The two obvious ways to think about this; you can go by games played, or where they played better. There are other things you can consider; for example, maybe you give a team extra credit for developing a player. Grant Brisbee points out that you can go the other way, giving a team extra credit for spending their money on a guy. Then there are things like if they won a championship with a team, whether there was anything notable about their stint with a team, and so on. All of these would color what team we associate with a player, even before considering any personal biases we might have.
With that in mind, I want to try and figure out (a) who the future split-team Hall members will be and (b) what team they will go in with. I can’t guarantee that every player I name will make the Hall, though, no matter how deserving. I’ll try to keep my reasoning to players who at least have a legitimate Hall of Fame case; for the players not bound for Cooperstown, think of this more as a discussion of “What is their signature team?”.
There are clear, distinct “halves” to Mussina’s career: the Oriole half and the Yankees half. It’s not really a clean 50/50 split, though. Mussina was just the first player to come to mind when I though of two-team Hall candidates (and yes, he most certainly deserves a plaque in the future). Everything in his case sort of leans to the Oriole half, which makes the discussion less interesting than I thought it would. He was drafted and developed by the O’s, spent more time there (10 seasons, vs. 8 in New York), played more in Baltimore (2009.2 IP in 288 games to 1553.0 IP in 249 games), and was better in his first stop (130 ERA+, 44.5 bWAR in Baltimore; 115 ERA+, 30.3 bWAR in New York; more Cy Young votes, All-Star appearances in the former). The only way you could really swing the argument in the Yankees’ favor is if the Orioles REALLY resent him leaving (and, as an Orioles fan, I don’t really hold it against him now, particularly with hindsight), or if you want to argue that his two World Series appearances as a Yankees can overcome that gap.
Like Mussina, I thought of Edmonds because of his time spent on one of my two favorite teams in addition to a lengthy stint elsewhere (for the sake of this piece, I’m not going to bother looking at his time as a Padre, Cub, Brewer, or Red). Edmonds, however, is without a doubt a Cardinal first and foremost. Look at it this way:
Cardinals: 8 seasons, 1105 games, 143 OPS+, 45.3 bWAR
Angels: 7 seasons, 709 games, 119 OPS+, 20.4 bWAR
The Angels start with a comparable showing in years, at least, and then sort of fall of from there. Edmonds should get in to Cooperstown, and he will be wearing and St. Louis cap once he’s there.
Another player from the mid-2000s Cardinals, although his story isn’t quite as straightforward as Edmonds’. We can go ahead and rule out his time in Canada and Ohio, which basically means that Scott Rolen is either a Phillie or a Cardinal. He was drafted by the Phillies, and played just a hair longer there (844 games in 7 seasons [counting his 37 game pre-rookie year call-up] to 661 games in 6 seasons). He accrued more value as a member of the Phillies, but was better on a per rate basis in St. Louis (25.3 bWAR, or .092 runs/PA) than in Philadelphia (.078 runs/PA). He also had his best season as a Cardinal (2004), as well as four playoff appearances and a World Series title (compared to no playoff appearances in Philly). Then there are the other things, such as how he views each franchise, how they and their fans view him, whether he’ll return to either team in the future, et cetera. As a Cardinals fan, I really want to say he is a Cardinal above all else, but this one may be too close to call or a slight edge to the Phillies. We’ll only find out when he makes the Hall (and, again, he SHOULD make it).
Vladimir falls victim to the Expos syndrome, something that also affected Gary Carter and Andre Dawson. All of them started in Montreal and had their best seasons there, but seemingly got more notoriety after they moved south to the United States or preferred their time away from the team more. In Guerrero’s case, he played about a season’s worth of games more as an Expo, but he may think of himself as an Angel, seeing as that’s where he won an MVP, made the playoffs, and so on. He was better as an Expo, though (32.4 bWAR to 24.9). His case is much closer to a true split than Carter’s or Dawson’s, but I would still put the Expos as his first team. If you want, I guess you can also give him some extra credit as the last great Expo too.
Johnson may have the most interesting case of any player on this list. He made 266 starts in 10 seasons as a Mariners, and 232 starts in 8 seasons as a Diamondback. He was definitely better as a Diamondback, though (45.1 bWAR in Arizona to 37.4 in Seattle), and he also has his playoff performance in Arizona to add to his case. As far as even more extra credit, I would say that he is, as of right now, the franchise player of the D-backs, while the Mariners aren’t even the team that drafted him (that would be the Expos). So, despite playing longer as a Mariners, I would say that he goes into Cooperstown as a Diamondback.
Well, we definitely know Mike’s thoughts on this. Is it reasonable, though? Well, he played more in New York (972 games as a Met to 726 as a Dodger), although he was better as a Dodger (33.6 bWAR to 24.6). He does have a pennant from his time with the Mets, too. This one may be the closest to a draw I’ve seen. In this case, the tie might go to the player’s wishes.
This one looks a lot closer than it feels. Manny spent eight years in both Cleveland and Boston, and played in 1083 games as a Red Sox versus 967 games as an Indian. He was roughly equally good between the two (155 OPS+, 31.2 bWAR in Boston; 152 OPS+, 28.2 bWAR in Cleveland). Really, though, this one has to go to the Red Sox, right? I mean, Manny was the MVP of the 2004 World Series winners. Boston was where Manny became Manny Being Manny. I mean, Cleveland drafted him, but I think he’s mostly thought of as a Red Sock outside of Ohio (unless I’ve totally misread public consensus, which is a possibility).
Sheffield’s problem is more of the Roberto Alomar-“World Tour” variety. The most games he played for any team was 558; he played in more than 200 games for seven different teams. I think we can simplify his possibilities to the Marlins and Dodgers. He spent six seasons in Miami compared to four in Los Angeles. However, because two of his seasons in Florida were the 1994 and 1995 strike years, the games played (558 to 526, Marlins) is closer than you might think, and the value is actually sort of backwards (18.3 to 13.2, in favor of the Dodgers). Still, I think this may go to the Marlins by default; he was there for the 1997 winners, and he probably deserves a little extra credit for time lost to the strike. Alternatively, you can think of it this way: Sheffield means much more to the Marlins and their history than he does to the Dodgers.
Brown is another player who stopped over in Florida for 1997 during his world tour. He is definitely deserving of the Hall, too (all of the players I’ve mentioned so far should be in the Hall; I’ll tell you when that assumption changes). Going down his list of games played by team, first is the Rangers, and honestly, I always forget he played there. He played there for “eight” seasons (although two of them saw a combined 5 appearances), and racked up 186 starts and 16.7 bWAR in Texas. He then proceeded to spend most of his prime years bouncing around, including starting in consecutive World Series for the 1997 Marlins and 1998 Padres. He finally settled in with the Dodgers (somewhat), spending five seasons there and amassing 129 starts and 20.2 WAR. If/When he finally gets the call, he’ll probably go in with them.
I think of Palmeiro’s career as halves as well, although they aren’t as cleanly split as Mike Mussina’s (or Vladimir Guerrero’s or Manny Ramirez’s, for that matter). In all, though, Palmeiro spent three more seasons and 573 more games as a Texas Ranger (ten years, 1573 games) than he did as a Baltimore Oriole.That’s also where he got nearly two-thirds of his value, 40.1 WAR to 24.1.
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Yet another player I think of for halves, although that’s probably the most inaccurate way to think about Griffey’s case. His time in Seattle far outpaced his time in Cincinnati: 13 seasons to 9, 1685 games played to 945, and 67.6 WAR to 11.4.
This is probably to early to be speculating about such things. Nevertheless, I think it still needs to be looked at. Albert has a ten-year contract with the Angels; he spent eleven with the Cardinals, and averaged 155 games per season. Also, he put up 88.7 WAR in St. Louis, and all of this is before even going into the three pennants, two championships, etc.. I think it’s safe to say that no matter what happens over his new contract, Albert Pujols will always be a Cardinal first.
We’re going to look at a slightly less recent player now. I think it’s safe to list Hernandez among the “two halves” players. He played parts of ten seasons as a Cardinal, compared to parts of seven as a Met. His games played as a Cardinal outweigh his games as a Met, 1165 to 880. His value as a Cardinal was slightly higher as well, 35.1 to 26.5. He had post-season success with both teams, too, so that area is probably a wash. The one argument I can see for Keith Hernandez as a Met is the one I used for Sheffield; Hernandez probably means more to the Mets than he does to the Cardinals, due to the different ages of the franchises.
And this is where I break my “Hall of Famer” rule. I just decided to look at Drew again based on the news that he’s probably not coming back. I feel like Drew was sort of under-appreciated everywhere BECAUSE he wasn’t a Hall of Famer; he was supposed to be a historic talent, and instead, he was just a perennial All-Star who hopped from team to team. We can cross the Dodgers and Braves off his list of possibilities; he’s either a Cardinal or a Red Sock. He “played” one more season in St. Louis, although that extra season was just a 14 game call-up in 1998. Really, it’s closer to 5 seasons to 5 seasons. The Red Sox have the edge in games played, but that’s incredibly slight (606 to 597). I think his extra value in St. Louis probably breaks the tie (19.4 WAR to 12.6), but maybe that’s just me as a Cardinal fan. Drew probably deserves more of a retrospective-he was darn good, with just shy of 46 bWAR. But I’ll save that for the official announcement.