Over the weekend, the Giants retired the No. 25 worn by Barry Bonds and the Tigers retired Jack Morris' No. 47. Bonds became the 12th Giant and Morris the seventh Tiger so honored (along with Jackie Robinson's No. 42 for both teams, of course). Bonds played for the Giants for 15 seasons and Morris pitched for the Tigers for 14 years and was just inducted into the Hall of Fame: It was a no-brainer for the Tigers once he was in.
This whole exercise got us thinking: Which active players might end up with their own jerseys retired? Who potentially has that immortality in their future? Thus, this week at The Thirty, in honor of Bonds and Morris, we take a look at the most likely active player to someday have their number retired for every team. Note the wording there, by the way: The player has to be active, but he does not have to be actively playing for the team that will retire his number at this specific moment.
Now, some of these teams have a rule that they won't retire anyone's number who wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame. In this case, if there is no obvious Hall of Fame candidate, when necessary, we'll pick the player most likely to be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame. But the general principle remains: Who's the active player most likely to go down in history for each specific franchise? Here's our list.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
19: Jose Bautista
This is probably the last year for Bautista, who is peddling his wares for the Mets, his second team this season. This jersey retirement probably won't end up happening, so they may just have to do a statue of his bat flip.
10: Adam Jones
Jones may be traded in August, but he'll be forever an Oriole. He's Captain America for crying out loud.
3: Evan Longoria
He's the best player in franchise history by a wide, wide margin.
15: Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia is already one of the franchise's 10 best players by WAR (per Baseball Reference) in history, and if he ever gets healthy again, he'll pass David Ortiz (whose No. 34 is already retired) in a matter of weeks. Also, those two World Series championships don't hurt.
99: Aaron Judge
It's obviously early, but it's not like anyone else is clamoring for the number.
12: Francisco Lindor
This is a tough call: Corey Kluber (28) is right there, too, but Lindor could be here for decades to come as a franchise icon.
13: Salvador Perez
Anybody else get the feeling that come 2028 we're going to be having the same Hall of Fame arguments about Perez that we're having about Yadier Molina right now?
24: Jose Cabrera
Cabrera will end up having been a Tiger for 16 years by the time his contract is over … and heck, maybe even longer.
7: Joe Mauer
Remember, Kent Hrbek has a statue outside Target Field. If he has a statue, they should probably just name the stadium after Mauer.
49: Chris Sale
Probably pushing it here, but if he ends up spending longer than seven years -- the amount of time he spent with the White Sox -- with any other team, we'll be surprised.
27: Michael Trout
27: Jose Altuve
The jersey might be retired before the player is.
29: Adrian Beltre
If only he could have won one of those World Series…
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
5: Freddie Freeman
He's still only 28 years old. The guy the Braves didn't trade years ago may end up being an Atlanta lifer … and perhaps someday a champion.
27: Giancarlo Stanton
He's the Marlins' all-time leader in bWAR, by a significant margin. But by the time he retires, will anyone remember he ever played here?
5: David Wright
Oh, what could have been.
31: Max Scherzer
He's under contract with the Nationals through 2021, which gives him a lot of time to win some more Cy Young Awards.
26: Chase Utley
We've got five years to debate his Hall of Fame case. OK, probably 10, at least.
8: Ryan Braun
Is this crazy? This is probably crazy. But we might feel a lot differently about Braun's offense in 20 years than we do now.
5: Jose Pujols
Molina might end up having his jersey retired as well, but the Cardinals haven't given out No. 5 since Pujols left and surely won't ever again.
22: Andrew McCutchen
Still pretty strange that his old team has a better record than his new one does.
19: Joey Votto
At this point, Votto will probably retire a Red, and maybe as the best Red since the Big Red Machine.
44: Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt might have gotten started too late in his career to have much of a shot at the Hall of Fame, but he'll be beloved in Phoenix forever.
22: Clayton Kershaw
We'll see what happens this offseason, but 11 years of brilliance so far is plenty.