2000 Topps Traded #T46 Michael Young RC (Blue Jays)
In today's era of big free-agent contracts, loyalty to a single team throughout a career is getting harder and harder to come by.
I can't say I blame the players, though. I'd much rather see the "free agent" era that we're living in today than the dreaded reserve claus that ruled the first century of professional baseball.
Plus, money talks.
However, it's still extremely satisfying to see that a few players have stayed loyal to their organizations. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are the first names that come to mind, and I have no doubt that they'll both retire as Yankees.
Jorge Posada probably could have caught on with another team this offseason, but he decided to hang 'em up and retire as a Yankee.
Good decision, Jorge.
Yankee players aside, Michael Young may be the best example of team loyalty. Even after his disastrous offseason a couple years ago, when the Rangers basically forced Young out of consistent playing time via free agent signings, he stayed loyal. He did ask for a trade (although the Rangers couldn't find anyone willing to give up enough to get him0, but he put all of that aside once the season started and had a spectacular season.
Young has been in Texas since 2000, when he appeared in two games as a September call-up.
Ever since then, he's become a Ranger legend. He's currently the franchise leader in games, hits, doubles, triples, runs, at-bats, and plate appearances.
He's also a seven-time All-Star.
However, what many people don't know is that he was originally part of the Toronto Blue Jays' organization. The Jays drafted Young in the fifth round of the 1997 draft.
The Jays sent Young to the Rangers for pitcher Esteban Loaiza in July of 2000. To be fair, Loaiza did have a legendary year in 2003, but he had already moved on to the White Sox by then.
Loaiza pitched just two full years in Toronto. Although he did total 20 wins for the Blue Jays in those two full years, he never had an ERA below 5.00.
I bet the Blue Jays would like to have that trade back.