Recently, New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter announced that the 2014 season would be his last. Sparking what will most certainly be another farewell tour of baseball like we’ve seen the past few years with Chipper Jones, Todd Helton and Mariano Rivera.
Derek Jeter has spent his entire career with the Yankees. That kind of longevity and loyalty to one team is becoming all too rare in professional sports.
It’s the type of thing that makes me wonder; Will the Mariners ever have another player like that?
They have had a few candidates over the years.
Alvin Davis- Mr. Mariner spent eight years with the big club, winning Rookie of the Year in 1984. But he became a free agent in 1991 and signed with the California Angels for the 1992 season.
Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez- Probably not so much A-Rod, but Junior was going to be a Mariner for life, right? We all know too well what happened with each of them. In Junior’s case, the trade came with Junior’s desire to be closer to family. With A-Rod, it was just money.
Dan Wilson- Spent the rest of his career as a Mariner, but started as a Cincinnati Red.
Ichiro Suzuki- Forget the years in Japan, Ichiro was “our guy”. Until we traded him to the Yankees.
The only player that fits the bill is Edgar Martinez. Signed by the Mariners, went through the Mariners farm club, played for the big club, retired with the Mariners. Just like Chipper Jones in Atlanta, Todd Helton in Colorado, Derek and Mariano in New York.
In all, according to Elias Sports Bureau, only 66 players in MLB history with at least 15 years of service have spent their entire career with one team (that counts Jeter who will be officially on this list when he retires).
So who is the Mariners next Edgar? Is it Felix Hernandez?
Charlie wrote a piece a while back stating confidently that Felix would retire a Mariner. Fans have thought that over the years about Junior, Randy Johnson, A-Rod and others.
Some of it is in their hands, some isn’t. Some of it is up to the front office and how they run and/or value the team. It’s pretty telling though when you can almost predict which teams have had players on that list of 66 and which haven’t.
You look down the list and see Cardinals, Yankees, Red Sox, Reds, White Sox, Cubs, Orioles. Teams with longstanding traditions of success (maybe not the Cubs, but….) and then you see who only has one…..Mariners.
Will Seattle ever have another Edgar? We have plenty of candidates. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.