Bobo Newsom www.baseball-reference.com

Bobo Newsom
www.baseball-reference.com

If you’ve ever wondered about who are the most well-traveled ballplayers, well you’ve come to the right post.

My favorite journeyman is good ol’ boy Bobo Newsom on the left, there. His career spanned 25 years during which he played on 9 clubs, switched teams 16 times, and never stayed on the same club for more than 3 consecutive seasons. He even had multiple stints with 4 different organizations, and was once traded for two brothers, one (the wrong one) a future HOFer.

After the jump, I’ll introduce you to a number of other journeymen, some unfamiliar and some who need no introduction.

WARNING: what follows is entirely for fun and written 100% tongue in cheek. Remember, you were warned.

On B-R (and other sites, no doubt), you can find lists of the most teams that a player has played for. That’s fine for a career journeyman measure. But, a real journeyman ALWAYS has his bags packed, never knowing where he may be headed next.

This post is a 5-round race to determine Mr. Journeyman, the player to play for the most franchises in a 5-year period. We’ll go one round at a time, so you can see the guys who jump out to a fast start and then fade, and others with more staying power. But, don’t forget about the guys who hang back, waiting to make a final charge to the finish line.

Round 1

It’s a perfect evening at the track for today’s running of the Mr. Journeyman Derby. It’s a grueling 5 round event in quest of the prestigious Mr. Journeyman Cup.

We’re just about ready and, yes, they’re off and running, as we look for players with the most teams in a single season.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 George Strief 4 1884 1884 27-27 86 342 .189 .237 .273 .510 /*74583 STL-CLV-CPI-KCC
2 Harry Wheeler 4 1884 1884 26-26 73 316 .244 .263 .305 .568 /*8971 KCC-CPI-BLU-STL
3 Tom Dowse 4 1892 1892 25-25 65 238 .165 .193 .178 .372 /*23947 CIN-LOU-PHI-WHS
4 Frank Huelsman 4 1904 1904 30-30 112 438 .245 .311 .343 .654 /*798 CHW-DET-SLB-WSH
5 Willis Hudlin 4 1940 1940 34-34 19 24 .143 .182 .143 .325 /*1 CLE-WSH-NYG-SLB
6 Paul Lehner 4 1951 1951 30-30 65 203 .172 .247 .250 .497 /879 SLB-PHA-CLE-CHW
7 Ted Gray 4 1955 1955 30-30 14 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 /*1 NYY-CLE-CHW-BAL
8 Wes Covington 4 1961 1961 29-29 105 321 .270 .329 .433 .762 /97 PHI-MLN-KCA-CHW
9 Mike Kilkenny 4 1972 1972 27-27 29 16 .071 .071 .071 .143 /*1 CLE-DET-OAK-SDP
10 Dave Kingman 4 1977 1977 28-28 132 481 .221 .276 .444 .720 /739D5 CAL-NYY-NYM-SDP
11 Dave Martinez 4 2000 2000 35-35 132 513 .274 .346 .370 .716 *9/378 CHC-TOR-TEX-TBD
12 Dan Miceli 4 2003 2003 32-32 57 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 /*1 HOU-COL-NYY-CLE
13 Jose Bautista 4 2004 2004 23-23 64 96 .205 .263 .239 .502 /9578D PIT-TBD-KCR-BAL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

As you can see, everyone from Cap Anson to Bryce Harper is eligible. I’ve highlighted number 4, Frank Huelsman because it appears that his four teams were really equivalent to a season playing for five teams. His B-R page appears to indicate that he went from Chicago to Detroit, back to Chicago, then to St. Louis and finally Washington. Watch out for the powerful  Joey Bats in round 2.

Round 2

Now we’re looking at most teams played for in any two consecutive seasons.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Pop Smith 5 1881 1882 24-25 47 180 .093 .183 .093 .276 /546897 BUF-WOR-CLV-PHA-LOU
2 Harry Wheeler 5 1883 1884 25-26 155 693 .234 .250 .292 .541 /*78914 COL-KCC-CPI-BLU-STL
3 George Strief 5 1884 1885 27-28 130 526 .219 .262 .310 .572 /7456893 KCC-CPI-CLV-STL-PHA
4 Tom Dowse 5 1891 1892 24-25 120 454 .193 .233 .216 .449 /*23974 COL-WHS-LOU-CIN-PHI
5 Paul Lehner 5 1951 1952 30-31 68 208 .180 .261 .257 .518 /879 SLB-PHA-CLE-CHW-BOS
6 Hoot Evers 5 1954 1955 33-34 147 365 .227 .286 .385 .671 /798 NYG-DET-BOS-CLE-BAL
7 Ted Gray 5 1954 1955 29-30 33 25 .040 .040 .040 .080 /*1 DET-NYY-CLE-CHW-BAL
8 Eddie Robinson 5 1956 1957 35-36 137 310 .196 .304 .321 .625 /*3 NYY-KCA-DET-CLE-BAL
9 Bob Miller 5 1970 1971 31-32 94 48 .125 .222 .125 .347 /*1 CHC-CLE-CHW-SDP-PIT
10 Willie Horton 5 1977 1978 34-35 255 998 .273 .322 .413 .735 *D/7 TEX-DET-TOR-OAK-CLE
11 Dave Kingman 5 1977 1978 28-29 251 929 .242 .305 .490 .796 *7/39D5 SDP-NYM-NYY-CAL-CHC
12 Steve Carlton 5 1986 1987 41-42 64 47 .200 .217 .289 .506 /*1 SFG-PHI-CHW-MIN-CLE
13 Pat Borders 5 1995 1996 32-33 139 421 .246 .279 .357 .636 *2/D3 HOU-KCR-STL-CHW-CAL
14 Dave Martinez 5 2000 2001 35-36 252 772 .278 .346 .375 .721 *9/738D CHC-TOR-TEX-TBD-ATL
15 Bruce Chen 5 2002 2003 25-26 71 18 .313 .313 .375 .688 /*1 NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS
16 Dan Miceli 5 2002 2003 31-32 66 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 /*1 TEX-HOU-COL-NYY-CLE
17 Octavio Dotel 5 2010 2011 36-37 133 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

Wow, lots of rabbits in round 1. Only the 19th century guys and a couple of Daves, Kingman(!) and Martinez, carried over from round 1. But, the race is still wide open, including the last guy on the list who, with 13 teams on his resume, figures to have some staying power. Also nice to see Eddie Robinson here to represent the Kansas City-New York shuttle. And with World Series MVP Pat Borders and HOFer Steve Carlton, this is really shaping up as an interesting race.

Round 3

On we go to 3 seasons. It’s still anybody’s race.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Pop Smith 6 1880 1882 23-25 130 520 .169 .208 .226 .433 /*456897 CIN-CLV-WOR-BUF-PHA-LOU
2 Pop Smith 6 1881 1883 24-26 144 607 .213 .265 .319 .584 /*4568917 BUF-CLV-WOR-LOU-PHA-COL
3 Harry Wheeler 6 1882 1884 24-26 231 1044 .239 .255 .313 .568 /798314 CIN-COL-KCC-CPI-BLU-STL
4 Tom Dowse 6 1890 1892 23-25 160 626 .197 .243 .220 .463 *2/937841 CLV-COL-WHS-PHI-LOU-CIN
5 Bob Johnson 6 1967 1969 31-33 239 569 .307 .342 .388 .730 /5436 NYM-BAL-CIN-ATL-STL-OAK
6 Bob Miller 6 1969 1971 30-32 142 82 .070 .143 .070 .213 *1 MIN-CHC-CLE-CHW-SDP-PIT
7 Willie Horton 6 1977 1979 34-36 417 1694 .275 .324 .431 .755 *D/7 TEX-DET-TOR-OAK-CLE-SEA
8 Pat Borders 6 1994 1996 31-33 224 732 .247 .281 .345 .626 *2/D3 TOR-HOU-KCR-STL-CHW-CAL
9 Pat Borders 6 1995 1997 32-34 194 591 .260 .297 .377 .674 *2/D3 HOU-KCR-STL-CHW-CAL-CLE
10 Terry Clark 6 1995 1997 34-36 71 1 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 /*1 ATL-BAL-HOU-KCR-TEX-CLE
11 Danny Darwin 6 1995 1997 39-41 85 75 .164 .164 .284 .448 /*1 TOR-TEX-PIT-HOU-SFG-CHW
12 Shawon Dunston 6 1997 1999 34-36 334 987 .288 .306 .440 .746 6/7849D35 PIT-CHC-SFG-CLE-STL-NYM
13 Jorge Fabregas 6 1997 1999 27-29 279 854 .226 .276 .313 .589 *2/3 CHW-ANA-NYM-ARI-FLA-ATL
14 John Mabry 6 2000 2002 29-31 293 652 .242 .299 .428 .727 9/375D81 SDP-SEA-STL-FLA-PHI-OAK
15 Dan Miceli 6 2001 2003 30-32 117 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 FLA-COL-TEX-HOU-NYY-CLE
16 Bruce Chen 6 2001 2003 24-26 98 70 .175 .175 .190 .365 /*1 PHI-NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS
17 Bruce Chen 6 2002 2004 25-27 79 18 .313 .313 .375 .688 /*1 NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS-BAL
18 Jorge Julio 6 2006 2008 27-29 157 3 .000 .667 .000 .667 *1 NYM-ARI-FLA-COL-ATL-CLE
19 Octavio Dotel 6 2009 2011 35-37 195 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-STL-TOR
20 Octavio Dotel 6 2010 2012 36-38 190 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL-DET
21 Chad Qualls 6 2010 2012 31-33 207 0 *1 TBR-ARI-SDP-PIT-PHI-NYY
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

Whoa! Didn’t even notice old Pop Smith sneak in there in round 2. And with two entries, he looks really good for the next round, too. Same goes for Pat Borders, Bruce Chen and (I warned you about him) Octavio Dotel.

Round 4

So, we know we’ll get 7 teams in 4 years, but do I hear 8?

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Pop Smith 7 1880 1883 23-26 227 947 .211 .249 .309 .558 *4/568917 CIN-BUF-CLV-WOR-LOU-PHA-COL
2 Bob Miller 7 1970 1973 31-34 171 55 .109 .196 .109 .305 *1 CHC-CLE-CHW-SDP-PIT-NYM-DET
3 Pat Borders 7 1994 1997 31-34 279 902 .256 .292 .360 .653 *2/D3 TOR-HOU-KCR-STL-CHW-CAL-CLE
4 Danny Darwin 7 1994 1997 38-41 98 75 .164 .164 .284 .448 /*1 BOS-TOR-TEX-PIT-HOU-SFG-CHW
5 Todd Zeile 7 1995 1998 29-32 594 2502 .263 .345 .435 .780 *5/37 STL-CHC-PHI-BAL-LAD-FLA-TEX
6 Jorge Fabregas 7 1997 2000 27-30 322 1006 .235 .283 .322 .605 *2/3D CHW-ANA-NYM-ARI-FLA-ATL-KCR
7 Bruce Chen 7 2000 2003 23-26 135 108 .129 .138 .140 .278 *1 PHI-ATL-NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS
8 Bruce Chen 7 2001 2004 24-27 106 70 .175 .175 .190 .365 *1 PHI-NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS-BAL
9 Jorge Julio 7 2005 2008 26-29 224 3 .000 .667 .000 .667 *1 BAL-NYM-ARI-FLA-COL-ATL-CLE
10 Jorge Julio 7 2006 2009 27-30 172 4 .000 .500 .000 .500 *1 NYM-ARI-FLA-COL-ATL-CLE-MIL
11 Kip Wells 7 2006 2009 29-32 102 89 .238 .238 .288 .525 *1 PIT-TEX-STL-COL-KCR-WSN-CIN
12 Octavio Dotel 7 2009 2012 35-38 252 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL-DET
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

Guess not. But, there’s Todd Zeile coming out of nowhere. And with 2500 PA, no less. This must make Todd the Rodney Dangerfield of baseball. Yes, we want you in the lineup everyday. Until we don’t, that is. Bruce Chen is still looking strong, and now Jorge Julio has moved up to challenge. Still too close to call, though.

Round 5

Last round to determine Mr. Journeyman. All wagers in, and we’re off.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Harry Wheeler 8 1880 1884 22-26 249 1113 .231 .245 .301 .547 7/98314 CLV-CIN-COL-KCC-CPI-BLU-STL
2 Bob Miller 8 1969 1973 30-34 219 89 .065 .133 .065 .197 *1 MIN-CHC-CLE-CHW-SDP-PIT-NYM-DET
3 Bruce Chen 8 2000 2004 23-27 143 108 .129 .138 .140 .278 *1 PHI-ATL-NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS-BAL
4 Rick White 8 2002 2006 33-37 304 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN
5 Jorge Julio 8 2005 2009 26-30 239 4 .000 .500 .000 .500 *1 BAL-NYM-ARI-FLA-COL-ATL-CLE-MIL
6 Russell Branyan 8 2007 2011 31-35 432 1425 .234 .330 .488 .818 3/5D7 STL-SDP-PHI-MIL-SEA-CLE-ARI-LAA
7 Octavio Dotel 8 2007 2011 33-37 300 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 ATL-KCR-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-STL-TOR
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

There you have it. A dead heat. Harry Wheeler, among the early leaders, made it all the way back. And look at that – Rick White and Russell Branyan have come out of the pack in the final round. With his 300+ appearances in 5 years, White is definitely another in the Rodney Dangerfield class.

We’ll have to go to a tie-breaker. But, wait! What’s this? Yes, a challenge flag has been thrown. Just hang on a moment while I sort this out. ……. Indeed, the challenge is that I can’t count. Harry Wheeler is showing as playing for 8 teams, but only 7 are shown. This one is going upstairs for further review. ….. Upon further review, the ruling on the track stands – 8 teams for Harry Wheeler. But, how can it be? It seems that Harry played for both the NL and AA Cincinnati clubs, and both are shown in B-R as CIN (memo to Sean Forman: let’s get that fixed).

Anyway, back to the tie-breaker. It’s a sudden death round as we go to 6 seasons for only these qualifiers. Unfortunately, Harry Wheeler, Bob Miller, Bruce Chen and Jorge Julio cannot improve on 8 teams, so they’re out.

So, it’s down to the final three of Rick White, Russell Branyan and Octavio Dotel. The tension is excruciating as P-I churns through the permutations. But, yes I believe we have a result. Yes, here it is.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Rick White 9 2001 2006 32-37 359 6 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 NYM-STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN
2 Rick White 9 2002 2007 33-38 333 4 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN-SEA
3 Kenny Lofton 9 2002 2007 35-40 737 3021 .293 .360 .418 .779 *8/79D SFG-CHW-PIT-CHC-NYY-PHI-LAD-TEX-CLE
4 Russell Branyan 9 2006 2011 30-35 523 1707 .233 .330 .490 .820 35/D97 SDP-TBD-STL-PHI-MIL-SEA-CLE-ARI-LAA
5 Octavio Dotel 9 2006 2011 32-37 314 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 NYY-ATL-KCR-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-STL-TOR
6 Octavio Dotel 9 2007 2012 33-38 357 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 KCR-ATL-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL-DET
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

I was afraid this might happen. We’re still tied. But wait, what’s this? A late entry for Kenny Lofton? The judges are looking into this. …. sorry Kenny, you have been disqualified, as you weren’t among the top finishers at the end of the regulation 5 rounds.

So, for the second tie-breaker, it’s down to the battle of the pluses. It’s Russell Branyan’s OPS+ against ERA+ for Rick White and Octavio Dotel (I think that gulping sound you just heard was Rick White).

So, here it is, our final result.

Rk Player Count Plus From To Age Pos Teams
1 Rick White 9 95 2001 2006 32-37 *1 NYM-STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN
2 Rick White 9 88 2002 2007 33-38 *1 STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN-SEA
3 Russell Branyan 9 119 2006 2011 30-35 35/D97 SDP-TBD-STL-PHI-MIL-SEA-CLE-ARI-LAA
4 Octavio Dotel 9 111 2006 2011 32-37 *1 NYY-ATL-KCR-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-STL-TOR
5 Octavio Dotel 9 118 2007 2012 33-38 *1 KCR-ATL-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL-DET
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

What a squeaker. Russell Branyan just edges Octavio Dotel by the slimmest of margins, 119 to 118. Rick White is well back and will have to settle for 3rd place (did White really get 350+ appearances with that ERA+ ?)

We’re going down now to our trackside reporter. He’s trying to make his way through the crowd and get a few words with our winner.

HHS: “Russell, congratulations! What a race.”

RB: “Wow. Was that ever close. I was really worried when it got to the second tie-breaker. Thought I might have blown it with that 84 OPS+ in my last year. But, what can I say. It all worked out.”

HHS: “You almost didn’t make it into the playoff. You just squeaked in on the last round.”

RB: “Right. Arizona picked me up for that 2011 season, and I was like 0 for May and wondering if I still had it. But I broke out of it in that win over the Braves with the big hit in the 11th off Craig Kimbrel, and I guess that was all the Angels needed to see. Compared to Vernon Wells, I suppose I looked pretty hot. Anyway, that was the move that got me into the playoff round, so thank you Angels.”

HHS: “Thanks Russell. Enjoy the moment. Back to you, Doug.”

Well, there you have it folks. Big upset tonight, with Rusell Branyan edging out favorite Octavio Dotel. Good night, everyone.

Subscribe to: RSS feed