Who in your state played their professional sport for the longest time?

The Major League Baseball (MLB) has been around for decades, and in turn, featured many players with careers ranging from very short to very long. Those longer than average careers caught the eye of the team at USDISH: We wanted to find out which athlete played the longest amount of time or the most amount of games in baseball from each state.

Even with player and owner lockouts in baseball’s history, baseball athletes managed to put in significant years on the diamond. When the average length of a baseball career amongst our list was nearly 21 years, you know some players exceeded that tenure. From Cap Anson of Iowa to Nolan Ryan of Texas, who both played for 27 years in the majors, check out which baseball athlete in your state played the most in America’s National Pastime.


USDISH used pro-reference from major U.S. sports to get information about the length of each athlete’s professional career in time as well as how many games they played.

  • https://www.baseball-reference.com/bio/

Some states might be missing, meaning there was no athlete from that state that met the criteria, or no information was available on the reference pages.

StateAthlete NameYears in MLBActive FromActive ToGames PlayedNumber of Baseball Players by State
AlabamaHenry Aaron HOF23195419763298476
AlabamaWillie Mays HOF23194810732005476
AlabamaEarly Wynn HOF2319391963796476
AlabamaDon Sutton HOF2319661988611476
AlaskaCurt Schilling201988200740212
ArizonaIan Kinsler14200620191888129
ArizonaRon Hassey14197819911192129
ArizonaJeremy Affeldt1420022015573129
ArkansasBrooks Robinson HOF23195519772896217
CaliforniaJesse Orosco24197920035712,376
CaliforniaDennis Eckersley HOF24197819982182,376
ColoradoRich Gossage HOF221972199438899
ConnecticutJim O'Rourke HOF23187219041999207
DelawareChris Short151959197346562
District of ColumbiaJohnny Klippstein1819501967930111
District of ColumbiaPop Snyder1818731891713111
FloridaSteve Carlton HOF2419651988699659
GeorgiaTy Cobb HOF24190519283034513
HawaiiCharlie Hough251970199445648
IdahoHarmon Killebrew HOF2219541975243530
IllinoisRickey Henderson HOF251979200330811,105
IndianaTommy John2619631989452407
IowaCap Anson HOF27187118972524225
KansasWalter Johnson HOF2119071927934232
KentuckyWoodie Fryman1819661983564336
LouisianaRusty Staub23196319852951339
MaineGeorge Gore1418791892131078
MarylandAl Kaline HOF22195319742834343
MarylandHarold Baines HOF22198020012830343
MarylandBabe Ruth HOF22191419352503343
MassachusettsRabbit Maranville HOF23191219352670672
MichiganJim Kaat2519591983840444
MinnesotaDave Winfield HOF22197319952973173
MississippiCool Papa Bell HOF21192219461199264
MissouriFrank Duncan2219201945850671
MissouriJerry Reuss2219691990552671
MontanaJohn Lowenstein1619701985136826
NebraskaPete Alexander HOF2019111930703119
NebraskaMel Harder2019281947584119
NevadaBarry Zito152000201543349
New HampshireMike Flanagan181975199252654
New JerseyKid Gleason22188819121968463
New MexicoVern Stephens1519411955172031
New YorkEddie Collins HOF251906193028261,244
North CarolinaGaylord Perry HOF2219621983512476
North DakotaDarin Erstad1419962009165420
OhioDeacon McGuire261884191217811,079
OklahomaWillie Stargell HOF21196219822360296
OklahomaWillie Wells HOF21192419481038296
OklahomaLindy McDaniel2119551975865296
OregonSyl Johnson1919221940542137
PennsylvaniaBobby Wallace HOF251894191823831,476
PennsylvaniaJamie Moyer25198620122361,476
Rhode IslandNap Lajoie HOF2118961916248079
Rhode IslandJohny Cooney201921194415979
South CarolinaBobo Newsom2019291953609239
South CarolinaNat Rogers2019231945489239
South DakotaDave Collins1619751990170139
South DakotaTerry Foster161971198642939
TennesseeRick Dempsey24196919921765397
TexasNolan Ryan HOF27196619938071,088
UtahBruce Hurst151980199437941
VermontCarlton Fisk HOF2419691993249938
VirginiaJud Wilson HOF2119231945900363
VirginiaEppa Rixey HOF2119121933694363
WashingtonJohn Olerud17198920052234216
WashingtonRon Cey17197119872073216
WashingtonJeff Conine17199020072024216
West VirginiaGeorge Brett HOF21197319932707130
WisconsinLave Cross21188719072277252
WyomingDick Ellsworth131958197140716

Interesting Findings

  • Twenty-seven years was the longest of any player across all four major sports, and baseball had two of them. From 1871 to 1897, Cap Anson of Iowa played for the Chicago White Stockings, even when they rebranded to the Chicago Colts. Nolan Ryan of Texas played from 1966 to 1993 and stayed close to home, playing for the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers most of his career.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, Dick Ellsworth of Wyoming played for 13 years from 1958 to 1971, the shortest career on our list of longest careers per state. He only had 15 other players from the Cowboy State to compete with, the smallest number of baseball players coming out of a state.
  • 32 of the 70 players on our list were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Some more recognizable names include Babe Ruth (Maryland), Willie Mays (Alabama), and Ricky Henderson (Illinois). 
  • No state produced more long-tenured athletes than Alabama with four, including Mays, Henry Aaron, Don Sutton, and Early Winn—all 23-year careers, all Hall of Famers.

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