Yup, that’s Pete Rose wearing the caps of eight different Major League clubs, and most baseball fans would know that aside from the Philadelphia Phillies, Pete never played a game for any of those teams.
No, he didn’t lose a bet.
The above photo is from a Sports Illustrated article circa 1979 (props to Twitter user @LobShots for the graphic) when Pete Rose was deciding which club he’d like to sign with, giving the caps of his top eight preferences a try… I must say he looks the happiest as a Yankee, a shame they couldn’t get him in pinstripes for the photo – it would have suited him a little better.
Last week I took a look at some of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history wearing the “wrong” uniform, Babe Ruth in a Dodgers uniform, Yogi Berra with the Astros, and so on. Because I only got a chance to feature a small fraction of the players I wanted to, we’re spillin the wrong uniform fun over into a second week, let’s get at it!
Joe DiMaggio, Oakland Athletics (1968-1969)
The Yankee Clipper himself, Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio suited up for two seasons as a bench coach for the Oakland Athletics from 1968-69. The story goes that Mr. Coffee was just two seasons shy of kicking his retirement pension up to the highest it could possibly be, so he went back to the bigs, put on the kelly green and golds of the A’s and helped around on the field and in the clubhouse.
It’s amazing how quickly a man can go from hitting safely in 56-consecutive games and being married to Marilyn Monroe to serving up Reggie Jackson some lasagna from a tray.
Speaking of Reggie Jackson…
Reggie Jackson, Baltimore Orioles (1976)
With free agency looming and the Oakland Athletics unwilling to pay what he would have demanded on the open market, Reggie Jackson was traded to the Baltimore Orioles a week before Opening Day 1976. Reggie had a decent season in Baltimore, hitting .277 with 27 home runs in 134 games. Following the season no team was able to match what the Yankees could and it was off to the Bronx where he would cement his legacy as Mr. October by hitting three home runs in three at bats during the 1977 World Series.
Reggie also wore a Seattle Mariners uniform during the 1979 All-Star Game team photo shoot, apparently he forgot his Yankees uniform and had to borrow one from the Mariners clubhouse just prior to the picture being taken:
The rarest in-game photo would be of Reggie Jackson with the Kansas City Athletics, as he only played 35 games with the team in 1967 as a rookie before they relocated to Oakland for 1968, but alas, I could not find one. If you have one, please post it in the comments below.
Lou Brock, Chicago Cubs (1961-1964)
Hall-of-Fame outfielder Lou Brock stole 50 bases for the Chicago Cubs from 1961-64 before he was traded part-way through the ’64 season to the St Louis Cardinals. Over the following 16 seasons, all of which were with St. Louis, Lou would go on to steal an additional 888 bases (including 118 in 1974 alone), setting a Major League record.
Lou retired after the 1979 season, which was the rookie season of the man who shattered all of his records…
Toronto Blue Jays (1993), Anaheim Angels (1997), Seattle Mariners (2000),
Boston Red Sox (2002), Los Angeles Dodgers (2003)
To be honest, any photo of Rickey Henderson in a uniform other than the Oakland Athletics just seems wrong to me, but it’s these five shown above which he only played one (or fewer) seasons in.
Henderson holds the all-time Major League records in stolen bases (as well as the most times being caught stealing), and runs scored. He set the record for stolen bases in his 13th season, only half-way through his 25 season career. Incredible.
Rickey had a drive to just keep playing baseball, for as long as he could, and I respect the man for that. After he was done playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003, Henderson went to the independent leagues and played for 3 more seasons just to get another crack at a job with a Major League team. He finally hung up his well-used cleats at 46 years of age in 2005 after a season with the Golden Baseball League’s San Diego Surf Dawgs.
Ryne Sandberg, Philadelphia Phillies (1981)
Second baseman Ryne Sandberg began his Major League career playing shortstop for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1981. After just six plate appearances with the Phillies, he was traded along with Larry Bowa to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Ivan de Jesus (de Jesus wound up hitting .249 over 3 seasons in Philly, what a deal!)
In his fifteen seasons with the Cubs, Ryno racked up a National League MVP award, ten All-Star Game appearances, nine Golden Gloves, and seven Silver Slugger awards en route to his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005. Those six memorable plate appearances with the Phillies forever immortalized on his hall-of-fame plaque.
Eddie Mathews, Houston Astros (1967), Detroit Tigers (1967-1968)
Eddie Mathews played for the Braves so long that he was with them in three different cities. The only baseball player to play for the Boston Braves, Milwaukee Braves, and the Atlanta Braves. After 15 seasons with the Braves franchise and 493 home runs, Mathews was traded to the Houston Astros on New Year’s Eve 1966.
After half a season in Houston, during which he belted his 500th career home run, he was traded yet again, this time to Detroit where he made 187 plate appearances over the next two seasons before calling it a career after being released by the Tigers in 1968.
Ken Griffey, Jr., Chicago White Sox (2008)
Junior spent 22 seasons in the Major Leagues racking up 630 PED-free home runs in the process; 13 years with the Seattle Mariners, 9 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, and a couple of weeks with the Chicago White Sox.
With only a few weeks left on his contract with the Reds, Griffey was dealt to the White Sox at the trade deadline in 2008. In 41 games with the Pale Hose, Griffey hit .268 with 3 home runs. After his brief layover in Chicago, Griffey headed back to where it all began to finish off his career with a season-and-a-half with the Seattle Mariners.
We’ll wrap things up with The Duke himself…
Duke Snider, New York Mets (1963), San Francisco Giants (1964)
After surviving the mean streets of Compton, California; outfielder Duke Snider hit .300 over his 16 seasons with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers making the All-Star team seven times over that span and forever earning a place in the hearts of Dodger fans all over the world for all-time.
And then he was sold to the Mets.
Duke spent a season back in New York, hitting .243 in 129 games with the Mets before making the New York -> California transfer for a second time in his career. The Mets sold Snider to the Giants following the ’63 season. After hitting .210 over 91 games with only 4 home runs, The Duke called it quits and rode off into the sunset.
I could have gone on forever with this feature, there’s so many players that I could include in here, so maybe we’ll do this again some day in the future. Keep sending in your suggestions and any interesting finds you come across and we’ll feature them next time.