When professional athletes start their career, they likely picture themselves having a long, successful career with the team that drafted them. Yet the average MLB, NFL, NHL, and NBA career is less than six years. For every long-term superstar, there are dozens of players who languish on the bench or quickly wash out of the league altogether. But these are not the only two options — there are also the journeymen.
Journeymen athletes are good enough to stay in their league for many years, but not quite good enough to feature in any franchise’s long-term plans. Throughout sports history, there have been a handful of journeymen who bounced from team to team, never settling in one place. In fact, there are 10 players who suited up for a dozen or more teams in their careers.
To determine the players who played for the most teams, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the Sports Reference family of sites on professional athletes who played for at least 12 NFL, MLB, NHL, or NBA franchises. Only players who made the active roster for a franchise were considered.
Of the 10 different players who have played for at least a dozen teams in their careers, five were in the MLB, four in the NBA, and just one in the NHL. No NFL player has ever suited up for a dozen teams, though kicker Shayne Graham came close, playing for 10 different teams.
Though being a journeyman player is not the most glamorous pro sports occupation, it is still impressive. The record holder played for 14 different MLB teams, meaning nearly half the teams thought he was good enough to be on their roster. This required consistency, longevity, professionalism, and adaptability, moving from Baltimore to San Diego to nearly a dozen other major cities over the course of 17 years. This long, winding career may never be equaled. Here are some other sports records that may never be broken.
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