The all-time best players in every Major League Baseball city

Forget about ranking by franchise or birthplace. Many fans want to know the best players who actually played for an MLB team in that city.

Leading up to the 2015 All-Star Game, Major League Baseball executives thought it would be fitting to let fans vote on not just starting players for the midsummer event, but who they thought were the four best players in each franchise’s history.

The problem was — as you can see by the results — that several players picked never actually played in the city where the franchise resided. Cities such as Washington, D.C., got left out in the cold. The Nationals franchise was represented by four former Montreal Expos, largely because MLB only listed one Washington player among the eight choices. Montreal should have its own list and D.C. its own, right?

Walter Johnson, who remains the all-time career leader in shutouts and was among the first to be elected into the Hall of Fame, didn’t even make the list of Twins, which carries the old Washington Senators’ history. Other franchises, such as the Braves and Dodgers, featured players who had never put on their home uniforms in that city.

Some lists cover players who were born or grew up in a certain city but might not have actually played for a MLB team there. For instance, this one has All-Stars like Maury Wills and Don Money representing D.C., even though they mostly played for the Dodgers and Brewers, respectively. When I think of D.C. baseball, Wills and Money don’t come to mind, though that does sound like a law firm that would operate here.

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Legendary MLB player Frank Howard signs a baseball for a young fan. [Shay photo]

So here is a list of some of the best players who actually played in cities that currently or once had MLB teams. All-Star Game appearances are listed, but I think other marks, such as career bWAR and MVPs, should be considered as more legitimate judge of talent and worth. The All-Star Game honorees are chosen in mid-season, while most others occur after the season.

Feel free to let me know who you would choose in your hometown or favorite city, and I will alter this list accordingly. Some players deserve to be on more than one city’s list, but I only put them once — where they played the most.

*Denotes member of National Baseball Hall of Fame

Anaheim

Mike Trout — 2x MVP, 72.5 career bWAR, 8x All-Star Game
Bobby Grich — 4x Gold Glove, 71.1 bWAR, 6x All-Star, Angels Hall of Fame
Chuck Finley — 57.9 bWAR, 5x All-Star, Angels HoF
Jim Fregosi — Gold Glove, 48.7 bWAR, 6x All-Star, Angels retired number

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Pudge Rodriguez in the latter part of his career with the Nationals. [Shay photo]

Arlington

Adrian Beltre — 5x Gold Glove, 95.6 bWAR, 4x All-Star, Rangers retired number
Rafael Palmeiro — 3x Gold Glove, 71.9 bWAR, 4x All-Star, 569 career HRs
*Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez — 13x Gold Glove, 68.7 bWAR, 14x All-Star, Rangers retired number
Buddy Bell — 6x Gold Glove, 66.3 bWAR, 5x All-Star, Rangers HoF
Jim Sundberg — 6x Gold Glove, 40.5 bWAR, 3x All-Star, Rangers HoF
Juan Gonzalez — 2x MVP, 38.7 bWAR, 3x All-Star, Rangers HoF

Atlanta

*Greg Maddux — 8x All-Star, 4x Cy Young, Braves retired number
*Tom Glavine — 10x All-Star, 2x Cy Young, Braves retired number
*John Smoltz — 8x All-Star, Cy Young, Braves retired number
*Chipper Jones — 8x All-Star, MVP, Braves retired number
*Phil Niekro — 5x All-Star, 5x Gold Glove, Braves retired number

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Brooks Robinson speaking at the dedication of a life-sized bronze statue in Baltimore. [Shay photo]

Baltimore

*Jim Palmer — 6x All-Star, 3x Cy Young, Orioles retired number
*Cal Ripken Jr. — 19x All-Star, record most consecutive games players, Orioles retired number
*Brooks Robinson — 18x All-Star, 16x Gold Glove, Orioles retired number
*Eddie Murray — 8x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove, Orioles retired number

Boston

*Ted Williams — 19x All-Star, 2x Triple Crown, Red Sox retired number
*Carl Yastrzemski — 18x All-Star, 7x Gold Glove, Red Sox retired number
*Pedro Martinez — 8x All-Star, 3x Cy Young, Red Sox retired number
*Jim Rice — 8x All-Star, 3x HR leader, Red Sox retired number
David Ortiz — 10x All-Star, 3x RBI leader, Red Sox retired number
Wade Boggs — 12x All-Star, 5x batting champ, Red Sox retired number
Fred Lynn — 9x All-Star, 4x Gold Glove, Red Sox HoF

Brooklyn

*Jackie Robinson — 6x All-Star, Dodgers retired number
*Duke Snider — 8x All-Star, Dodgers retired number
*Roy Campanella — 8x All-Star, Dodgers retired number
Gil Hodges — 8x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove

Chicago [North Side]

*Ernie Banks — 14x All-Star, Gold Glove, Cubs retired number
*Ryne Sandberg — 10x All-Star, 9x Gold Glove, Cubs retired number
*Ron Santo — 9x All-Star, 5x Gold Glove, Cubs retired number
*Billy Williams — 6x All-Star, batting champ, Cubs retired number
*Ferguson Jenkins — 3x All-Star, Cy Young, Cubs retired number
*Hack Wilson — 4x HR leader, 2x RBI leader
Sammy Sosa — 7x All-Star, 2x HR leader, MVP

Chicago [South Side]

*Luis Aparicio — 13x All-Star, 9x Gold Glove, White Sox retired number
*Carlton Fisk — 11x All-Star, Gold Glove, White Sox retired number
*Frank Thomas — 5x All-Star, 2x MVP, White Sox retired number
*Harold Baines — 6x All-Star, White Sox retired number
Paul Konerko — 6x All-Star, White Sox retired number
Minnie Minoso — 9x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove, White Sox retired number, Mexican Baseball HoF
Shoeless Joe Jackson — 3rd all-time career batting average, 2x hits leader, Indian HoF

Cincinnati

Pete Rose — 17x All-Star, MVP, 2x Gold Glove, Reds retired number
*Johnny Bench — 14x All-Star, 10x Gold Glove, Reds retired number
*Barry Larkin — 12x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove, Reds retired number
*Joe Morgan — 10x All-Star, 5x Gold Glove, Reds retired number
*Frank Robinson — 14x All-Star, 2x MVP, Gold Glove, Reds retired number
*Tony Perez — 7x All-Star, Reds retired number
Joey Votto — 6x All-Star, MVP, Gold Glove

Cleveland

*Bob Feller — 8x All-Star, 7x strikeout leader, Indians retired number
*Jim Thome — 5x All-Star, Indians retired number
*Cy Young — 5x wins leader, 2x strikeout leader, Indians HoF
*Tris Speaker — MVP, batting champ, MLB record for doubles and outfield assists, Indians HoF
Omar Vizquel — 11x Gold Glove, 3x All-Star, Indians HoF

Denver

Todd Helton — 5x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove, Rockies retired number
Larry Walker — 5x All-Star, 7x Gold Glove, Canadian Baseball HoF
Troy Tulowitzki — 5x All-Star, 2x Gold Glove
Nolan Arenado — 5x All-Star, 6x Gold Glove

Detroit

*Al Kaline — 18x All-Star, 10x Gold Glove, Tigers retired number
Miguel Cabrera — 11x All-Star, 2x MVP, 4x batting champ
*Ty Cobb — 12x batting champ, 6x stolen base leader, Tigers honored name
*Hank Greenberg — 5x All-Star, 4x HR leader, Tigers retired number
*Alan Trammell — 6x All-Star, 4x Gold Glove, Tigers retired number
*Jack Morris — 5x All-Star, 2x wins leader, Tigers retired number

Houston

*Nolan Ryan — 8x All-Star, 11x strikeout leader, Astros retired number
*Craig Biggio — 7x All-Star, 4x Gold Glove, Astros retired number
*Jeff Bagwell — 4x All-Star, Gold Glove, Astros retired number
Jose Altuve — 6x All-Star, Gold Glove

Los Angeles

*Don Drysdale — 9x All-Star, Cy Young, Dodgers retired number
*Sandy Koufax — 7x All-Star, 3x Cy Young, Dodgers retired number
Steve Garvey — 10x All-Star, 4x Gold Glove
Clayton Kershaw — 7x All-Star, 3x Cy Young
Maury Wills — 7x All-Star, 6x stolen base champ

Kansas City

*George Brett — 13x All-Star, 3x batting champ, Royals retired number
Frank White — 8x Gold Glove, 5x All-Star, Royals retired number
Dan Quisenberry — 3x All-Star, 5x saves leader, Royals HoF
Bret Saberhagen — 3x All-Star, 2x Cy Young, Royals HoF

Miami

Gary Sheffield — 9x All-Star, batting champ
Mike Lowell — 4x All-Star, Gold Glove
Giancarlo Stanton — 4x All-Star, 2x HR leader
Hanley Ramirez — 3x All-Star, batting champ

Milwaukee

*Hank Aaron — 25x All-Star, 4x HR leader, 3x Gold Glove, Brewers retired number
*Warren Spahn — 17x All-Star, 8x wins leader, MP WoF
*Paul Molitor — 7x All-Star, Brewers retired number
*Robin Yount — 3x All-Star, 2x MVP, Brewers retired number

Minneapolis

*Rod Carew — 18x All-Star, 7x batting champ, Twins retired number
*Harmon Killebrew — 13x All-Star, 6x HR leader, Twins retired number
*Kirby Puckett — 10x All-Star, 6x Gold Glove, Twins retired number
Tony Oliva — 8x All-Star, 3x batting champ, Twins retired number

Montreal

*Gary Carter — 11x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove, Expos retired number
*Vladimir Guerrero Sr. — 9x All-Star, 8x Silver Slugger
*Andre Dawson — 8x All-Star, 8x Gold Glove, Expos retired number
*Tim Raines — 7x All-Star, 4x stolen base leader, Expos retired number

New York [Bronx]

*Mickey Mantle — 20x All-Star, 4x HR leader, Yankees retired number
*Babe Ruth — 12x HR leader, 6x RBI leader, Yankees retired number
*Joe DiMaggio — 13x All-Star, 2x HR leader, Yankees retired number
*Mariano Rivera — 13x All-Star, MLB record for saves, Yankees retired number
*Lou Gehrig — 7x All-Star, 5x RBI leader, 3x HR leader, Yankees retired number
*Dave Winfield — 12x All-Star, 7x Gold Glove

New York [Queens]

*Tom Seaver — 12x All-Star, 3x Cy Young award, Mets retired number
*Mike Piazza — 12x All-Star, Mets retired number
Keith Hernandez — 11x Gold Glove, 5x All-Star, Mets HoF
Darryl Strawberry — 8x All-Star, Mets HoF
David Wright — 7x All-Star, 2x Gold Glove

Oakland

*Reggie Jackson — 14x All-Star, 4x HR leader, Athletics retired number
*Dennis Eckersley — 6x All-Star, Cy Young award, Athletics retired number
*Rickey Henderson — 10x All-Star, 12x stolen base leader, Athletics retired number
*Catfish Hunter — 8x All-Star, Cy Young, Athletics retired number
*Rollie Fingers — 7x All-Star, Cy Young, Athletics retired number
*Mark McGwire — 12x All-Star, 5x HR leader

Philadelphia

*Mike Schmidt — 12x All-Star, 10x Gold Glove, 8x HR leader, Phillies retired number
*Steve Carlton — 10x All-Star, 4x Cy Young, Phillies retired number
*Jimmie Foxx — 9x All-Star, 4x HR leader, Philadelphia Wall of Fame
*Richie Ashburn — 6x All Star, 2x batting champ, Phillies retired number
*Robin Roberts — 7x All-Star, Phillies retired number

Phoenix

Paul Goldschmidt — 6x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove
Luis Gonzalez — 5x All-Star, Dbacks retired number
Steve Finley — 5x Gold Glove, 2x All-Star
Brandon Webb — 3x All-Star, Cy Young award

Pittsburgh

*Roberto Clemente — 15x All-Star, 12x Gold Glove, Pirates retired number
*Bill Mazeroski — 10x All-Star, 8x Gold Glove, Pirates retired number
*Willie Stargell — 7x All-Star, 2x HR leader, Pirates retired number
*Honus Wagner — 8x batting champ, 5x RBI leader, Pirates retired number
*Ralph Kiner — 6x All-Star, 7x HR leader, Pirates retired number

St. Louis

*Stan Musial — 24x All-Star, 7x batting champ, Cardinals retired number
*Ozzie Smith — 15x All-Star, 13x Gold Glove, Cardinals retired number
*Bob Gibson — 9x All-Star, 9x Gold Glove, 2x Cy Young, Cardinals retired number
*Lou Brock — 6x All-Star, 8x stolen base leader, Cardinals retired number
*Rogers Hornsby — 7x NL batting champ, Cardinals HoF
Albert Pujols — 10x All-Star, Future HoF

San Diego

*Tony Gwynn — 15x All-Star, 5x Gold Glove, Padres retired number
*Trevor Hoffman — 7x All-Star, 2x saves leader, Padres retired number
Randy Jones — 2x All-Star, Cy Young award, Padres retired number
Benito Santiago — 5x All Star, 3x Gold Glove, Padres HoF

San Francisco

Barry Bonds — 14x All-Star, 8x Gold Glove, Giants retired number
*Willie Mays — 24x All-Star, 12x Gold Glove, Giants retired number
*Juan Marichal — 10x All-Star, Giants retired number
*Willie McCovey — 6x All-Star, Giants retired number
Buster Posey — 6x All-Star

Seattle

*Ken Griffey Jr. — 13x All-Star, 10x Gold Glove, Mariners retired number
Ichiro Suzuki — 10x All-Star, 10x Gold Glove, future HoF
*Randy Johnson — 10x All-Star, 5x Cy Young, Mariners HoF
*Edgar Martinez — 7x All-Star, Mariners retired number
Felix Hernandez — 6x All-Star, Cy Young award

Tampa

David Price — 5x All-Star, Cy Young
Evan Longoria — 3x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove
Carl Crawford — 4x All-Star, 4x stolen base leader, Gold Glove
Ben Zobrist — 3x All-Star, World Series MVP

Toronto

*Roberto Alomar — 10x Gold Glove, 67.1 bWAR, 12x All-Star, Blue Jays retired number
*Roy Halladay — 2x Cy Young, 64.3 bWAR, 8x All-Star, Blue Jays retired number
Dave Stieb —56.4 bWAR, 7x All-Star, Blue Jays Level of Excellence
Carlos Delgado — 44.4 bWAR, 2x All-Star, Canadian Baseball HoF, Blue Jays Joe Carter — 19.6 bWAR, 5x All-Star, Canadian Baseball HoF, Blue Jays LoE

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Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer checks out the 2018 All-Star Game FanFest near a large baseball. [Shay photo]

Washington, D.C.

*Walter Johnson — 2x MVP, 12x AL strikeout leader, 6x AL wins leader, Career shutout leader, 164.3 bWAR, Nationals Ring of Honor
*Goose Goslin — AL batting champ, RBI leader, 66.1 bWAR, Nationals RoH
Max Scherzer — 3x Cy Young Award, 60.3 bWAR, 7x All-Star
Ryan Zimmerman— Gold Glove, 37.8 bWAR, 2x All-Star
Frank Howard — 2x HR leader, 37.6 bWAR, 4x All-Star, Nationals RoH
Stephen Strasburg — World Series MVP, Babe Ruth Award, 33.9 bWAR, 3x All-Star

Written by

Written for 45+ newspapers/mags. Written some books — see https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-J.-Shay/e/B004BCQRTG. Visited 48 states, 30+ countries.

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