It's easy to tell which city your favorite baseball player represents: It's likely your city, and it's emblazoned across his chest 162 times every season. But what about the cities where players learned to turn on a fastball, where they played youth baseball, where they raised families? Where did history's
It's easy to tell which city your favorite baseball player represents: It's likely your city, and it's emblazoned across his chest 162 times every season. But what about the cities where players learned to turn on a fastball, where they played youth baseball, where they raised families? Where did history's best players come from, and which hailed from your neck of the woods?
Across MLB.com, we profiled all 27 Major League cities through the lens of the talent they've spawned. Players don't need to be born in the city to represent it. Inclusion criteria simply demands the player spent his formative years there, preferably high school, and that he did so within the city limits or in its immediately surrounding areas.
Using career WAR as a guide* -- but also considering other factors, such as the era they played, postseason accomplishments, if they played professionally in that city, and Hall of Fame status -- we ranked the best five players all-time from each city, listed some excellent names that couldn't crack the top five, and sprinkled in some current players, too.
The mission was to create as complete a historical picture of your city's baseball tradition -- and to as accurately honor its legends -- as possible.
*(Baseball Reference version)
• Who are the Top 5 players from other Major League cities?
Born: May 22, 1902 (died May 26, 1956)
Accolades: Received MVP votes eight times, 3-time All-Star, 2-time batting champion, led AL in hits twice, RBIs and runs scored once, .334/.380/.535 hitter with 307 home runs over 20 seasons, 2-time World Series champion, inducted into Hall of Fame in 1953
High school: Unknown
Almost all of Milwaukee's baseball talent came from the first half of the 20th century. Only seven active players come from Wisconsin. But several Hall of Famers once called the Cream City home.
Simmons is the best of those, an all-time great left fielder. The star of manager Connie Mack's Philadelphia A's dynasty, Simmons rapped 2,927 hits and hit over .300 13 times. He hit .381 in 1930, .390 in '31, and .365 with 157 RBIs in '29.
Simmons was one of the first players to hit with an open stance and one of the first to watch video of himself at-bat in an attempt to improve his swing. He is buried at St. Adalbert Cemetery in Milwaukee.
Born: April 12, 1880 (died April 14, 1911)
Accolades: Led AL with 27 wins in 1907, two-time ERA champion, holds MLB-record .968 WHIP, 46 WAR, inducted into Hall of Fame in 1978
High school: Wayland Academy (Beaver Dam, Wis.)
Joss threw a perfect game in 1908, a no-hitter in '10 and retired early due to illness, but with the second-lowest ERA in Major League history. He was born northwest of Milwaukee and attended college at Sacred Heart in Watertown and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Born: May 12, 1866 (died Sept. 6, 1927)
Accolades: Two-time league champion, .292/.329/.383 hitter over 21 seasons, twice drove in 100-plus runs, hit over .300 six times, 47 WAR
High school: Unknown
Cross was one of the most prolific players of the 19th century; he retired in 1907 among the all-time leaders in many offensive and defensive categories. The Milwaukee native struck out just 11 times in 292 games between 1898-99.
Born: Oct. 31, 1916 (died Dec. 12, 1991)
Accolades: Seven-time All-Star, twice drove in 100-plus runs, led AL in games played in 1939, hit .276/.338/.441 with 163 home runs over 13 seasons, 34 WAR
High school: Boys Technical High in Milwaukee
Born on Superior Street in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood, Keltner didn't graduate high school, instead playing on local semipro teams and working as a truck driver. He signed with his hometown Brewers -- then just a Minor League team -- and was sold to the Indians as a prospect.
Keltner became one of the best third basemen of the 1940s. He's immortalized in baseball history as the man who helped snap Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak in 1941.
Born: Dec. 4, 1930 (died Feb. 28, 1988)
Accolades: 1952 AL Rookie of the Year, eight-time All-Star, 1959 AL batting champion, four-time league hit champion, three-time doubles leader, .303/.357/.408 hitter with 2,092 hits over 15 seasons, 26 WAR
High school: Milwaukee Lutheran
An excellent contact hitter whose best seasons came with Detroit in the 1950s, Kuenn grew up on Milwaukee's south side. After a standout playing career, he returned to his hometown to manage, leading the Brewers to their only World Series title in 1982.
Honorable mention: Craig Counsell, Happy Felsch, Tony Kubek, George McBride, Joe Randa, Vinnie Rottino, Bud Selig and Bob Uecker.
Active players:Ben Heller
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com.