While it is always difficult to pick just one player that made a franchise great, there is always that player that is the standard for which every player of that ballclub wants to emulate.
Toronto Blue Jays - Roy Halladay
Roy Halladay is considered by many the greatest Blue Jay of all time, having played for the club from 1998-2009. Halladay was one of the most dominant pitchers of his era, known as a durable pitcher, Halladay had memorable moments with the Blue Jays, playing in 6 All-Star games. Halladay unfortunately died in a plane crash off the coast of Florida at 40 years of age. The Blue Jays organization posthumously retired his number 32.
New York Yankees - Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle was New York and maybe the greatest Yankee player of all-time. Mantle played only for the Bronx Bombers and won 7- World Series, he was a 20-time All-Star, 3-time AL MVP, and a part of the MLB’s All-Century Team.
Tampa Bay Rays - Carl Crawford
Coming to a more modern era, Carl Crawford played from 2002-2010 for the Rays. Crawford was a capable left fielder and was a 4-time All-Star, and expert base stealer.
Boston Red Sox - Ted Williams
The Red Sox have had their share of heroes, but Ted Williams is the ultimate Red Sox player. Williams was a 19-time All-Star, 4-time AL RBI Leader, 6-Time AL batting champion, 2-time AL MVP, but was not able to win the big prize for Boston. Still, the heart and soul of the Red Sox is Ted Williams.
Baltimore Orioles - Cal Ripken Jr.
The great Cal Ripken Jr. hit over 400 home runs for the Orioles in his years in Charm City. Ripken Jr. was a world class baseball player that at times was stuck on some pretty bad teams. He stuck it out and left a legacy that has been hard to fill in Baltimore.
Cleveland Guardians - Bob Feller
A great pitcher, Bob Feller had two stints with the Cleveland franchise. With over 2,500 strikeouts and a 266-162 record, Feller was a World Series winner, 8-time All-Star, AL ERA leader, pitched three no-hitters, and a 7-time MLB strikeout leader.
Minnesota Twins - Kirby Puckett
Kirby Puckett was a Twins lifer playing for the club from 1986 - 1995, Puckett was a sensational center fielder and a 10-time All-Star. Puckett was a 2-Time World Series champion, ALCS MVP, and AL Batting Leader. Puckett passed away from a stroke in 2006.
Chicago White Sox - Frank Thomas
Frank Thomas played with the White Sox from 1990- 2005, known as a power hitter and able first baseman, Thomas was a two time AL MVP and the 1997 batting champion.
Detroit Tigers - Ty Cobb
Ty Cobb was a great center fielder and hitter, Cobb played for the Tigers from 1905-1926. During that time Cobb was a AL MVP, 12-time AL batting champion, and had an MLB career batting average of .366. Cobb was not a perfect person but a great ball player.
Kansas City Royals - George Brett
George Brett was the KC Royals from 1973-1993 the infielder slugger recorded over 3,000 hits, 317 home runs, and 1 World Series championship. From 1976 - 1988 Brett did not miss an All-Star game.
Seattle Mariners - Ken Griffey Jr.
Ken Griffey Jr. was a hallmark of the Mariners, in two stints, his best in the 1990s, where Griffey played in every All-Star game. In 1997 Griffey was the AL MVP, and a four-time home run leader in the AL. Griffey loves Seattle and today is a minority owner of the Seattle Sounders FC.
Los Angeles Angels - Tim Salmon
King Fish as he was known was a great right fielder for the Angels from 1992-2004 and 2006. Tim Salmon hit 299 home runs and had 1, 016 RBIs. In 2002 Salmon was a part of the World Series and was AL rookie of the year in 1993.
Oakland A’s - Rickey Henderson
Mr. base stealer Rickey Henderson had a wild career bouncing around from many teams, but his best work was with the A’s. Henderson had 4 stints with the A’s winning two World Series and setting many MLB records such as 1,406 career stolen bases, 2,295 career runs, and 130 stolen bases, a single season record.
Houston Astros - Nolan Ryan
One of the greatest MLB pitchers of all time, Nolan Ryan had double digit wins in seven seasons. Ryan in 1981 had an ERA 1.69 in 21 games started, Ryan had his number retired by three teams in the MLB, talk about great!
New York Mets - Tom Seaver
The face of the Mets since the team was founded, Tom Seaver was a remarkable pitcher. Seaver won three Cy Young Awards and had a remarkable 311-205 record, 2.86 ERA and over 3,000 strikeouts.
Atlanta Braves - Hank Aaron
The home run king Hank Aaron played for the Braves from 1954- 1974, and he was a 25-time All-Star, World Series champion, NL MVP, and one of the most popular and decorated MLB players of all time.
Philadelphia Phillies - Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt was a Phillie through and through hitting 548 home runs, 1,595 RBIs, and 2,234 hits. Considered by many to be the greatest third baseman in MLB history, Schmidt played 18 years in Philadelphia winning one World Series and playing in 12 All-Star games. A 3-time NL MVP to go along with his World Series MVP, one of the most respected ball players ever.
Miami Marlins - Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera is still going strong and from 2003-2007 the Venezuelan was the face of the Marlins. Cabrera helped the team win the improbable 2003 World Series and was a perfect infielder.
Washington Nationals - Max Scherzer
Pitching ace Max Scherzer was the best player on the Nationals from 2015-2021, having two-no hitters in 2015. In 2018 Scherzer had 300 strikeouts in the season and racked up Cy Young Awards. It all began to culminate with the 2019 World Series.
St. Louis Cardinals - Ozzie Smith
The human highlight that was Ozzie Smith played for the Cardinals from 1982-1996, Smith was a defensive master winning 13 career Gold Glove Awards, 12 of them in St. Louis.
Milwaukee Brewers - Robin Yount
Robin Yount hit 251 home runs, 3,142 hits, and batted in over 1,400 runners, he was a Brewers lifer and one of the best shortstops in the game. Yount won 2- AL MVPs and was only on three All-Star rosters.
Chicago Cubs - Ernie Banks
Ernie Banks played 14 years with the Cubs and was the face of the franchise and an All-Star. Even winning back-to-back MVP awards was not enough to bring home the World Series. Banks was a great ball player who just fell short, but not because he wasn’t the best on his team.
Pittsburgh Pirates - Roberto Clemente
One of baseball’s all-time greats, Roberto Clemente won two World Series, was a 15-time All-Star, and 4-time batting champion, unfortunately Clemente was taken from us too soon as he died in a plane crash in 1972.
Cincinnati Reds - Johnny Bench
One of the best catchers of all time Johnny Bench did it all in Cincinnati from 1967- 1983, 14- time All-Star, 2- time World Series champion (1975, 1976), 2- time NL MVP (1970, 1972), World Series MVP (1976), NL Rookie of the Year (1968), 2-time NL home run leader (1970, 1972), Major League Baseball All-Century Team, and Major League Baseball All-Time Team.
Los Angeles Dodgers - Jackie Robinson
While technically he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he was still a Dodger, and no one comes close to Jackie Robinson. Robinson broke the color barrier, his legacy is important because of that but he also won the 1955 World Series, NL MVP, 2-time stolen base leader, and has his number retired by every MLB team.
San Francisco Giants - Willie Mays
Quick, fast, great Willie Mays played in count em, 24- All-Star games, won a World Series for the Giants, was a 4-time stolen base leader in the NL, and had a charisma that made you pay for a ticket.
Colorado Rockies - Todd Helton
Todd Helton is the man in the Mile High state, playing from 1997-2013 for the Rockies. A 5-time All-Star, over 350 Home Runs, MLB batting champion, and MLB RBI leader. Helton was the best in Colorado.
San Diego Padres - Tony Gwynn
A Padre for life Tony Gwynn played from 1982- 2001, and was an 8-time NL batting champion, 15-time All-Star, 7-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and excellent outfielder.
Texas Rangers - Ivan Rodriguez
Ivan Rodriguez spent 13 seasons with the Rangers making 10 All-Star appearances and winning 10 Gold Gloves. One of the best catchers in MLB history, they did not get better than Rodriguez.
Arizona Diamondbacks - Randy Johnson
Randy Johnson or known as the big unit was a phenomenal pitcher, playing in two stints at the club and won four Cy Young Awards in 4 seasons, Johnson won the 2001 World Series and was simply one of the best free agent signings of all time.