Time for our Tuesday rankings, and uh, this Albert Pujols news got me thinking…Yesterday, when we talked about it, he was the only guy I could think of that played the majority of his prime in one place, then went to another place and gave them good years, only to return to his original team. Well, as it would turn out, this has happened A LOT! So, while I usually deliver a top 5, there wasn’t enough room for everyone, I’m expanding out to 10. Here are the top 10 players to play their prime for one team, leave, and then later return to their original squad.
10- Jose Reyes- After 8 season, Reyes left the Mets high and dry at the end of the 2011 season for big money with Miami. He wound up bouncing around and his career would never be the same. But, he did make his way back in 2016.
9- Randy Moss- Moss dominated the NFL in Minnesota from 1998-2004 but then became a head case and went from Oakland to New England, revitalized his career, but he definitely lost a step around 2010. Moss was traded back to Minnesota for a 3rd round pick in 2010. But he only played in 4 games and caught 13 passes.
8- Scottie Pippen- Pippen played for the Bulls from ’87 to ’98 (Last Dance, hello!). Pippen’s final season brought him all the way back to the beginning. He played sparingly (23 games) for the Bulls during the 2003-04 season, his final stint in the NBA.
7- Alfonso Soriano- A Yankee from 1999-2003…but, his first stint was cut short because he was part of the deal that brought in A-Rod, but had another go-round at the end of his career in 2013. (.850 OPS in 58 games)
6- Charles Woodson- His first eight years were with Oakland, then he came back for his final three after winning a title with GB. During his final season, he made the Pro Bowl after picking off five passes and recovering four fumbles.
5- Ichiro Suzuki- He signed on to play with the Mariners in his final season in 2018, but it was short lived, played just 15 games before moving to the front office. But, he did come out and hit as a gimmick when they opened the season in Tokyo in 2019…he went 0-5 at the plate.
4- Tom Glavine- Glavine spent 16 years in Atlanta before bolting to the rival Mets but he came back home for his final season in ’08. His ERA (5.54) and win total (2) were the lowest since his first MLB season, and also identical to his first season.
3- Dwyane Wade- Wade played 13 years in Miami before taking a lucrative deal to head back home to Chicago where he was from…but Wade County just wasn’t the same without him, so he came back for his final season in 2018-19. He averaged 14ppg so it wasn’t all that bad.
2- Allen Iverson- AI played in Philly for 10 years after getting drafted by them in 1996. He then went on to play for the Nuggets, Pistons, and Grizzlies, but eventually came back to Philly for his final season. 2009, where he famously kissed the logo at mid-court. He played in 25 games and averaged 14ppg.
Number 1!- Ken Griffey Jr.- Griff spent his first 10 years with the Mariners. AL MVP in 1997, 4x HR champ in the AL, 10x Gold Glove winner. And he would actually go on to wrap up his career there too. After years with the Reds and White Sox, he played the ’09 and 2010 season with the M’s.