MLB has a storied history over the past 100 years.
Teams like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers breed Hall of Famers—while others like the Tampa Bay Rays and Florida Marlins are just getting their feet wet.
Either way, every franchise in MLB has at least one player who stood or stands out above the rest.
In the past year, we have seen many all-time greats pass away—guys like Bob Feller, Harmon Killebrew and Duke Snider, among many others.
Their legend's will live on forever—but now a new player will take over as the greatest living player in their respective franchises.
The first step was finding the top three living players in each franchise and ranking them one through three. After completing that step, I took the greatest living player in each franchise and ranked them against the other 29 teams.
The only criteria was that the player had to play at least five seasons with their respective team—but in most cases it was plenty more.
Here we go.
1) Carl Crawford
2) Evan Longoria
3) Rocco Baldelli
There really is no other choice considering Crawford holds most of the team records at this point. In a few years time, Longoria will undoubtedly have a firm grasp on the title.
Crawford began his career in Tampa in 2002 and played there until signing with the Red Sox this past offseason. In those nine seasons, Crawford made four All-Star appearances and stole more than 400 bags.
The former "Perfect Storm" put up a respectable plus-6.5 dWAR during his tenure and led the suffering franchise to the World Series in 2008.
1) Hanley Ramirez
2) Gary Sheffield
3) Jeff Conine
With all due respect to the above players, their selections are a sign to the lack of "Face of the Franchise" material the Marlins have had throughout their short history—mostly due to the franchise not keeping players around for long enough to be considered.
Han-Ram easily takes the cake here while being one of the best five-tool players in MLB.
The 2006 NL Rookie of the Year has made the last three All-Star games and is a lock for 25-plus home runs and 30-plus stolen bases year in and year out.
1) Roy Halladay
2) Joe Carter
3) Dave Stieb
Although Carter provided the greatest moment in Blue Jays history with a walk-off home run to win the 1993 World Series, I still have to give the distinction to Halladay.
From 1998-2009, Doc won 148 games with Toronto while throwing 49 complete games.
Halladay won the AL Cy Young in 2003 and made six All-Star appearances as a Blue Jay.
1) Todd Helton
2) Larry Walker
3) Vinny Castilla
"The Toddfather"—who has played in Colorado since he came into the league in 1997—is the clear choice to represent Colorado.
With five All-Star nods and three Gold Gloves, Helton has been a solid all-around threat throughout his career. His .324 career batting average currently sits 33rd on the all-time list.
Helton is also the only player in MLB history to hit 35-plus doubles in each of his first 10 seasons.
1) Gary Carter
2) Andre Dawson
3) Vladimir Guerrero
Gary "Kid" Carter leads the way for the former Montreal Expos franchise—where he played from 1974-84.
With the Expos, Carter established himself as one of the premier catchers in the game. He went to seven All-Star games and won three Gold Gloves north of the border.
Carter had 220 home runs and 823 RBI in his 12 seasons with Montreal.
2) Jim Thome
3) Albert Belle
Manny—who spent parts of eight seasons in Cleveland from 1993-2000—narrowly beat out fellow slugger Jim Thome for the top spot.
Ramirez is one of the greatest hitters MLB has ever seen. In Cleveland, he slugged 236 home runs and 804 RBI while making four All-Star games.
During the 1999 season Ramirez had 165 RBI—the highest single season total since 1938.
1) Jeff Bagwell
2) Craig Biggio
3) Lance Berkman
Ah, the "Killer B's" (even though Derek Bell was supposedly the original third-wheel). Bagwell played in Houston from 1991-2005 before injuries prematurely ended his career.
Bagwell won both the NL Rookie of the Year and an NL MVP award with the Astros—compiling 449 career home runs.
He was elected to the All-Star squad on four occasions.
1) Randy Johnson
2) Luis Gonzalez
3) Brandon Webb
Randy Johnson gets the nod for the D-Backs—where he played from 1999-04 and 2007-08.
In his eight total seasons in Arizona, Johnson compiled a 118-62 record with a 2.83 ERA and over 2,000 strikeouts.
The Big Unit won four straight Cy Young awards in the desert and delivered the D-Backs a World Series title in 2001.
1) Nolan Ryan
2) Jim Fregosi
3) Jim Edmonds
I really wanted to give the distinction to Fregosi—but it's hard to argue against what were Ryan's "peak" years with the California Angels.
From 1972-79, the Ryan Express won 138 games for the Angels, including a ridiculous 156 complete games.
In his eight seasons with the Angels, Ryan made five All-Star teams and threw over 2,400 strikeouts.
1) Ivan Rodriguez
2) Rafael Palmiero
3) Juan Gonzalez
This was a tough one, as all three are almost equally worthy candidates. In the end, I-Rod and his impeccable defense separated him from the pack.
Pudge played parts of 13 seasons with the Rangers—winning 10 straight Gold Gloves coinciding with 10 straight All-Star appearances.
The 1999 AL MVP hit 217 home runs with the Rangers and helped them reach the postseason on three occasions.
1) Rod Carew
2) Johan Santana
3) Tony Oliva
Santana may get bumped up to the top spot once we have a chance to reflect on his career, but for now I am sticking with Rod Carew, who played in the Twin Cities from 1967-78.
What Carew lacked in power he made up for by simply getting on base—a lot. He ended his tenure in Minnesota with a .334 batting average and .394 on-base percentage.
Carew was an All-Star in each of his 12 seasons as a Twin, which included a 1967 AL Rookie of the Year award and a 1977 AL MVP award.
1) Ralph Kiner
2) Bill Mazeroski
3) Barry Bonds
This could have gone either way, but I decided to give Kiner the benefit of the doubt in this case—primarily because Maz' was as weak with the bat as he was good with the glove.
Kiner was a beast during his tenure in Pittsburgh from 1946-53—leading the league each season in home runs while smacking a total of 301 for the Pirates.
Kiner made five All-Star appearances for the Pirates and had over 800 RBI in less than 1,100 games.
1) Pete Rose
2) Johnny Bench
3) Joe Morgan
Johnny Bench is one of the greatest catchers in MLB history—yet it's not enough to give the nod over career hits leader Pete Rose.
Rose played for Cincy during 19 of his 24 seasons which spanned from 1963-86. He also managed the Reds from 1984-89.
Charlie Hustle' made 14 All-Star games as a Red—winning the NL Rookie of the year and an NL MVP on the way. Rose also helped deliver back-to-back World Series to Cincy in 1975-76.
1) Frank Thomas
2) Minnie Minoso
3) Billy Pierce
The "Big Hurt" runs away with the award for the White Sox after putting a big hurt on opposing pitchers for Chicago from 1990-2005.
Thomas won back-to-back AL MVP awards in 1993-94 and his .974 career OPS ranks 15th in the history of MLB.
With Chicago, Thomas slugged 448 home runs with almost 1,500 RBI for a ridiculous .995 OBP.
1) Al Kaline
2) Alan Trammel
3) Lou Whitaker
Al Kaline easily takes the crown for the Detroit Tigers—where he manned the outfield from 1953-74.
Kaline played in a team record 2,834 games for Detroit and is their all-time leader in home runs with 399. He is second in team history in hits with 3,007 and RBI with 1,583.
He also won Gold Gloves during each season from 1957-67.
1) Pedro Martinez
2) Carl Yastrzemski
3) Roger Clemens
Yaz is undoubtedly one of the Red Sox all-time greats, but Pedro Martinez put together one of the most dominant seven-year stretches in the history of MLB.
From 1998-2004, Martinez pitched to an astounding 117-37 record with a 2.52 ERA and nearly 1,700 strikeouts.
Pedro won three Cy Young awards and pitched the Red Sox to the 2004 World Series title. A case can be made for Martinez being the most dominant pitcher of all time.
1) George Brett
2) Frank White
3) Hal McRae
Even though I admire White's defensive capabilities, this was no contest for George Brett, who played in Kansas City from 1973-93.
Brett made 13 consecutive All-Star appearances with the Royals and won the 1980 AL MVP award.
"Mullet" owns almost every statistical record on the books for the franchise that he led to a World Series title in 1985.
1) Cal Ripken, Jr.
2) Brooks Robinson
3) Jim Palmer
This was a close call. In the end, Ripken—who played in Baltimore from 1981-2001—beats out Robinson.
Robinson was known for his swift glove, but Ripken still put up a very respectable plus-17.6 dWAR over his career.
Ripken won the AL Rookie of the Year award and two NL MVP awards with the Orioles while amassing over 3,000 hits and 400 home runs over his 21 seasons in the league.
1) Robin Yount
2) Paul Molitor
3) Ryan Braun
Choosing between Yount and Molitor was difficult, but Yount gets the edge for having spent his entire career in Milwaukee from 1974-93.
Yount has the most hits in Brewers history with 3,142. Although he only made four All-Star appearances in his career, Yount managed to win two AL MVP awards with the Brew Crew.
He also took the Brewers to the playoffs in 1981 and 1982, including a World Series appearance during the '82 season.
1) Tony Gwynn
2) Trevor Hoffman
3) Nate Colbert
Gwynn or Hoffman, Hoffman or Gwynn? One is in the Hall of Fame and the other will be in four years time. I give the slight edge to Gwynn and his .338 career batting average.
Gwynn wore a Padres uniform from 1982-2001—garnering over 3,100 hits and making 15 All-Star appearances.
Mr. Padre never delivered a title to San Diego, but he did lead them to the World Series in both 1984 and 1998.
1) Rickey Henderson
2) Reggie Jackson
3) Dennis Eckersley
Rickey Henderson is without a doubt the greatest player in the history of the Oakland Athletics—where the "Man of Steal" spent 14 scattered seasons throughout his 25 years in the league.
Henderson stole over 100 bags three different times with the A's and accumulated 867 of his MLB-record 1,270 total stolen bases with the team.
Rickey was the 1990 AL MVP, and he led the A's to the 1989 World Series title over their Bay Area rival San Francisco Giants.
1) Derek Jeter
2) Yogi Berra
3) Whitey Ford
This was the toughest one of all. I had to go with Jeter—simply because he has been the face of the Yankees organization for the better part of the past two decades.
The 1996 AL Rookie of the Year and five-time World Series champion is one of the most respected players in baseball—which I was humbly reminded of after wrongly listing Jeter as one of the Top 15 Most Selfish Players in Baseball.
The Captain—an 11-time All-Star who is set to pass 3,000 hits within the next few weeks—will go down as one of the greatest and most respected Yankees of all time.
1) Ken Griffey, Jr.
2) Ichiro Suzuki
A case could be made for Ichiro for what he has done for baseball on a world-wide level, but Junior was a hamstring away from breaking every record on the books.
Griffey played parts of 13 seasons with the Mariners at the beginning and end of his career, at one point making 10 straight All-Star appearances.
Junior slugged 417 home runs with Seattle and was named the 1997 AL MVP.
1) Ernie Banks
2) Ryne Sandberg
3) Sammy Sosa
Who else could it be other than "Mr. Cub" himself?
Banks called Wrigley Field home from 1953-71—making 14 All-Star appearances and winning two NL MVP awards along the way.
He retired with 512 career home runs and over 1,600 RBI—both second all-time in Cubs history.
1) Sandy Koufax
2) Steve Garvey
3) Don Sutton
Even though Koufax only pitched until he was 30 years old, there is no doubt he belongs atop the Dodgers list.
Koufax won 165 games for the Dodgers from 1955-66—including three NL Cy Young awards and a NL MVP award.
Koufax also helped the Dodgers win three World Series championships in his short career.
1) Mike Schmidt
2) Steve Carlton
3) Jimmy Rollins
Rollins, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley may someday be up for this award. At this point, no one is more deserving than long-time Phillies third baseman Michael Jack Schmidt.
From 1972-89, Schmidt was arguably the most feared hitter in all of baseball. With 548 career home runs and nearly 1,600 RBI, Schmidt was the elite power hitter of his era.
He won three NL MVP awards, 10 Gold Gloves and made 14 All-Star appearances while also bringing the fanatics in Philly a World Series title in 1980.
1) Stan Musial
2) Bob Gibson
3) Albert Pujols
Pujols is surely climbing the ladder but I am not yet ready to rank him ahead of Musial or Gibson. If he jets to Wrigley this offseason then the third spot is as high as he'll get in my book.
Musial spent his entire 22-year career with the Red Birds from 1941-63—winning three NL MVP awards and hitting 475 career home runs.
"Stan the Man" made 20 straight All-Star games and led the Cards' to three World Series titles.
1) Tom Seaver
2) Mike Piazza
3) Daryl Strawberry
Although Piazza was the greatest hitting catcher in MLB history, it wasn't enough to get him past fireballer Tom Seaver. Seaver spent parts of 12 seasons with the Mets franchise.
With New York, Seaver won 198 games and pitched to a 2.57 ERA en route to 10 All-Star appearances, two NL Cy Young awards and a NL Rookie of the Year award.
Seaver led the Mets to the 1969 World Series title and was elected to the Hall of Fame on his first ballot after receiving a record 98.8 percent of the votes.
1) Hank Aaron
2) Greg Maddux
3) Chipper Jones
Hammerin' Hank Aaron played for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves from 1954-74, making the All-Star team during 20 of the seasons.
Aaron was the 1957 NL MVP, and he led the Braves to a World Series title that same year.
He hit 733 of his 755 career home runs with the franchise while accumulating 3,600 hits—cementing his place as one of MLB's all-time greats.
1) Willie Mays
2) Barry Bonds
3) Juan Marichal
As great as Barry Bonds was—juice or no juice—he still has nothing on Willie Mays. Mays—who gets my vote for the greatest player in the history of MLB—spent 21 years with the Giants from 1951-71.
One NL Rookie of the Year award, two NL MVP awards, 23 All-Star games and 12 Gold Gloves later—Mays is by far the greatest player the game has ever seen.
The "Say Hey Kid" slugged 646 homers with the Giants and won a World Series championship in 1954.