Monday, March 11, 2019

The Home Boys

Sometimes a player is simply a perfect fit for the team he plays for. Sometimes it's because he embodies the city's personality, sometimes his skill set fits the team's plan to a a T, and sometimes he was born in the very city where he now wears the uniform. As always, I started wondering. Of the current 30 MLB franchises, who is each one's all-time leader in games played having been born in the polity they represent?

Most of the rules should be straightforward. For a team that represents a city, such as the St. Louis Cardinals, we're looking for the player born in St. Louis who played the most games as a Cardinal. For a team that represents, a state, such the Minnesota Twins, the player only has to have been born in Minnesota, not necessarily the city the Twins play in.

For franchises that have changed polity names, we only count games played under the current polity name. The Los Angeles Angels, for example, were inaugurated under that name, before changing to the California Angels, then to the Anaheim Angels, then back to Los Angeles again. We're looking for an Angeleno player who played with the franchise during the years 1961-65 and 2005-present. Any games played for the Angels under the California or Anaheim names don't count.

For New York, I only went by New York City, since I don't believe either the Yankees or Mets franchise is supposed to represent the state as a whole. I counted the various boroughs, although the leaders for both franchises have their birthplaces listed as "New York, NY" in the records.

The only one that was tricky was the Rays, since Tampa Bay is a geographical feature, not a political entity. I decided to count anyone born in the Tampa Bay metro area, mainly the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, plus whatever smaller towns in the area I could find.

So with that said, let's take a look at the list:

Cincinnati RedsPete Rose2722
New York YankeesLou Gehrig2164
Chicago CubsPhil Cavarretta1953
Minnesota TwinsJoe Mauer1858
New York MetsEd Kranepool1853
Detroit TigersBill Freehan1774
Philadelphia PhilliesDel Ennis1630
Cleveland IndiansBill Bradley1231
Houston AstrosCraig Reynolds1170
Los Angeles DodgersWillie Crawford989
Chicago White SoxJohnny Mostil972
Pittsburgh PiratesFrank Thomas925
St. Louis CardinalsMike Shannon882
Texas RangersDavid Murphy826
San Diego PadresAdrian Gonzalez799
Atlanta BravesJeff Francoeur730
Seattle MarinersJohn Olerud702
Tampa Bay RaysMatthew Joyce633
Los Angeles AngelsGarret Anderson536
Oakland AthleticsDennis Eckersley525
San Francisco GiantsWillie McGee444
Boston Red SoxManny Delcarmen289
Kansas City RoyalsSteve Mingori264
Arizona DiamondbacksShea Hillenbrand233
Toronto Blue JaysRob Ducey188
Baltimore OriolesTom Phoebus134
Colorado RockiesKyle Freeland68
Miami MarlinsGaby Sanchez55
Milwaukee BrewersPaul Wagner15
Washington NationalsEmmanuel Burriss5

Some of these records are very impressive. For the guys at the top of the list, it's easy to see why they're so beloved by the hometown fans.

The bottom of the list is much more curious. I'm surprised that San Francisco, Boston, Baltimore, and Milwaukee have all been around for so long without more impressive representatives than the ones they have. Perhaps the city proper doesn't have a lot of little league activity in their cases.

For Rockie fans, they're blessed that after only two seasons in the bigs, Kyle Freeland is already their all-time leader in games among players born in the Centennial State. May he have many more, and not fall prey to Coors Field.

A shame that Emmanuel Burriss is the best National born in the capital city. If we were doing this by franchise, Maury Wills, Clay Kirby, and Curtis Pride are all guys who'd have him beat.