In sports fan mythology, a figure that looms large is the player who started his career with a team, finished his career with that team, and played for that same team the entire time in between. Mike Schmidt. Jackie Robinson. Willie Stargell. Lou Gehrig. Ted Williams. Walter Johnson.
We mythologize these lifers partly because they are some of the greatest to ever play the game. But we also honor them because we value loyalty.
Mike Schmidt was not only the greatest third baseman to play the game, but he also was a Philadelphia Phillie, through and through. He didn't linger into his golden years bouncing from enemy team to enemy team just to get a few extra bucks. No, he bled Phillies red his entire career.
We fans love these lifers. However, for Phillies fans, the list of lifers isn't very long, and it could possibly get much shorter this off-season.
Let's start with a definition. I'm not including in my list of lifelong Phillies players who had a short career and never played for another team. There has to be some cut-off. Otherwise, the list would include "lifelong" Phillies Mauricio Robles, Thomas Jacquez, Brad Harman, and Mike Cervenak. Needless to say, that isn't that interesting of a list.
So I put the cut-off at a minimum of 7 years. This is a substantial amount of time to play baseball. Also, in the modern era, 7 years means the player has, in most cases, stayed past his 6 team-control years.
With this cut-off, the Phillies have had 16 lifelong players over the course of their entire franchise history. Eight have been position players; eight have been pitchers. Here are the two lists:
|New York Yankees||36|
|San Francisco Giants||26|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||25|
|Boston Red Sox||22|
|Chicago White Sox||20|
|St. Louis Cardinals||14|