 1.80 with Cubs.
The franchise leader in games played, hits, homers and RBI. His "Homer in the Gloamin" is a legendary moment in Cubs history.
A .308 average in 13 seasons and four Gold Gloves puts Grace atop this list. If 19th century players were included, Cap Anson would be the pick.
A Hall of Fame career for the man who did it all—nine Gold Glove Awards, 1984 MVP and 10-time All-Star.
His 2012 Hall of Fame induction was long overdue.
Banks could have represented both short and first base on this list.
Fabulous 16-year career with the Cubs that culminated in Hall of Fame induction in 1987.
His 1930 season was one of the most prolific offensive years ever recorded. Wilson's 191 RBI are still the major-league standard.
Throughout the whispers of performance-enhancing-drug use and corked bats, Sosa still hit 545 homers as a Cub.
Chicago White Sox
Frank Thomas is franchise leader in runs, hits, home runs and RBI.
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Lyons pitched most of his career for some truly awful White Sox teams, yet still managed 260 wins, including three 20-win seasons. Won American League ERA title in 1942 at age of 41.
Still the franchise leader in games played, hits, home runs and RBI. His number, 72, was retired by Sox in 1997.
Six-time All-Star is still producing at a high level in 2012 after 16 years.
One of the toughest calls on this entire list, I gave Collins a very slight nod over Hall of Famer Nellie Fox. Collins' .331 average in 12 seasons for White Sox gave him slightest of edges.
Franchise leader among third basemen in games played, hits, homers and RBI.
One of the finest shortstops ever, Appling played his entire 20-year career with White Sox and won AL batting title in 1936 and 1943.
Strangely enough, left field was never a position of great strength or longevity in White Sox history. Minoso gets nod over Carlos Lee.
One of the greatest hitters of early 20th century before his involvement in "Black Sox" scandal.
Outstanding career with White Sox that included four All-Star selections.
The Big Hurt split time between first base and DH during his career, now waiting for Hall of Fame induction to put cap on phenomenal career.
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After five largely inconsistent seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, Walters came into his own as a pitcher with the Reds, compiling three 20-win seasons, a career 2.93 ERA and the 1939 NL MVP award. Slight nod here over Eppa Rixey, the franchise leader in wins.
Not much explanation here for the two-time NL MVP award winner and one of the greatest catchers in MLB history.
Perez is franchise leader in runs, hits, home runs and RBI among first basemen.
The Big Red Machine became even better when Morgan came over from the Houston Astros.
Having played six different positions, the all-time MLB hits leader belongs somewhere on this list.
A three-time Gold Glove Award winner, 12-time All-Star, 1995 NL MVP award winner and now a Hall of Famer.
Foster's 1977 season was one of the most productive in Reds history. A three-time NL RBI leader, two-time home-run leader and winner of the 1977 NL MVP award.
Special player with speed, great range and a solid bat. A .331 lifetime hitter with the Reds.
Robinson only lasted in Cincy until the age of 30. General manager Bill DeWitt then deemed him "an old 30" when trying to explain trading Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles.
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Not only is Feller the best pitcher of all-time for Cleveland, but he was arguably one of its biggest fans as well.
A slight nod here to Alomar over Victor Martinez. Alomar was the 1990 American League Rookie of the Year and a six-time All-Star during his time in Cleveland.
His stint in the military during World War II at the prime of his career derailed what could have been for Trosky. Headaches forced him out of the game in 1946 at just 33 years of age.
Considering the team was named after him in the early 20th century, I think he might deserve a spot on this list.
Slight nod to Rosen over Ken Keltner. Rosen's 1953 MVP season was one of the most productive ever for a third baseman at the time.
This was one of the toughest decisions of this entire presentation. Joe Sewell and Lou Boudreau were both better offensively and worthy of consideration. In the end, Vizquel's eight consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1994-2001 won me over.
Hard to take away the production of Belle during his time in Cleveland—three-time AL RBI leader, two-time leader in total bases and 50 HR in strike-shortened 1995 season.
During his 11 years in Cleveland, Averill was outstanding, earning six All-Star selections. Averill is still the franchise leader in runs, home runs and RBI among center fielders.
The "Manny being Manny" show was outstanding in Cleveland—his 236 home runs are ranked third in franchise history.
Slight nod to Hafner over Andre Thornton. Hafner's .279 average and .892 OPS bested Thornton's .254 and .809 marks.
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It's Colorado, so this pick should be considered the best of the evils. Jimenez's lifetime 3.66 with the Rockies tipped the scales in his favor.
No catcher stood out, but Girardi's .274 average while with Colorado gave him the nod.
The franchise leader in games played, hits, runs scored, doubles, home runs and RBI.
Solid second baseman during his five years in Colorado, Young led the NL in stolen bases in 1996.
Easy choice here, as Castilla is franchise leader in hits, home runs and RBI among third basemen—and by a wide margin.
Even though injuries have marred his career at times, no one matches up to Tulo in Rockies history.
Holliday was a stud for the Rockies in his five seasons there, winning the NL batting title in 2007.
Burks resurrected his career in Colorado after injuries derailed him in Boston and Chicago.
A no-brainer here, he is the franchise leader in most major offensive categories among right fielders. However, Dante Bichette deserves props as well for his productive years spent in Colorado.
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I gave Newhouser the slight nod over Mickey Lolich here. Newhouser's performance in both 1944 and 1945 earned him MVP honors, and his wins in Game 5 and 7 of the 1945 World Series tipped the scales just slightly in his favor.
Another tough choice here, I gave Freehan the edge over Lance Parrish. Both were multiple Gold Glove Award winners with similar career stats. In the end, Freehan's longer tenure with the team and consistency season after season won me over.
As much as I loved Norm Cash, Greenberg's lifetime 1.028 OPS tipped the scales in his favor.
As good a second baseman as there ever was, Gehringer spent his entire 19-year career with the Tigers, winning the AL batting title and MVP award in 1937. Props also to Lou Whitaker, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner and 1978 AL Rookie of the Year.
While he's only played a full season at third base for one year, it would be difficult not to have Cabrera on this list somewhere.
The best shortstop in the history of the franchise. End of discussion.
One of the great stars of the early 20th century, Crawford's 309 career triples is a mark that will likely never be touched. He hit .309 in 15 seasons with the Tigers.
Add Kaline to the list of no-brainers as well. Leading the American League with a .340 average in 1955 at the age of 20 opened everyone's eyes as to how special a player Kaline was.
Well into his late 30s by the time he arrived in Detroit, Evans still produced 141 HR in the latter stages of his career, leading the American League with 40 in 1985.
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A brilliant career cut short by a stroke at the age of 30.
While never a great hitter—.246 lifetime average with Astros—Ausmus was widely respected for his handling of a pitching staff and his defensive abilities, winning three Gold Glove Awards during his time with Houston.
The Red Sox's loss was Houston's gain. An ill-fated trade in 1990 led to Bagwell becoming the all-time franchise leader in home runs and RBI.
One of the greatest players in the history of the franchise, Biggio is the only Astro ever to record 3,000 hits during his time in Houston.
I gave the nod to Rader here over Ken Caminiti, whose best years were actually with the San Diego Padres. Rader was as good as it gets defensively, winning five consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1970-1974.
One of the greats early on for Houston, Wynn hit 221 HR in 11 seasons despite playing half his games at the spacious Astrodome.
A great center fielder with terrific range and blazing speed, Cedeno won five consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1972-1976.
Berkman played all over the outfield during his time in Houston, leaving as the franchise's second-best home-run hitter ever.
Kansas City Royals
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Five pitchers had more wins than Saberhagen in Royals history, but no one can match his two Cy Young Awards.
I had to give Porter the nod just ever so slightly over Mike Macfarlane. While Macfarlane is the franchise leader among catchers in most offensive categories, Porter was simply more productive during his tenure in KC.
Mayberry enjoyed his most productive seasons with the Royals, earning MVP consideration in four of his six years there.
The winner here by a wide margin, as no one comes even close to White in any major offensive category.
Simply the best ever to put on a Royals uniform. Enough said.
While short in stature (5'5"), Patek stands tall among shortstops in Royals history.
The three outfielders on this list were all center fielders by trade, but none of the three can really be left off this list. Otis was a model of consistency in Kansas City, accumulating three Gold Glove Awards, five All-Star selections and hitting .280 over 14 seasons.
Beltran quickly became an offensive force, winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1999 and producing four seasons with at least 20 HR and 100 RBI.
With blazing speed and great range, Wilson was a complete pest at the top of the order for the Royals for many years.
Sweeney's .299 lifetime average and 197 home runs as a member of the Royals earns him a spot on this list.
Los Angeles Angels
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Four no-hitters and setting an all-time record for strikeouts earns Ryan this spot.
Boone was just a .245 hitter during his seven years in Anaheim, but one of the best defensive catchers of his era with four Gold Glove Awards.
This was a tough choice between Joyner and Rod Carew. I gave Joyner the nod simply because of much better production.
Still the franchise leader in hits, runs, home runs and RBI among second basemen.
Glaus' production for Anaheim in the late '90s and early '00s gives him the nod over Doug DeCinces. Glaus' performance in the 2002 World Series (.385, 3 HR, 8 RBI) didn't hurt his cause, either.
Fregosi is still the standard-bearer in hits, home runs and RBI some 40 years after leaving Anaheim.
One of the best in Angels history, Anderson is the franchise's all-time leader in hits, doubles, runs scored and RBI.
I still get chills whenever I watch some of Edmonds' catches in center field.
The 1993 AL Rookie of the Year, Salmon spent his entire 14-year career with the Angels.
Downing was a model of consistency throughout his 13 seasons in Anaheim, retiring with a .271 average, 222 HR and 846 RBI in an Angels' uniform.
Los Angeles Dodgers
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His dominance in the 1960s is unparalleled in any period of MLB history among pitchers.
Three NL MVP awards before a car crash paralyzed Campanella and shortened a spectacular career.
Steve Garvey and Eric Karros were good, but compared to Hodges, no one matches up. Had a run of seven straight seasons with at least 100 RBI from 1949-1955. Three-time Gold Glove Award winner, too, and would have won more if award was offered before 1957.
As smooth on the field as he was at the plate, Robinson teamed with Pee Wee Reese to form one of best double-play combinations in history. A .311 lifetime hitter, he won the 1949 NL batting title along with the MVP award.
The Penguin was always one of the fan favorites in Los Angeles, and for good reason: consistent production throughout his 12 seasons with the Dodgers.
SS—Pee Wee Reese
This honor goes to Reese, although just slightly over both Maury Wills and Bill Russell. Reese is still the franchise leader in runs, hits, home runs and RBI among shortstops.
In his 18 years with the Brooklyn Superbas/Robins, Wheat was one of the most consistent players of his era, compiling a .317 lifetime average. His 2,804 hits are still the standard among left fielders in Dodgers franchise history.
A .300 hitter with power who could patrol the vast expanse of center field effortlessly, Snider is one of the all-time greats in Dodgers history.
Mondesi gets the nod over Shawn Green because of his cannon for an arm, as well as his offensive production.
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His performance in the 2003 World Series gives him the nod over Josh Johnson.
A great defensive catcher, Johnson was one of the early casualties of the Wayne Huizenga sell-off following the 1997 World Series.
Mr. Marlin deserves a spot on this list—he is the only player to appear on the roster of both the 1997 and 2003 World Series-championship teams.
Dan Uggla hit more home runs, but Castillo was a much more well-rounded player who was better defensively as well.
Still the franchise leader in hits, runs, HR and RBI among third basemen; a slight edge over Miguel Cabrera.
Upon his arrival in 2006, Ramirez became an offensive juggernaut for the Marlins, winning the NL batting title in 2009 along with Rookie of the Year honors in 2006.
Floyd's time in South Florida was productive: a .294 average with 110 home runs in five-plus seasons.
The franchise leader among center fielders in runs scored, doubles, home runs and RBI.
Sheffield enjoyed productive years in South Florida as well, clubbing 122 of his 509 lifetime home runs as a Marlin.
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Caldwell and Jim Slaton are only 100-game winners in franchise history.
Simmons' leadership in the early 1980s was a big part of the Brew Crew's success.
While Cecil Cooper put up terrific numbers during his Brewers career, Fielder's production in a much shorter time span overshadows Cooper.
One of the greats in Brewers history, Gantner spent his entire 17-year career in Milwaukee.
Spending the first 15 years of his career in Milwaukee, Molitor was an absolute hitting machine alongside fellow superstar Robin Yount.
It's pretty special to win one MVP award. But to win a second at another position is rare indeed. Yount joins Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial and Alex Rodriguez as the only players in MLB history ever to achieve that feat.
L— Ryan Braun
By the time his career is said and done, Braun could very well be the franchise leader in most major offensive statistical categories.
Stormin' Gorman certainly struck out a lot and hit for a low average, but his home runs were indeed majestic.
While barely weighing 160 pounds, Oglivie's tremendous bat speed allowed him to hit 176 HR in nine seasons in Milwaukee, including an American League-leading 41 bombs in 1980.
While Jenkins manned left field for much of his career in Milwaukee, he can DH here on my starting nine. Jenkins was a model of consistency during his 10 seasons as a Brewer, hitting .277 with 212 HR.
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With 417 wins and 110 shutouts, should there really be anyone else?
By far the franchise leader in every major offensive category for catchers, and he's only 29.
While never garnering many accolades or awards, Hrbek's—along with Kirby Puckett's—leadership during the Twins' championship seasons of 1987 and 1991 earns him a spot on this list.
Seven batting titles in 12 seasons, a Rookie of the Year award and an MVP award pretty safely puts Carew on this list.
Playing for some pretty bad Senators teams throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Travis was an outstanding hitter nonetheless, finishing his 12-year career with a lifetime .314 average.
The best ever for the Twins, bar none.
A standout left fielder, Goslin was a key component of the Senators teams that went to back-to-back World Series in 1924 and 1925. Goslin hit .344 with three HR and seven RBI in the 1924 World Series win over the New York Giants.
One of the most popular players in Twins history, Puckett was simply a joy to watch play the game of baseball.
Another early representative of the Senators/Twins franchise, Rice banged out 2,889 hits during his 19 years in Washington, compiling a lifetime .323 average.
Oliva served as the Twins' designated hitter during the final four years of his career, and while he did much of his offensive damage before that, I'm not keeping his bat out of my starting nine. A Rookie of the Year award winner and three-time batting champion deserves a spot somewhere.
New York Mets
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Three Cy Young Awards puts Seaver on top of this list.
A slight nod to Piazza here over Gary Carter despite the latter's leadership in the mid-1980s. Piazza's production in New York is just too significant to overlook.
His five Gold Glove Awards combined with his .297 average as a Met put Hernandez on top.
Significant contribution for the Mets on the 2000 pennant-winning team plus a .292 lifetime average with 120 HR give Alfonzo the edge over Wally Backman and Felix Millan.
Has already taken over franchise lead in most major offensive categories among third basemen.
No one matches up to Reyes in Mets history in terms of offensive prowess.
I gave a slight nod here to Jones over Kevin McReynolds.
In terms of pure numbers, no one matches up to Beltran, despite his last couple of seasons. Props to both Mookie Wilson and Lenny Dykstra as well.
Imagine his career if substance abuse wasn't an issue.
New York Yankees
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Ruffing gets slight nod over Whitey Ford. His 7-2 record and 2.63 ERA in World Series competition was deciding factor.
His "Yogi-isms" aside, it's hard to ignore three AL MVP awards, a .285 average and 358 home runs.
One of the most productive players in Yankees history, his 2,134 consecutive-game streak aside.
When all is said and done, Cano will earn his rightful place in Monument Park.
With 301 HR, a .293 average and two MVP awards, A-Rod gets the nod over the defensively gifted Graig Nettles.
With the most hits in franchise history, Jeter actually has a legitimate shot to win a batting title this season at the age of 38.
The best pure switch-hitter in baseball history, imagine his career on two healthy knees.
Joltin' Joe's production in 13 years was extraordinary.
They built the man a stadium for crying out loud!
Come on, you didn't think we'd keep Mr. October off this list, did you?
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Plank's 284 wins and 2.39 ERA in the early part of the 20th century have him atop this list.
Cochrane is one of the great hitting catchers, with a .321 lifetime average for the A's, winning the MVP award in 1928 and backstopping the A's to three consecutive pennants from 1929-1931.
Mark McGwire may have hit more home runs, but Foxx's .339 average and two MVP awards put him on top.
A .337 lifetime average with the A's and an MVP award in 1914.
3B—Frank "Home Run" Baker
Baker gets the nod over Eric Chavez, Jimmy Dykes and Carney Lansford. He was the AL leader in home runs three times and RBI leader twice.
The franchise leader in home runs and RBI among shortstops, Tejada gets slight nod over Bert Campaneris.
The MLB all-time leader in stolen bases, leadoff home runs and runs scored easily gets this spot.
He was a great outfielder and key figure on pennant-winning teams from 1929-1931.
Reggie's arrival in Kansas City in 1967 helped lead to a resurgence of the A's franchise, culminating in three-straight World Series championships in the early 1970s.
No, he wasn't a DH during his time in Oakland, but I'm not leaving 363 lifetime home runs as a member of the A's out of my starting nine.
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His 241 wins and four Cy Young Awards give Carlton edge over Robin Roberts.
Franchise leader among catchers in games played, hits and home runs, plus a .275 average and a Gold Glove Award.
His Rookie of the Year award, 2006 MVP award and 296 lifetime home runs put Howard ahead of Dick Allen.
Injuries of past couple of seasons don't take away from the fact that Utley is the most productive second baseman in franchise history.
His 548 lifetime homers, three MVP awards and 10 Gold Gloves give Schmidt the title of best Phillie ever.
His overall production combined with 2007 MVP award and three Gold Glove Awards give Rollins edge over Larry Bowa.
With six seasons of at least 100 RBI and 259 total HR, Ennis gets my vote.
One of the most popular Phillies players in history, Ashburn put together a career in Philly that included a .311 average, two batting titles, three-time NL leader in hits and three-time leader in on-base percentage.
A four-time league leader in home runs, 1932 MVP award and .326 average over 15 years has Klein safely aboard this starting nine.
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A stalwart of the rotation during the 1910s and early 1920s, Cooper's 202 wins are still tops in franchise history.
Tough call between Kendall and Manny Sanguillen. Kendall's .306 lifetime average tipped the scales slightly in his favor.
The unquestioned leader of the Pirates throughout most of the 1970s, his inspirational leadership in his 1979 MVP season was a key to the Pirates' World Series championship.
Mazeroski spent his entire 17-year career in Pittsburgh, and fans will forever remember his walk-off home run in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series.
One of the great third basemen of the 1920s and 1930s, Traynor spent 17 years with the Pirates, hitting .320 with 2,416 hits.
One of the legendary shortstops of the early 20th century, Wagner collected eight batting titles during his years in Pittsburgh, compiling a .328 lifetime average.
His 2,868 hits and .340 average puts Waner on this list even though he was primarily a right fielder.
Another one of the greats in the earlier years of the Pirates, Carey collected 2,416 hits with a .287 average over 17 years, earning Hall of Fame induction in 1961.
One of the greatest right fielders to ever play the game, Clemente collected 12 Gold Glove Awards, four batting titles, an MVP award and exactly 3,000 hits.
San Diego Padres
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A 3.29 lifetime ERA, Cy Young Award and .232 batting average against puts Peavy on top.
The best years of his career were as a Padre. Kennedy gets nod over Benito Santiago.
Gonzalez's slash line of .288/.374/.514 along with an .888 OPS put him ahead of Steve Garvey, Ryan Klesko and Nate Colbert.
Scrappy .298 hitter during his seven years in San Diego.
Phil Nevin logged more homers and RBI during his time with the Padres, but Caminiti was more productive in a shorter span of time.
Templeton fashioned a nice career in San Diego after his trade from the Cardinals for young shortstop Ozzie Smith.
Winfield's Hall of Fame career kicked off in San Diego, where he is still among the franchise leaders in hits, homers and RBI.
Finley's time in San Diego was highly productive, including two Gold Glove Awards.
Best player in franchise history. No further explanation needed.
San Francisco Giants
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His 372 wins as a Giant make him a no-brainer.
Catcher was never a strong position offensively for the Giants. Danning's .285 lifetime average with the Giants gives him slight edge over Bob Brenly and Roger Bresnahan.
His 1959 Rookie of the Year award, 1969 MVP award and 469 lifetime home runs as a Giant have McCovey safely on this list.
Kent was simply the most productive second baseman in franchise history.
His 247 HR, 732 RBI and three Gold Glove Awards put Williams on top.
Playing his entire 15-year career with the Giants, Jackson hit .291 and merited MVP consideration seven times.
His 586 home runs and four MVP awards put Bonds on this list, regardless of PED assumptions and accusations.
I don't think an explanation is needed here.
Although only 5'9", Ott's 511 home runs at the time of his retirement were an all-time record in the National League.
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Johnson's great career in Seattle yielded 130 wins and a Cy Young Award.
A consistent and solid support-producer throughout his 12 years in Seattle, Wilson is the franchise leader in hits, home runs and RBI among catchers.
Davis is the franchise leader in most major offensive categories among first basemen.
A three-time Gold Glove Award winner, Reynolds was a threat on the basepaths as well, leading the AL with 60 thefts in 1987.
Slight edge to Beltre here over Jim Presley for his better slugging percentage and OPS to go along with two Gold Glove Awards.
Four Silver Slugger Awards and the 1996 batting title put A-Rod on this list.
Buhner's 307 HR and 951 RBI give him a berth in this starting nine.
CF—Ken Griffey Jr.
Offensively and defensively, no one was better than Griffey.
His 11-plus years in Seattle produced a Rookie of the Year award, an MVP award, two batting titles, 10 straight seasons with at least 200 hits and the single-season MLB hits record. A jersey retirement and Hall of Fame induction should be next.
Edgar simply set the standard for all other designated hitters to follow.
St. Louis Cardinals
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His tenacity on the mound and ability to pitch well in pressure-packed situations make Gibby the man on top.
A seven-time All-Star during his 13 years with the Cardinals, Simmons hit .298 lifetime with 172 HR and 929 RBI.
His otherworldly performance during his 11-year stay in St. Louis may be difficult for any player to top in the future.
One of the best second basemen in the history of Major League Baseball, Hornsby's .359 average as a Cardinal will never be topped.
Boyer is still the franchise leader in games played, runs, hits, homers and RBI among third basemen.
One of the best trades in team history brought the Wizard to St. Louis.
Brock's trade from the Cubs in 1964 helped capture a World Series, and his legs carried the Cards at the top of the order for years to come.
Upon his arrival from the Anaheim Angels, Edmonds picked up in a new league right where he left off in the old one, becoming the franchise leader in home runs and RBI among center fielders while hitting .285 and winning six-consecutive Gold Glove Awards.
The Man is the main man in Cardinals history.
Tampa Bay Rays
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Franchise leader in wins, games started and strikeouts, although David Price is closing in fast.
Great catchers have never been a staple on the Rays' roster—Hall makes this list by default.
We're talking about the Carlos Pena of old, not Carlos Pena of 2012.
Zobrist is fourth all-time in hits for the franchise. Not much else to say here. Jorge Cantu could be considered a possibility.
Already closing in on franchise records for many offensive categories after only four-plus seasons.
Lugo was productive during his time in Tampa Bay. Honest.
Franchise's all-time leader in hits, stolen bases, runs, doubles, triples and RBI.
Easily the franchise leader in many offensive categories among center fielders, he may not get the chance to extend those records beyond this season.
Huff enjoyed some of the best seasons of his career in Tampa Bay, sporting a lifetime .287 average and .819 OPS while with the Rays.
Solid contributor for parts of five seasons in Tampa Bay—.291 average, 99 HR, 359 RBI.
Michael Young has led the AL in hits twice during his career.
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The Ryan Express finished his career up in Arlington, and 18 years later, Ryan bought the team.
No one produced behind the plate quite like Pudge.
Palmeiro's time in Texas was not spent shaking a finger at Congress—he hit 321 home runs in 10 years with the Rangers.
Kinsler is fast approaching 1,000 hits as a Ranger and is only four stolen bases away from tying Bump Willis for the all-time lead.
Very close call between Bell and Toby Harrah; I gave Bell the edge with better overall batting average (.293 to .257) and OPS (.782 to .745). Bell's six consecutive Gold Glove Awards were a factor as well.
He only spent three years in Arlington, but averaged 52 HR and 132 RBI.
A great pure slugger, Howard's 246 HR and 701 RBI earn him a spot in this starting nine.
Already with a batting title and MVP award (not including this season), Hamilton's status for the future in Texas is still uncertain.
The franchise's all-time leader in home runs and RBI, along with two MVP awards.
Throughout his career, no matter where he played or what he was asked to do, Young simply kept hitting. He is now the franchise leader in hits with a .301 lifetime average.
Toronto Blue Jays
Photo courtesy fanpop.com
Stieb's 175 wins, 3.42 ERA and .239 batting average against are still the standard-bearers in Toronto.
Whitt's 131 HR and 518 RBI are still all-time highs among backstops. Pat Borders gets props as well.
Delgado is the clear leader in most major all-time offensive categories for the Jays.
Alomar's contributions in the early 1990s to back-to-back World Series championships puts him on top of this list.
A two-time All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, Gruber gets nod over Ed Sprague.
The best defensive shortstop in Jays history, Fernandez captured four consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1986-1989.
A slight nod to Carter over George Bell; Carter's homer in Game 6 of 1993 World Series was only the second walk-off homer ever to win a World Series championship.
Wells obviously left his game in Toronto when he headed southwest to Anaheim.
A terrific producer during his nine seasons in Toronto that also resulted in two Gold Glove Awards, Barfield was part of a great outfield trio with Lloyd Moseby and Bell.
Encarnacion's resurgence this season puts him on this list above Paul Molitor.
Photo courtesy roneaston.blogspot.com
Rogers put together a 158-152 record and 3.17 ERA despite playing on some pretty miserable Expos teams. Dennis and Pedro Martinez warrant consideration as well.
His Hall of Fame career was cemented with his play in Montreal. Carter was a seven-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner during his days with the Expos.
The Big Cat had some solid years in Montreal, totaling 115 HR and 473 RBI before moving on. Galarraga could pick it with the glove as well, winning Gold Glove Awards in 1989 and 1990.
The franchise leader in hits, doubles, home runs and RBI among second basemen, Vidro was a three-time All-Star in his time with the Expos.
Wallach is still the standard-bearer in runs, hits, home runs and RBI among third baseman, although Ryan Zimmerman could well top those numbers in a short time.
Cabrera still leads the franchise in hits, doubles, home runs and RBI for shortstops, earning a Gold Glove Award in 2001.
Let's hope this man gets some Hall of Fame love sometime soon—one of the most prolific base-stealers in MLB history along with a .301 lifetime average during his time in Montreal.
Six Gold Glove Awards, a Rookie of the Year award and 225 home runs as an Expo put Dawson on this list.
The franchise's all-time leader in batting average (.323), home runs (234), slugging percentage (.588) and OPS (.978).
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.