Many of us have probably been to our 20 year (or more) high school reunion. There are some people you may have stayed in touch with all those years, others may have crossed your path just a few times, but for many of your classmates it could be the first time you’ve met since high school.

It can be like that in baseball too. Except, there aren’t nearly as many on-field reunions because most players don’t stay in the game for 20 years. Even when they do, their playing time at either or both ends of their careers can make reunions with other specific players pretty unlikely. And, of course, there’s always the difficulty of being in different leagues. But, it does happen sometimes. After the break, you can take a look at pairs of players who have appeared together in games separated by 20 or more seasons. Which players do you think have had the most “reunions”?

So, here’s the list from the game-searchable era, ordered chronologically by last game.

Pair  Player A Player B First Game Last Game
1 Boom-Boom Beck Al Simmons 1924-09-22 1944-07-01
2 Murry Dickson Enos Slaughter 1939-09-30 1959-06-09
3 Elmer Valo Ted Williams 1940-09-24 1960-09-17
4 Elmer Valo Early Wynn 1941-09-21 1961-05-16
5 Hank Aaron Lindy McDaniel 1955-09-24 1975-07-07
6 Brooks Robinson Harmon Killebrew 1955-09-18 1975-08-27
7 Hank Aaron Frank Robinson 1956-05-11 1976-08-01
8 Rusty Staub Joe Morgan 1963-09-21 1983-09-12
9 Rusty Staub Steve Carlton 1965-10-01 1985-06-12
10 Rusty Staub Tony Perez 1965-05-24 1985-07-22
11 Rusty Staub Pete Rose 1963-04-27 1985-07-24
12 Tony Perez Steve Carlton 1965-04-18 1986-08-05
13 Tony Perez Pete Rose 1964-07-26 1986-08-17
14 Phil Niekro Steve Carlton 1966-09-01 1987-04-24
15 Phil Niekro Don Sutton 1966-08-08 1987-06-08
16 Joe Niekro Steve Carlton 1967-09-26 1988-04-23
17 Bert Blyleven Carlton Fisk 1972-07-03 1992-08-09
18 Dennis Eckersley Eddie Murray 1977-04-19 1997-09-16
19 Dennis Eckersley Paul Molitor 1978-04-18 1998-08-22
20 Rickey Henderson Harold Baines 1980-06-27 2000-08-27
21 Rickey Henderson Mike Morgan 1979-06-27 2001-09-07
22 Jesse Orosco Tim Raines 1982-04-16 2002-05-12
23 Julio Franco Tim Raines 1982-09-22 2002-09-22
24 Rickey Henderson Julio Franco 1983-04-04 2003-08-02
25 Jamie Moyer Barry Bonds 1986-08-11 2007-05-04
26 Tom Glavine Barry Bonds 1987-08-22 2007-05-30
27 Julio Franco Roger Clemens 1984-05-15 2007-06-15
28 Greg Maddux Barry Bonds 1986-09-13 2007-08-03
29 Greg Maddux Jamie Moyer 1986-09-02 2008-08-15
30 Randy Johnson Ken Griffey 1989-05-30 2009-05-22
31 Omar Vizquel Ken Griffey 1989-04-03 2009-10-02
32 Omar Vizquel Ivan Rodriguez 1991-09-23 2011-06-25
33 Jim Thome Arthur Rhodes 1991-09-15 2011-07-28

Some notes.

  • The bolded pairings indicate that one or both players are pitchers and the pair faced each other in a PA in both of the games
  • Maximum possible spans are in pair 1 (Beck/Simmons) and pair 13 (Rose/Perez), with one game the first of one player’s career, and the other game the last of the other player’s career.
  • Other career debuts are in pairs 2 (Dickson), 8 (Morgan), 27 (Clemens), 29 (Maddux), and  30 (Griffey and Vizquel).
  • One other career finale in pair 16 (Carlton), and also the second-to-last career game for Niekro on that day.
  • The longest span between first and last matchup is Franco and Clemens (pair 27), at more than 23 years. Pairs 11 (Staub/Rose), 13 (Perez/Rose) and 21 (Henderson/Morgan) have spans exceeding 22 years.
  • The “stars must have been aligned” award goes to pair 1 (Beck/Simmons). Their first matchup in 1924 was Beck’s first career game and only appearance prior to 1927, and their last tilt was Simmons’ final career game and one of only 4 appearances he had that year.
  • No matchups at all for a number of notables with very long careers, including Stan Musial, Carl Yastrzemski, Gaylord Perry, Jim Kaat, Tommy John, Nolan Ryan, Charlie Hough, and others.
  • Honorable mention to Tom Glavine and John Smoltz who were teammates on the 1988 and 2008 Braves’ teams and, being starters, never appeared in the same game. Similarly, Dennis Eckersley and Rick Honeycutt appeared in an Aug 27, 1977 game, and were teammates on the 1997 Cardinals, but didn’t appear in the same game.
  • Close call for Dave Philley and Elmer Valo who last appeared together on June 10, 1961 and who also both appeared in the Athletics/White Sox series of Sep 11-13, 1941, but not in the same game.
  • Close call for Ted Simmons and Don Sutton who last appeared together on Apr 7, 1988 and who also both appeared in the Cardinals/Dodgers series of Sep 20-22, 1968 but not in the same game.
  • Close call for Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton who both appeared in the Mets/Dodgers series of Jun 10-12, 1968 but not in the same game, and also both appeared in the Astros/Dodgers series of Jun 6-9, 1988 but not in the same game.
  • Close call for Bill Buckner and Charlie Hough who first appeared together as Dodger teammates on Sep 21, 1970 and who also both appeared in the Red Sox/Rangers series of May 28-30, 1990, but not in the same game.
  • Close call for Carlton Fisk and Rick Dempsey who first appeared together on Apr 25, 1972 and who also both appeared in the White Sox/Orioles 1992 series on both July 6-8 and July 20-22, but not in the same game.
  • Close call for Nolan Ryan and Rick Dempsey who first appeared together on Jun 27, 1972 and who also both appeared in the Rangers/Orioles 1992 series on both July 16-19 and July 23-26, but not in the same game.
  • Close call for Nolan Ryan and Rich Gossage who last appeared together on Jun 12, 1992 and who also both appeard in the Angels/White Sox 1972 series on both May 29-31 and Sep 8-10, but not in the same game.
  • Close call for Nolan Ryan and Bert Blyleven who both appeared in the Angels/Twins series of Apr 18-19, 1972 but not in the same game, and also both appeared in the Rangers/Angels series of Jun 15-17, 1992 but not in the same game.
  • Close call for George Brett and Carlton Fisk who last appeared together on May 25, 1993 and who also both appeared in the Royals/Red Sox series of Aug 7-9, 1973, but not in the same game.
  • Close call for Eddie Murray and Dennis Martinez who first appeared together on Apr 9, 1977 and who also both appeared in the Angels/Mariners series of May 19-21, 1997, but not in the same game.

Here are some possible pairings for players before the game-searchable era.

Player A Player B First Game Last Game
Cap Anson Jim O’Rourke 1872 AA 1893 NL
Lave Cross Jack O’Connor 1887 AA 1907 NL
Deacon McGuire Hughie Jennings 1891/92 AA/NL 1912 teammates
Bobby Wallace Harry Davis 1894/95 NL 1915/16 AL
Nap Lajoie Harry Davis 1896 NL 1916 teammates
Bobby Wallace Honus Wagner 1897 NL 1917 NL
Bobby Wallace Tommy Leach 1898 NL 1918-06-30
Ty Cobb Walter Johnson 1907 AL 1927-09-05
Tris Speaker Walter Johnson 1907 AL 1927-09-22
Ty Cobb Tris Speaker 1907-08 AL 1928-08-30
Eddie Collins Tris Speaker 1907-08 AL 1928-08-30
Ty Cobb Eddie Collins 1906-08 AL 1928-09-11
Eddie Collins Jack Quinn 1909-10 AL 1930-08-05
Eppa Rixey Rabbit Maranville 1912-13 NL 1933-05-17
Jack Quinn Rabbit Maranville 1913 teammates 1933-07-07
Herb Pennock Babe Ruth 1914 AL 1934-08-12

There were two new pairs added to the list last season and nine added just in the last 5 seasons. But, with so much player movement every year, it can be tough to guess which pair of players may be next to join this list. Who do you think it could be?

The Blue Jays and Phillies are again on each other’s interleague schedule. But, if you’re wondering about Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel, sorry! Even though Thome debuted in 1991, he never played against Vizquel’s Mariners until opening day of the 1994 season.  On the other hand, should Arthur Rhodes make his way back onto a major league roster this year, he and Vizquel could possibly have a reunion, 20 seasons after their first encounter on Aug 19, 1992. Similarly, if Ivan Rodriguez lands a job, he and Jim Thome could connect, 20 seasons after their first meeting on May 19, 1992.

Please let me know of any possible combination I may have missed. Would be happy to check them out.

Subscribe to: RSS feed