MLB Icons That Switched Teams

Ichiro Suzuki is now a Yankee, but he's not the only perennial All-Star to go nomadic near the end of his career.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Seattle. I feel your pain.

Not only has it been years since your Mariners last had a winning season, but you've been through this ringer before. Ken Griffey Jr. left you, the Sonics left you… heck, the sun even leaves you for about 300 days a year — and now your beloved Ichiro has packed up and left for the Bronx.

Ichiro Suzuki is a sure-bet to make the MLB Hall Of Fame upon retirement. He owns the record for most hits in a season with 262 hits, has a career average of .322, and made 10 All-Star games while earning 10 Golden Gloves in his 12 years in Seattle.

Once hearing that Ichiro would be a Yankee, it made me ponder just how many Hall-of-Famers switched teams in the twilight of their careers. Although the reasons for doing so vary, Ichiro most certainly isn't the first true great to make such a move.

Frank Thomas – Chicago White Sox to Oakland Athletics in 2006, 2008, Blue Jays from 2007-2008

The "Big Hurt" spent most of his career with his beloved White Sox — 15 years to be exact — and finally won his first World Series in his last year with the team in 2005. Even though Frank had more than twice as many home runs than anyone else in White Sox history, Thomas and GM Ken Williams never saw eye-to-eye and was released without even a phone call following the championship season. He still remains an all-time fan favorite in Chicago.

Pete Rose – Cincinnati Reds to Philadelphia Phillies from 1979-1983, Montreal Expos 1984

Bet you didn't know "Charlie Hustle" was an Expo. The All-time hits leader finished his career back in Cincinnati though — where it all started — from 1984-1986. However, his last real productive season was with Philadelphia in 1982 where he made the All-Star team, finishing the season hitting .271. Of course we all know Rose isn't a Hall-of-Famer, but no doubt should be.

Ty Cobb – Detroit Tigers to Philadelphia Athletics from 1927-28

One of the most hated men in baseball history spent 21 years in Detroit before moving on to the A's in 1927. The crazy thing is that he was still insanely productive at such an old age, hitting .357 in 1927 and .323 in 1928.

Hank Aaron – Atlanta Braves to Milwaukee Brewers from 1975-76

"Hammerin' Hank" broke the Babe's home run record in Atlanta in April of '74 but was shipped to the Brewers following the season where he broke the Babe's all-time RBI record in '75. Aaron hit 12 and 10 home runs respectively in his final two seasons with the Brew Crew.

Willie Mays – San Francisco Giants to New York Mets from 1972-73

The "Say Hey Kid" was winding down his career and unfortunately the Giants were losing money at the time. Although 41-years-old, Mays wanted to keep playing but also wanted the reassurance of a front office job upon retirement; something Giants owner Horace Stoneham couldn't promise him; so he shipped him to the Mets where Mays was still loved from his days as a Giant in New York. The Mets knew he could still draw a crowd and offered him a coaching positions upon retirement.

Babe Ruth – New York Yankees to Boston Braves in 1935

It wasn't pretty, but Ruth spent his last playing days as a Boston 'B' after leaving the Yankees due to not getting a managerial offer with the team. He only played in 28 games, hitting just .181/6/12, but one of those games included a 3-home run performance. He was forced out of his last game with a knee injury.

Josh Helmuth is the editor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JHelmuth or subscribe at

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