American League's Longest Tenured Players by Team
In today's era of free agency and high franchise turnover, it's rare to see players stay in one place for very long.
Long gone are the days of Mickey Mantle, Brooks Robinson, Al Kaline, Alan Trammell, and even Bernie Williams.
This list will celebrate the players that have been with their current team the longest. This will include players that not only have played with just one team, but also those that began their careers in another place, but found a permanent home with their current team.
A quick shout-out to Cot's Baseball Contracts, a clearinghouse for MLB contract information, and the source of any contract information in this list. Also thanks to the great people at Baseball-Reference, simply the best place to find baseball stats anywhere.
Keep an eye out for the National League's Longest Tenured Players, coming soon to a computer near you.
This list and the stats included within are as of August 13, 2009.
Find a mistake? Have a thought on what this list will look like in a few years? Well, let me know in the comments!
Kansas City Royals - David DeJesus 2003
DeJesus has quietly been impressive as Kansas City's center fielder for the last six plus seasons. since assuming full-time center field duties with the trade of Carlos Beltran to Houston in 2004.
DeJesus has been the subject of trade rumors in the past, but his team-friendly contract, signed in 2006, might keep in Kansas City for the near future. Kansas City has him locked up in 2010 and has a club option for $6 million in 2011, or a $0.5 million buyout.
Key stats with Royals
Hits - 813
HR - 51
Triples - 41
RBI - 336
BA - .284
OPS - .777
Cleveland Indians - Travis Hafner 2003
Had this list been made three weeks ago, Cliff Lee would be taking the cake as the longest tenure Indian. But today, instead of eating cake in Cleveland, Lee is pitching lights out in Philadelphia. Travis Hafner, nicknamed Pronk, assumed the top position with Lee's departure.
With a hefty contract, $40.25 owed through 2012 including a buyout of his 2013 option, it is likely that Hafner will be in Cleveland for awhile. For the sake of the Indians, this one-time feared slugger will need to return to his pre-2007 form, but at 32, it is looking like his contract will go down as one of the worst all-time.
Bad contract aside, the trade that brought Hafner to Cleveland from Texas was a steal for the Indians. For one season of Einar Diaz and two of Ryan Drese, the Rangers gave up Hafner.
If Hafner is moved, teammate Jhonny Peralta, who also debuted with the Indians in 2003, will take his crown. While Hafner played Opening Day that season, Peralta did not debut until June.
Key stats while a member of the Indians
Hits - 754
HR - 157
RBI - 528
BA - .283
OPS - .924
Tampa Bay Rays - Carl Crawford 2002
Carl Crawford, along with Scott Kazmir, are the only players on Tampa's current roster to play more games as Devil Rays than as Rays, believe it or not. Both are rumored to be on the trading block this winter, so B.J. Upton might be in line to assume the title.
Crawford, known for his speed, is currently leading the American league in steals, looking to beat out Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox to claim his fifth league title in that category.
Key Stats as a member of the (Devil) Rays
Hits - 1252
BA - .295
OPS - .772
HR - 82
Triples - 90
RBI - 489
Steals - 355
Three Time All-Star Selection
Minnesota Twins - Michael Cuddyer 2001
An often overlooked contributor for the Twins, Cuddyer's abilities are all to well known to fans of other teams in the AL Central. Against the Twins' division rivals, Chicago and Detroit, Cuddyer flexed his muscle hitting three homers against each team with a combined 17 RBI in the Twins' 23 most important games of the season thus far.
Teams in the Central know not to turn their back on the Twins, and Cuddyer is a main reason why they seem to always be in the competition. His bat and defensive versatility have made him a thorn in the side of many teams in his nine seasons in Minnesota.
Key stats a a member of the Twins
Hits - 737
HR - 94
RBI - 392
BA - .268
OPS - .794
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim - Scot Shields 2001
Scot Shields along with Chone Figgins and John Lackey are, incredibly, the only players that remain from the 2002 Angels, which won the lone World Series championship in team history.
Shields is currently on the 60 day disabled list and is out for the season with a knee injury. He is signed through 2010.
For years Shields was quietly a very important cog in the Angel bullpen, accumulating 154 holds, including four consecutive seasons of 30 or more from 2005-2008.
W/L Record - 46-41
Holds - 154
Saves - 21
ERA - 3.03
Detroit Tigers - Brandon Inge 2001
Coming up as a catcher, Brandon has found a permanent home at the hot corner, and has become one of the best defensive third basemen in the game.
Losing his starting job, not once, but twice with the additions on Ivan Rodriguez in 2004, and Miguel Cabrera in 2008, Inge has shown his versatility and resilience.
Inge was forced to move to third base with the addition of Pudge in 2004. He quickly became known as a slick defender, but his job was once again taken when the Tigers acquired then third baseman Cabrera in 2008 and he was forced to move back to catching.
Miguel's move across the diamond and Carlos Guillen's move to left field opened third base once again for Brandon in 2009.
The fan-favorite Inge, known for his charity work around Detroit, was honored by being the last AL All-Star chosen by the fans in the Final Vote before this year's game, along with Shane Victorino of the Phillies.
Key stats as a member of the Tigers
Hits - 868
BA - .238
OPS - .706
HR - 118
RBI - 474
One All-Star Selection
Seattle Mariners - Ichiro Suzuki 2001
The incomparable Ichiro took American baseball by storm in 2001, and has yet to slow down. Ichiro won the Rookie of the Year and the AL MVP award that year becoming the first and only player since Fred Lynn in 1975 to turn the trick.
In his eight seasons in the US prior to this year, Ichiro has never in a season hit below .300, have fewer than 200 hits, 30 steals or fail to make the All-Star team and win a gold glove. Currently hitting .358, with 169 hits, 23 steals in 107 games, it is pretty safe to assume those trends will continue.
Key stats while with the Mariners
Hits - 1974
HR - 80
RBI - 501
Steals - 338
BA - .333
OPS - .811
Nine All-Star Selections
Eight Gold Gloves
Texas Rangers - Michael Young 2000
He may be most remembered for his All-Star Game heroics, but Michael Young consistently puts up great regular season numbers as well, his career .301 batting average and 1630 career hits testify to that.
A consistent presence in the Rangers line-up, Young has played in 155+ games in each of the last seven seasons. Having played in 110 of a possible 113 games this year, it looks like he will once again reach the 155 mark.
Young, originally brought up as a second baseman, has found himself playing shortstop, and now third base, a becoming an all-star at the latter two.
Key stats while with Rangers
Hits - 1630
HR - 134
RBI - 704
BA - .301
OPS - .796
Six All-Star Selections
One Gold Glove Award at SS
Baltimore Orioles - Melvin Mora 2000
Acquired from the Mets in a deadline deal for Mike Bordick, Mora has played the past 10 seasons with the Orioles.
Mora has played many positions with the Orioles. When first acquired he slotted in as a shortstop, but moved to the outfield primarily in his second season. In 2004 Melvin moved to third base, the position he has occupied ever since.
Recently Mora has been playing in a reduced capacity. With his impending free agency (he does have a club option) and the now public rift with manager Dave Trembley, it seems unlikely that Mora will remain with the Orioles past this season. Second baseman Brian Roberts who recently signed a long-term contract will assume the title of longest tenured Oriole if and when Mora leaves.
Key stats as a member of the Orioles
Hits - 1288
HR - 153
RBI - 645
BA - .280
OPS - .793
Two Time All-Star Selection
Chicago White Sox - Paul Konerko 1999
Konerko was acquired by the ChiSox in a straight-up trade with Cincinnati for Mike Cameron after the 1998 season. While Cameron has jumped around, playing for five different teams since then, Konerko has been a mainstay on the South Side.
A consistent power threat, Konerko has hit 20 or more home runs in ten of his eleven seasons in Chicago, including 21 so far this season. He has bested 30 home runs five times, including twice topping 40.
Earlier this season, Konerko and teammate Jermaine Dye hit back-to-back home runs. Impressively, for each it was their 300th career home run.
Key stats as a member of the White Sox
Hits - 1604
HR - 312
RBI - 998
BA - .280
OPS - .852
Four Time All-Star Selection
One World Series Ring
Toronto Blue Jays - Roy Halladay 1998
One of the best pitchers in the game, Halladay was the subject of numerous trade rumors just last month. Will Halladay remain in Toronto after he can become a free agent after 2010? Will he remain through this offseason? I have a feeling Roy Halladay will be a top story this offseason.
When not being the subject of trade rumors, Roy like to spend his time dominating opposing hitters. His Cy Young victory in 2003, and four top five finishes speak to that. Look for another top five finish this season, or possibly another win as he continues to quietly put up excellent numbers north of the border.
Roy is currently the league leader with five complete games, a category he has led his league in four times.
Key stats while with the Blue Jays
W/L Record - 143-71
ERA - 3.45
Complete Games - 45
Six Time All-Star Selection
Oakland Athletics - Eric Chavez 1998
Eric Chavez, once of of the best third basemen in the game, is currently on the 60-day disabled list, and in all likelihood will never play again because of a back injury.
On a team with as much much roster turnover as the Athletics, Chavez was the one star player retained from a group that included Miguel Tejada, Jason Giambi, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, and Mark Mulder among others. Billy Beane banked on Chavez continuing to put up the power numbers and play the solid defense that had led him to receive MVP votes and win the gold glove in multiple seasons.
In the first year of his new six year, $66 million contract, Eric hit 27 home runs and won his fifth consecutive gold glove. But soon afterward, injuries brought his downfall. If he never plays again, Mark Ellis, with Oakland since 2002 will become the team's longest tenured player.
Key stats as a member of the Athletics
Hits - 1250
HR - 229
RBI - 777
BA - .268
OPS - .826
Boston Red Sox - Tim Wakefield 1995
Released by Pittsburgh prior to the strike-delayed start of the 1995 baseball season, Wakefield was quickly signed by the Red Sox.
Making his Red Sox debut that year at the age of 28, few would have thought he's still be knuckling in Boston 15 seasons later.
With his perpetual $4 million contract option, perhaps this 2009 first-time All-Star will be on this list for a couple more years.
Key Stats as a member of the Red Sox
W/L Record - 175-148
ERA - 4.33
One All-Star Selection
Two World Series Rings
New York Yankees - Mariano Rivera 1995
Mariano Rivera made his Yankee debut on May 23, 1995, six days before fellow future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer Derek Jeter first took the field in pinstripes, edging him out for the longest tenured American Leaguer.
Had he not spent three years in Houston, 224 game-winner Andy Pettitte, who made his debut three weeks prior to Mariano's first game would have taken the title of longest-tenured Yankee.
Also debuting in 1995, five-time all-star Jorge Posada. Quite a year of homegrown talent debuting for an organization known for paying top dollar for free agents.
Key stats as a member of the Yankees
W/L Record 69-51
10 All-Star Selections
Four Times in Top 3 Cy Young Voting
Four World Series Rings