'He played there?' Baseball card edition

July 8th, 2021

When we hear the name of a star baseball player, or perhaps even a Hall of Famer, we usually think of one or two specific teams with which he had success. But it's fun to remember some stars with teams we don't normally connect them with. And what makes this exercise even more fun? Conducting it with baseball cards.

So here's an example for each club of a player you forgot played on that team -- but with baseball cards:

American League East

Blue Jays: Frank Thomas, 2007 Topps

The Big Hurt was, indeed, a Blue Jay, although it was only for a short time toward the end of his career. He launched his 500th career home run in a Toronto uniform. More >

Orioles: Vladimir Guerrero, 2011 Topps Update

Vlad is most remembered for his time with the Expos, Angels, and even Rangers, but not so much as an Oriole. Baltimore was the last team he'd take the field with in the Majors. More >

Rays: Johnny Damon, 2011 Topps

The Rays? Yep. After he made his MLB debut with the Royals, moved on to the A's and rose to fame with the Red Sox and Yankees, Damon played one season with Tampa Bay in 2010, sandwiched between one-year stints with the Tigers and Indians. More >

Red Sox: Tom Seaver, 1987 Topps

For a brief moment in time, the Red Sox had a starting rotation that featured both Seaver and Roger Clemens. Sure, Seaver was toward the end of his career, but just looking at their names side by side could leave a baseball fan in awe. More >

Yankees: Ivan Rodriguez, 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights

Pudge in pinstripes? It happened. As he bounced around the league toward the end of his career, Rodriguez played in short stints with four different teams -- the Nationals, Astros and Rangers (the team that originally signed him out of Puerto Rico) in addition to the Yanks. More >

AL Central

Indians: Roger Maris, 1958 Topps

He'll forever be remembered for breaking Babe Ruth's single-season home run record of 60 while with the Yankees in 1961, but Maris actually made his MLB debut with Cleveland in '57. More >

Royals: Gaylord Perry, 1984 Fleer

Perry played for several different teams, but his last stop was Kansas City. He even played a role in the famous "Pine Tar Game" in which George Brett had a home run nullified at Yankee Stadium after umpires declared he had too much pine tar on his bat. Perry tried to abscond with the evidence, and this card captures him and Brett having a laugh about the incident. More >

Tigers: Larry Doby, 1959 Topps

Doby was the first Black player to play in the American League after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Dodgers in 1947, making his MLB debut with the Indians later that season. But his Hall of Fame career made a brief stop in Detroit during his final season -- he played in 18 games for the Tigers in '59. More >

Twins: Graig Nettles, 1969 Topps

Nettles rose to fame as a great third baseman with the Yankees, earning five All-Star selections and a pair of Gold Glove Awards over 11 seasons with New York. But it all began for him in Minnesota. More >

White Sox: Ken Griffey Jr., 2008 Upper Deck Timeline

"The Kid" on the South Side? Yes, indeed -- Griffey played in just 41 games for the White Sox in 2008 before returning to Seattle to end his legendary career where it all began. More >

AL West

Angels: Rickey Henderson, 1998 Leaf

Honestly, you could do this exercise for several teams when it comes to Henderson, but the Angels are as good a choice as any. Rickey only played in 32 games for the Halos, but guess what? He stole 16 bases. More >

Astros: Vinny Castilla, 2002 Donruss Fan Club

Castilla is best known for his seasons as a member of the "Blake Street Bombers," the Rockies' sluggers of the mid-1990s. But Castilla was with the Astros for most of one season, joining Houston in May 2001 and hitting 23 homers with 82 RBIs. More >

Athletics: Mike Piazza, 2007 Topps Trading Places

Piazza in the green and gold is kind of weird to think about, right? But for one season it was a reality. The Hall of Fame catcher spent the final campaign of his Major League career with Oakland in 2007, hitting eight homers in 83 games to bring his career total to 427. And this card gives us a double dose of "He played there?" because it also features him in the uniform of the club he played for the previous year -- the Padres. More >

Mariners: Jason Bay, 2013 Topps

Bay's best years came with the Pirates and Red Sox, but few remember he finished his career with the Mariners in 2013. In between there were some disappointing years with the Mets, with whom he signed a big contract prior to the 2009 season. Bay hit 11 homers in 68 games for Seattle. More >

Rangers: Goose Gossage, 1992 Fleer

The Goose pitched for nine different teams over a 22-year Hall of Fame career, but many don't remember he appeared in 44 games for Texas in 1991, posting a 3.57 ERA. And of his 310 career saves, exactly one came in a Rangers uniform. More >

National League East

Braves: Billy Wagner, 2010 Topps Update

Wagner was one of the hardest-throwing relievers of his era, with a triple-digit fastball from the left side that overpowered hitters throughout his 16-year MLB career. Most of that dominance came while Wagner was with the Astros, Phillies and Mets. But in his final season, 2010, Wagner was great for Atlanta, posting a 1.43 ERA with 37 saves in his age-38 campaign. More >

Marlins: Mike Piazza, 1998 Fleer Ultra

Ah, you didn't think you'd see Piazza just once on this list, did you? This is perhaps one of the most famous "He played there?" stories in baseball. That's because Piazza was a Marlin for all of eight days in 1998 before he was flipped to the Mets. Somehow, there's still this trading card of him in a Florida uniform! More >

Mets: Hideo Nomo, 1999 Topps

Nomo took the baseball world by storm when he came over from Japan and made his MLB debut with the Dodgers in 1995. He would go on to have his best years with Los Angeles before being traded to New York in '98. Things didn't go as well there, but at least we have this card of him in that much-debated black Mets jersey. More >

Nationals: Mark Melancon, 2016 Topps Update

Melancon is still an active pitcher in the Majors, but that doesn't make his quick stint with Washington any less obscure in the big scheme of his career -- the veteran right-handed reliever made a name for himself with the Pirates before Pittsburgh traded him to the Nats in the middle of the 2016 campaign. He pitched in 30 games for Washington and was great, posting a 1.82 ERA with 17 saves down the stretch before becoming a free agent and signing a big contract with the Giants. More >

Phillies: Pedro Martinez, 2009 Topps Update

Martinez had such an incredible career that it's hard to keep track of all the highlights. He won three Cy Young Awards in a four-season span from 1997-2000, one with the Expos and two with the Red Sox. He then helped Boston break an 86-year World Series title drought in '04. He was then a two-time All-Star with the Mets. But his final season was spent with the Phillies -- he signed with Philadelphia in May of that year and pitched in the World Series against the Yankees. More >

NL Central

Brewers: Gary Sheffield, 1989 Topps "Future Stars"

Sheffield rose to stardom with the Padres and Marlins, winning a batting title with San Diego in 1992 and helping Florida win the World Series in '97. He went on to bash homers with the Dodgers, Braves and Yankees before it was all said and done. But many forget that he began his MLB career with 294 games with Milwaukee. More >

Cardinals: Eric Davis, 1999 Skybox

Davis is best known for wearing red -- but that red was in a Reds uniform, not a Cardinals uniform. From 1999-2000, "Eric the Red" did wear a St. Louis uniform, hitting .283/.376/.418 before wrapping up his 17-year career with the Giants the following year. More >

Cubs: Tony La Russa, 1974 Topps

He may be managing in his second stint on the South Side of Chicago, but did you know La Russa spent a little time on the North Side, too -- as a player? More >

Pirates: Moises Alou, 1990 Score

When you hear "Alou" and "Pirates" in the same sentence, you probably think of Matty, Moises' uncle, who played for Pittsburgh from 1966-70. But it's true -- Moises was a Pirate, drafted second overall in the January 1986 Draft by the Bucs. He only appeared in two games for them, though, before he was traded to Montreal, where he became a star. More >

Reds: Paul Konerko, 1999 Fleer Ultra

Many people don't know Konerko was originally drafted by the Dodgers, let alone that he played in 26 games for Cincinnati. But it did happen, right before he was sent to the White Sox in exchange for Mike Cameron. Check out this card of a baby-faced, goatee-less Konerko at first base for the Reds. More >

NL West

D-backs: Adam Dunn, 2009 Topps Heritage

Dunn slugged some of the longest home runs in recent memory, but most of them came for the Reds, White Sox or Nationals. There was, however, a season in there somewhere during which he spent 44 games with Arizona -- 2008. That's when Cincinnati traded him to the D-backs in August. Eight of his 270 career homers came in a D-backs uniform. More >

Dodgers: Fred McGriff, 2004 Topps

The Crime Dog in Dodger blue? It's true. McGriff signed with the Dodgers for the 2003 season at age 39. He hit 13 of his 493 career homers with Los Angeles that year. He returned to the Rays, for whom he played earlier in his career, for his final season in '04. More >

Giants: Randy Johnson, 2009 Topps Update

He became the "Big Unit" in Seattle. His finest years came in Arizona. But his 300th career win came in a San Francisco uniform in 2009, Johnson's final MLB season. More >

Padres: Greg Maddux, 2007 Allen & Ginter

Talk about weird -- Maddux in anything other than a Cubs or Braves uniform is a little jarring to see. But this is a beautiful card and captures Maddux as a Padre in 2007. The most dominant starting pitcher of the mid-1990s wound down his Hall of Fame career in Southern California, spending his final three seasons between Los Angeles and San Diego. More >

Rockies: Justin Morneau, 2014 Topps Update

How often do you see a guy win a batting title with a team that many forgot he even played on? That's sort of the case with Morneau since we always think of him with the Twins. After all, it was in Minnesota where he played in his prime, earning AL MVP honors in 2006, as well as four All-Star selections. But don't sleep on his 2014 campaign with Colorado, in which he hit .319/.364/.496. More >