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MLB Love: The Most Adored Player in Every MLB Team's History

Matt HunterCorrespondent IOctober 7, 2016

MLB Love: The Most Adored Player in Every MLB Team's History

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    Every franchise in baseball has a storied past.

    It may be multiple world championships or a single season that makes people talk about it for years.

    Could it be a single player's one great season or career that people remember their team for?

    Whether a team has many championships or none at all, most players have worn their uniforms with pride and integrity.

    Every team in baseball has that one player who if you ask somebody to name a player on a team, they are going to say that man's name 90 percent of the time.

    This slideshow is going to go through each franchise's history and pick just one player from each to be considered the most beloved player of that team.

    These slides are in no particular order, and the first player is no different than the last.

    If a player does not make the list who you feel should have, it is nothing against that player; it is just a difficult task to choose only one from each team in some very storied franchises.

Cal Ripken Jr., Baltimore Orioles

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    Cal Ripken Jr. was an iron man in baseball, breaking the all-time games-played record that was previously held by Lou Gehrig.

    Ripken had a Hall of Fame career, racking up over 3,100 hits and 431 home runs.

    Ripken played for the Baltimore Orioles his whole career, and landed himself on the American League All-Star team 19 times.

    He was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, gaining 98.5 percent of the votes.

Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox

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    Williams, "The Kid," played his entire career in left field for the Boston Red Sox.

    In 1941 he finished the season with a batting average of .406, the last time in Major League Baseball history that a player has hit over 400 in a season.

    Ted Williams had a career .344 batting average and hit 521 home runs.

    Williams, like many baseball players in his time, put his bat down when his country needed him and joined the Navy during World War II.

    His obsession to succeed at the plate paid off for Ted Williams, as he is arguably the greatest hitter of all-time.

Henry "Hank" Aaron, Atlanta Braves

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    "Hammerin Hank" at one time was the home-run king of baseball, hitting 755 home runs in his career.

    His record was broken by San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds, who broke it in 2007.

    Aaron just did not hit home runs. He was a three-time Gold Glove winner playing in right field.

    He batted over .300 for his career and amassed an astounding 3,771 hits.

    He also found himself as an All-Star 21 times in his career.

    Today if you find yourself at an Atlanta Braves game, in the parking lot is the piece of the old wall that Henry Aaron's 715th home run sailed over to break Babe Ruth's previous home run record.

Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants

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    We all know who the "Say Hey Kid" is and his amazing catch in center field.

    Willie Mays is said to possibly be the best baseball player to have played the game.

    He won 12 Gold Gloves covering center field for the Giants in his career.

    He had over 3,000 hits and a career average of over .300.

    He also belted 660 home runs during his career.

    Everybody will remember Mays for his over-the-shoulder basket catch while running towards the center field wall.

    What San Francisco Giants fans will remember is a player who played his hardest in the field and at the plate and was an early role model for African-American players in the league.

Kirby Puckett, Minnesota Twins

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    Kirby Puckett might be best known for his 1991 World Series Game 6-winning home run.

    During his 12-year career, Puckett found himself on the All-Star squad 10 times.

    He helped Minnesota win two World Series in 1987 and 1991.

    He finished his career with a .318 batting average. When he retired, his .318 average was highest by a right-handed batter since Yankees great Joe DiMaggio.

    Puckett had to retire early due to glaucoma in his eye, but he was voted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2001.

Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle Mariners

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    If injuries did not keep Griffey off of the baseball field, the home run record book may have his name as the all-time greatest home run hitter.

    Griffey played center field for Seattle, where he won 10 Gold Gloves and played in 10 All-Star games.

    His almost effortless swing and prowess at the plate won him seven Silver Slugger awards.

    Griffey left Seattle to play for the Cincinnati Reds for a couple of seasons, but he made sure to get back to Seattle to finish his career.

    Griffey will go down as one the best home run hitters in baseball, and as one of Seattle's most beloved Mariners.

Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Phillies

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    Schmidt is one of the greatest third baseman to every play the game, and Philadelphia fans had the opportunity to watch him play his entire 18-year career in the city.

    Mike Schmidt made 12 All-Star teams and won three NL MVP awards.

    Playing better at third base than Mike Schmidt was a hard thing to do during his career, as he won 10 Gold Glove awards in his career.

    Schmidt was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1995 gaining 96.5 percent of the votes.

    His No. 20 was retired in 1990, the year after Schmidt retired from the game.

Johnny Bench, Cincinnati Reds

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    People say that during Bench's career he was the best defensive and offensive catcher in the game.

    ESPN has been quoted in saying: "The greatest catcher in baseball history."

    Bench was a 14-time All-Star in the National League.

    He was part of the Reds World Series championship teams in 1975 and 1976.

    Bench was a great defensive catcher and was rewarded for his play with 10 Gold Glove awards.

    Bench retired after the 1983 season and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989.

    His No. 5 was retired by the Reds in 1984.

Tony Fernandez, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Not many people may remember Tony Fernandez, but the Blue Jays shortstop played in the most games ever while wearing a Toronto uniform.

    Fernandez won four Gold Gloves at shortstop, all in a row, from 1986-1989.

    Tony Fernandez was the shortstop for the 1993 World Championship team as well.

    Fernandez started his career in 1983 and found himself bounced around the league to multiple teams.

    He got his way back to where he started his career and retired in 2001 as a Toronto Blue Jay.

    Tony finished his career with a .288 batting average and recorded over 2,800 hits.

    His name is found on the Blue Jays all-time records list for:


    Most Games: 1,450
    Most Hits: 1,583
    Most Triples: 72

Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers

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    Ty Cobb is a baseball legend who holds all of kinds of records to this day. During his playing days, he is said to be credited with 90 records.

    Cobb is the MLB all-time batting average leader, finishing his career with a .366 batting average.

    He also holds the most batting titles with 11 (some say 12, depending on where you look).

    The one record that he was more than likely not very excited to hold was the most errors committed by an American League outfielder (271).

    Many of his records held past his life. His hits record was not passed until 1985. Runs were not beaten until 2001, and stolen bases in 1977.

    Cobb ended his career with over 4,000 hits and 1,900 RBI.

    The Detroit Tigers organization and fan base arguably has the greatest player of all-time, one who held some records for 70 years.

Tom Seaver, New York Mets

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    Tom Seaver is a member of the 300-win club in baseball and recorded 3,640 strikeouts through his career.

    As a member of the Mets, Seaver was voted to 10 All-Star teams and won three Cy Young awards.

    Seaver won the NL Rookie of the Year award as well in 1967.

    He played for four total teams in his career, but he was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a New York Met.

    The Mets retired Seaver's No. 41 jersey on July 24, 1988.

Stan Musial, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Stan "The Man" Musial played in the big leagues for 22 years and made the All-Star team every year.

    Musial is a three-time champion, winning the World Series in 1942, 1944 and 1946.

    Musial had a lifetime average of .331 and recorded over 3,600 hits in his Hall of Fame career.

    Musial was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1969 and received 93.2 percent of the votes.

    His jersey No. 6 was retired by the Cardinal organization in 1963.

    His number is on a list of baseball greats like Rogers Hornsby, Ozzie Smith and Lou Brock.

Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay Rays

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    The Rays have not been around as long as previous teams to have a history of Hall of Famers and record holders.

    Carl Crawford played for the Rays since being drafted in 1999 and played for them through the 2010 season before heading to the Red Sox this season.

    Crawford won the Gold Glove in left field this past year.

    He is a four-time All-Star and a 2010 Silver Slugger winner.

    In his nine-year career at Tampa, he recorded 1,480 hits, 105 triples and a very impressive 409 stolen bases.

Frank Thomas, Chicago White Sox

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    Frank Thomas, "The Big Hurt," spent the bulk of his career with the Chicago White Sox.

    He was a first baseman and designated hitter during his career.

    Thomas was a five-time All-Star, all while he wore a White Sox uniform.

    He won four Silver Slugger Awards and two AL MVP awards during his career.

    This past year the White Sox retired Thomas's No. 35 and he became one of Chicago White Sox all-time greats to don their uniform.

Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs

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    Ernie Banks spent 19 years in baseball and spent every year as a shortstop or first baseman.

    Ernie was the Cubs first black player in team history.

    He was voted on 14 All-Star teams in his long career and won a Gold Glove in 1960.

    He won back-to-back National League MVP awards in 1958 and 1959.

    Banks retired in 1971 with over 2,500 hits and 512 home runs.

    He was the first player to have his number retired in Chicago Cub history, and he is only one of six to be honored that way.

    In 1977 Banks was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee, and his number was retired by the organization on Aug. 22, 1982.

Nolan Ryan, Texas Rangers

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    Nolan Ryan was a pitcher that no batter wanted to face. He threw hard and, even late in his career, he was clocked at throwing the ball in the triple digits.

    He is the No. 1 strikeout leader in baseball history with a total of 5,714.

    Along with his massive amount of strikeouts, Ryan was also part of the 300-win club with an overall 324 wins.

    Nolan Ryan also recorded seven no-hitters, which is also a record in all of baseball.

    Ryan pitched for the Rangers, where he helped to solidify his name in baseball history. After his career as player, he stayed in Texas and is now part-owner and team president.

    Ryan also had his No. 34 retired by the Rangers in 1996.

    The baseball Hall of Fame inducted him in 1999, where he was a first-ballot inductee receiving 98.79 percent of the votes.

Dennis Eckersley, Oakland Athletics

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    Eckersley spent nine seasons with the Oakland Athletics and helped them to win a World Series in 1989.

    As an Athletic, he was a four-time All-Star and won an American League MVP and Cy Young Award in 1992.

    As a powerful and solid closer, Eckersley finished his career with 390 total saves and a record of 197-171.

    He also recorded a solid 2,401 strikeouts.

    In 2004, the pitcher was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a first-ballot recipient.

    His No. 43 was retired by the Athletics in 2005.

Dan Uggla, Florida Marlins

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    Another young franchise finds itself with a young infielder who the fans liked incredibly well.

    Uggla played for the Marlins for five seasons (2006-2010).

    As a second baseman, he has hit 154 home runs, which makes him the No. 1 Marlin in home runs in team history.

    He found himself as a National League All-Star as well in two of the years he spent in Florida.

    In his rookie season, he broke the rookie home-run record by a second baseman of 25, which was held by Joe Gordon.

    Uggla's short time spent playing for the Marlins did not mean he put up small numbers. He was a great player for the Marlins and was the face of a young team and organization while he was there.

Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies

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    Helton has spent his entire career with the Rockies organization playing first base.

    In his career so far, he has been a five-time All-Star player.

    He also has won three Gold Glove awards at first base, winning back-to-back awards in 2001-2002.

    At the end of this past season, Helton ranked second among all active players in on-base percentage (.424) and third in doubles (527).

    He also leads the Rockies in plenty of categories as well:

    Hits: 2,236
    Home Runs: 333
    Doubles: 527
    Walks: 1,197
    Runs Scored: 1,270
    RBIs: 1,237
    On Base Percentage: .424
    Games Played: 1930
    Total Bases: 3832

    Helton is the face and name of the Rockies franchise and will continue to add to his team-leading numbers for years to come.

Bob Feller, Cleveland Indians

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    "The Heater from Van Meter," Feller was a stand out pitcher for the Indians in the early years of the franchise.

    He spent his entire 18-year career with the Indians, where he was part of "The Big Four" pitching rotation in the 1950s.

    His career ended with 266 career wins and 2,581 strikeouts.

    He was baseball's first pitcher to win 20 or more games before the age of 21.

    He was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 1962.

    At his time of retirement, he held the record for most walks (1,764).

    His No. 19 was retired by the Cleveland organization.

George Brett, Kansas City Royals

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    Brett spent 21 years in the league and all of them with the Royals.

    He had 3,154 hits, which makes him the all-time hits leader for a third baseman in league history.

    George Brett is one of only four players to ever record 3,000 hits, 300 home runs and a career .300 batting average (Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Stan Musial).

    He was a 13-time All-Star and a Gold Glove winner in 1985.

    He was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 1999, gaining 98.2 percent of the vote.

    He is only one of three Royals to have his number retired (Dick Howser, Frank White).

Gary Carter, Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos

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    Gary Carter spent 19 years in the big leagues as a catcher.

    He won three Gold Gloves and five Silver Slugger awards during his career.

    Carter played in 11 All-Star games and won the All-Star Game MVP twice.

    After his career, the Montreal Expos (now the Nationals) retired his No. 8.

    In 2003, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Craig Biggio, Houston Astros

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    Biggio played for 20 years and he spent his entire career as a Houston Astro.

    He ended his career with 3,060 hits and he is only the ninth player in the 3,000 hit club to have them all with the same team.

    Biggio also had a tendency for getting hit by pitches. When he retired, he was No. 2 on the all-time hit-by-pitch list.

    He made seven All-Star teams in his career and won four Gold Gloves.

    In 2008, Biggio was rewarded for his service with the team, and his No. 7 was retired by the Houston Astros.

Jim Fregosi, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    Jim Fregosi spent 11 years playing shortstop for the Angels.

    He was known to be the Angels star and most popular player during his playing time.

    He made the All-Star team six times in his career, all when he played for the Angels.

    Fregosi also won the 1967 Gold Glove award for his defensive skills as a shortstop.

    Fregosi also has the team's record for most triples in team history with 70.

    He also led in the categories (games played, hits, doubles, run and RBIs) which were all broken by Brian Downing in the 1980s.

    On Aug. 1, 1998, Jim Fregosi had his number retired by the Angels.

Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees

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    Lou Gehrig farewell speech

    "The Iron Horse" Gehrig was known for his ability to play every game and never get worn out.

    All 17 years of his career were spent with the New York Yankees.

    He played in seven All-Star games and won six World Series in his career.

    He won two AL MVP awards, in 1927 and 1936.

    In 1934, he was the AL Triple Crown winner, leading the American League in batting average, RBI and home runs.

    Gehrig was voted as team captain of the New York Yankees from 1935 to 1939.

    He finished his career with a .340 batting average and accumulated 493 home runs.

    Gehrig retired from baseball and gave one of the most heart-felt speeches a professional athlete has ever given.

    Gehrig was a unanimous inductee to the Hall of Fame.

    His number was retired by the New York Yankees on July 4, 1939.

    His name goes down with Yankee greats Ruth, DiMaggio, Maris, Mantle and many others.

Tony Gwynn, San Diego Padres

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    Tony Gwynn spent his whole career in the state of California playing for the San Diego Padres.

    He became known as "Mr. Padre" through out his career.

    Gwynn was known for getting on base and making the best of every at bat.

    During his whole career Gwynn struck out only 434 times in over 9,200 career at bats.

    His lowest batting average in one season was .309.

    He was a 15 time All-Star and the 1999 Roberto Clemente Award winner.

    Gwynn won five Gold Glove awards for his skill in right field.

    The San Diego Padres retired his number, and Tony Gwynn was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Luis Gonzalez, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Gonzalez made his name big when he came and played for the Diamondbacks in 1999.

    He made all five of his career All-Star games as an Arizona Diamondback.

    In 2001, the year that the Diamondbacks won the league championship, Gonzalez belted 57 home runs.

    The one moment that will etch Gonzalez into Diamondbacks history was his Game 7 bottom-of-the-ninth bloop single off of dominating Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

    That hit drove in the game-winning run and clinched a world championship for the Diamondbacks.

    Luis Gonzalez retired in 2008 with 2,591 hits and a career .283 batting average.

    In 2010 he became the first Diamondback to have his number retired by the team.

Paul Molitor, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Molitor spent 15 of his 21 seasons with the Brewers as designated hitter and infielder.

    He spent over 40 percent of his career as a designated hitter.

    He played all over the infield in his younger years in the league, and made five All-Star teams while he was in Milwaukee.

    He recorded 3,319 career hits and was a .306 lifetime hitter.

    Molitor was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, and he had his number retired by his first team, the Milwaukee Brewers.

Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Ask any Pirate fan to name the team's all-time greatest player, and you will hear Roberto Clemente come out of their mouth 9.5 times out of 10.

    Clemente was a great defensive player who could throw a frozen rope from right field on the fly to home plate.

    Clemente reached 3,000 hits on the last day of the regular season in 1972 during his last at bat in the regular season.

    Later that year Clemente would perish in a plane crash as he was flying humanitarian aid to Nicaragua.

    Clemente was a .317 average lifetime hitter and had 240 home runs.

    He spent his whole career as a Pittsburgh Pirate, and in his 18-year career, he was a 15-time All-Star.

    He won 12 Gold Gloves in right field and the 1966 National League MVP award.

    He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972 as a first-ballot achiever.

    The Pirates retired his number as well.

    Roberto Clemente can never be forgotten by Pirates fans. His memory still presides over the Pittsburgh Pirates today, where the right-field fence stands 21 feet high in memory of the Pirates' great right fielder.

Jackie Robinson, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Jackie Robinson is known for breaking the color barrier in major league baseball in 1947 as a Brooklyn Dodger.

    That same year he was named the league Rookie of the Year. In 1947, the award was given to only one player in the league.

    He was a six-time All-Star in the league, as well as an All-Star in the Negro Leagues in 1945.

    He played in the major leagues for 10 years and was a .311 career hitter.

    Robinson also gathered 1,518 hits in those 10 years.

    In 1972, Jackie Robinson had his No. 42 retired by the Dodgers.

    On April 15, 1997, every team in baseball retired his number. This was the first time in league history that a player's number was retired throughout all teams.

    Jackie Robinson is just not a player cherished by the Dodger fans and organization, but a man who is looked at as an icon for minorities in sports and all players in the league.

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