When Jeremy Bonderman made his return to the Tigers last week, I found it odd that three members of the historically bad 2003 club had now made their way back to Detroit over the years. Bondo, of course, retired due to injury, had a cup of coffee in Seattle early this season, and is now back. Ramon Santiago was traded to the Mariners in early 2004, in one of the biggest steals ever for Carlos Guillen, before rejoining the Tigers in 2006. And Omar Infante was traded in the infamous Jacques Jones deal to the Cubs in November of 2007 before coming back in the Anibal Sanchez trade last year.
When I looked back over that 2003 roster, it actually surprised me to see that three other members of the team were still in the majors, too. Andres Torres, Fernando Rodney, and Cody Ross still draw MLB paychecks. It seemed like a lot of guys to me considering you have to be pretty talented to last a decade or more in MLB. And not too long ago, before being released by their teams, Carlos Pena and Brandon Inge were still around.
I pointed it out on Twitter that six players remained from 2003 and Matt Sussman replied that the AL’s World Series representative that year, the Yankees, also had six players still active (Rivera, Jeter, Giambi, Soriano, Pettitte, and Choate). It seemed odd to me that the worst team in AL history would have as many active players as the then-loaded Yankees ten years later. And I started wondering how they compared to the other teams in baseball.
It turns out, only three MLB teams from 2003 have more than the six that Detroit and New York still have in the game. Oddly enough, two of the three are from the AL Central. And one team, the Brewers, have no one left in MLB that was on their 2003 team.
Here’s a complete list of all the teams and who is still around, to the best of my knowledge.
New York: 6 (see above)
Toronto: 5 (Hinske, Wells, Johnson, Werth, Halladay)
Boston: 4 (Ortiz, Lyon, Arroyo, Chen)
Tampa Bay: 4 (Crawford, Gomes, Diaz, Gaudin)
Baltimore: 2 (Roberts, Hairston)
Cleveland: 11 (Phillips, Peralta, Crisp, Hafner, McDonald, Martinez, Ludwick, Sabathia, Westbrook, Lee, Betancourt)
Minnesota: 7 (Pierzynski, Hunter, Cuddyer, Morneau, Lohse, Hawkins, Balfour)
Detroit: 6 (see above)
Chicago: 4 (Konerko, Colon, Buehrle, Cotts)
Kansas City: 4 (Beltran, DeJesus, Affeldt, Wright)
Texas: 8 (Teixeira, Young, Rodriguez, Nix, Laird, Ludwick, Benoit, Dickey)
**Note: Ryan Ludwick played for both Cleveland and Texas in 2003.
Oakland: 6 (Ellis, Tejada, Chavez, Zito, Hudson, Harang)
Seattle: 5 (Suzuki, Bloomquist, Garcia, Soriano, Putz)
Anaheim: 3 (Molina, Lackey, Rodriguez)
Houston: 3 (Berkman, Dotel, Chen)
**Note: Bruce Chen played for both Boston and Houston in 2003.
Philadelphia: 5 (Polanco, Rollins, Utley, Punto, Myers)
Atlanta: 4 (Furcal, DeRosa, Blanco, Marquis)
Miami: 4 (Pierre, Cabrera, Beckett, Burnett)
Montreal: 3 (Carroll, Chavez, Downs)
New York: 2 (Reyes, Scutaro)
Pittsburgh: 4 (Ramirez, Perez, Vogelsong, Gonzelez)
Cincinnati: 3 (Dunn, Miller, Dempster)
St Louis: 2 (Pujols, Haren)
Chicago: 1 (Ramirez)
**Note: Aramis Ramirez played for both Pittsburgh and Chicago in 2003.
San Diego: 6 (Kotsay, Nady, Victorino, Quintero, Peavy, Perez)
**Note: Oliver Perez played for both Pittsburgh and San Diego in 2003.
San Francisco: 5 (Torrealba, Ransom, Williams, Nathan, Correia)
Colorado: 4 (Helton, Uribe, Barmes, Lopez)
Los Angeles: 4 (Izturis, Beltre, Ross, Jackson)
Arizona: 2 (Overbay, Capuano)
No, I don’t know why I’m still talking about the 2003 team. Maybe I'm still a little in awe of this 2013 group after sitting through that nightmare.
That, or I’m a masochist. Either way, I still found it all interesting. Also, LOL Indians. I always love reflecting on the talent they've let walk.