The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are two of the most iconic baseball franchises. Throughout their respective existences, they have consistently fielded some of the best teams and are always a contender to make the playoffs year in and year out. These big market teams have enthusiastic fan bases who often do not settle for prolonged rebuilds. After all, when was the last time either of these teams had a multiple year rebuild?
The drive to consistently remain a competitive team has no doubt been aided by their ability to have large payrolls, but it is also a testament to the number of recognizable, star players these teams have had on their rosters. Yankees fans fondly remember the time when their lineups consisted of A-Rod, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and Jorge Posada with Mariano Rivera waiting in the bullpen. Red Sox fans have been able to enjoy seasons with rosters featuring David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon and Josh Beckett.
However, for every recognizable player the Yankees and Red Sox have had over the years, there are notable players whom many baseball fans forget actually played for them! In this article, we will be taking a look at 10 players everyone forgets played for the New York Yankees, and another 10 everyone forgets played for the Boston Red Sox.
20 Yankees: Ivan Rodriguez
Many baseball fans will probably remember Hall of Fame catcher Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez for his impressive career with the Texas Rangers between 1991 and 2002 and for a season in 2009. However, it is often forgotten that the legendary catcher once played for the Bronx Bombers for a single season.
In 2008, the Yankees were trying to make a push for a playoff spot so they acquired Rodriguez from the Detroit Tigers at the trade deadline.
The Yankees were hopeful he could fill in for Jorge Posada, but he unfortunately hit a miserable .219/.257/.323 with only 3 RBI in 33 games.
19 Red Sox: Hideo Nomo
Hideo Nomo was the big acquisition the Boston Red Sox made in 1995 when they signed the sensation from Japan. He featured a unique windup that was consistently able to fool batters and was one of the top players during his time with L.A. Dodgers. In his impressive rookie year, he finished first in strikeouts and finished with an equally impressive 2.54 ERA.
While he declined a bit over the years, Nomo still remained relatively successful for much of his career. It's often forgotten that Nomo briefly played for the Red Sox in 2001. With the Red Sox, Nomo pitched to a 4.50 ERA.
18 Yankees: Mark Melancon
Mark Melancon is currently the closer for the San Francisco Giants - when he hasn't been on the Disabled List with a variety of ailments that is. Over the past several seasons, Melancon has been a very solid closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Washington Nationals. However, Melancon actually got his first taste of the major leagues with the New York Yankees.
He got his first World Series Ring with the Yanees in 2009, even though he was not on the postseason roster. Melancon was traded to the Houston Astros the following season for Lance Berkman. It's probably a good thing for Melancon that he did not have the unenviable task of having to be the guy who takes over for Mariano Rivera.
17 Red Sox: Gabe Kapler
Many Red Sox fans will likely forget that current Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler was actually an outfielder for the Red Sox between 2003 and 2006.
During these seasons, Kapler was mostly a middle of the pack type of hitter who reliably put up some decent numbers.
While his tenure with the Red Sox is probably not well remembered my many Red Sox fans, Kapler can always attest to being one of the players on the field when the Red Sox finally broke the Curse of the Bambino in 2004. It's a shame for the Red Sox that some of Kapler's best years came with the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies, after he left the Red Sox.
16 Yankees: Kevin Cash
Kevin Cash did not have a very long playing career and the time he did spend in the MLB mostly saw him relegated to backup catcher duties. This makes it fairly understandable that Yankees fans forget about the 10-game stint that Cash had with the Yankees back in 2009. Kevin Cash merits a spot on this list as Yankees fans frequently see him in his role as the Tampa Bay Rays manager, a role he has held since December 2014 when Joe Maddon left the team. As of the end of the 2017 season, Cash holds a 228-258 Win/Loss managerial record (.469%).
15 Red Sox: Jose Canseco
The controversial slugger (and admitted steroid user) Jose Canseco did play for the Boston Red Sox for a while. Canseco was signed by the Boston Red Sox to add some much needed power to their lineup in 1995. He was able to do just that for them, having hit 24 home runs and batted .306 in his first year with the team. Unfortunately, he was not as productive the following season as it was cut short due to injury.
Following his time with Boston, Canseco played for a handful of other teams before retiring in 2002. In post-retirement, Canseco has had his fair share of controversies - such as writing two revealing books and warning everyone about the existential threat robots pose to humanity.
14 Yankees: Bartolo Colon
Bartolo Colon is easily one of the most beloved baseball players still active in the league. Even though he is in his mid-40s, Colon is still a serviceable major league starting pitcher.
Colon has pitched for several teams throughout his 20+ years in the league, but he really experienced a career resurgence after signing with the New York Yankees in 2011.
The team took a chance on Colon, who had missed the entire 2010 season, and he did not disappoint. He held a fairly respectable 4.00 ERA as a back of the rotation starter.
13 Red Sox: Bartolo Colon
You aren't seeing things here. Not only has Bartolo Colon played for the New York Yankees, but he has also suited up for their biggest rivals - the Boston Red Sox. Among the ever-increasing list of teams that Colon has played for, he made a stop to Boston for the 2008 season. That season, he made seven starts for the team and pitched to a 3.92 ERA. His Red Sox career ended on a bizarre note, as he ditched the team late in the season to go to the Dominican Republic. That violated his contract and ended his time with the team.
12 Yankees: Deion Sanders
Yes, you read that correctly. Believe it or not, NFL legend Deion Sanders actually suited up for the New York Yankees. In fact, Sanders started off his MLB career with the team between 1989 and 1990. Sanders was the team's starting center fielder but only managed to hit a measly .178 over the two seasons. Sanders ended up playing seven more seasons in the MLB, including an impressive 1992 season where he hit .304 for the Atlanta Braves.
Of course, Sanders is more widely known for his impressive career in the NFL. It would be interesting to see what might have happened to his football career if Sanders had experienced success with one of MLB's most storied franchises.
11 Red Sox: Jed Lowrie
Jed Lowrie has recently started to earn more respect around the league since breaking out with the Oakland Athletics last year. He has really impressed on offense and defense, and was even named to his first All-Star Game this year!
He is a key part to Oakland's success this year, but it is often forgotten that Lowrie spent the first four years of his MLB career with the Red Sox.
Lowrie was decent for the team, but was often regarded as a bench player and often found himself in platoon situations with other middle infielders. Arguably one of the highlights of his Red Sox career was turning a triple play against the Tampa Bay Rays.
10 Yankees: Aaron Boone
Perhaps the familiarity of knowing what it means to suit up for the Yankees is what led them to hire Aaron Boone as their manager last offseason. Boone, who replaced Joe Girardi as manager of the Yankees, actually played for the Yankees in 2003. He only appeared in 54 regular season games for the team back then, but he is perhaps best remembered for having hit the game-winning home run against the Boston Red Sox in the 2003 ALCS.
Boone also spent some time with the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals, and Houston Astros before retiring in 2010 and becoming an analyst for ESPN.
9 Red Sox: Eric Gagne
Former closer Eric Gagne is best known for his outstanding stretch between 2002 and 2004, which saw him win the Cy Young Award in 2003. He absolutely deserved that award as, during that time, Gagne successfully converted 84 consecutive save opportunities. The L.A. Dodgers knew that, with Gagne entering the game, the odds were that they would win.
Injuries led to his sharp decline from 2005 onwards, and was named in the 2007 Mitchell Report. It is often forgotten that Gagne actually spent a season with the Red Sox in 2007, who thought he could return to his past success. Unfortunately, Gagne struggled for much of the regular season.
8 Yankees: Vernon Wells
Vernon Wells spent most of his playing days as the center fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, and not being able to live up to the then-massive 7-year/$126 million contract. The Angels made the mistake of acquiring Wells in a salary dump trade, but sent him to the Yankees after two seasons.
Wells hit below average in 130 games over a single season spent with the Yankees.
The Yankees ended up releasing Wells after one season, even though that meant paying him the remainder of the contract owed to him. The Yankees ended up being Wells' last team.
7 Red Sox: Brandon Moss
It might not seem like it, but Brandon Moss has been a major leaguer for over a decade now. The durable but unspectacular veteran outfielder has been on a major league roster patrolling the outfield for seven different teams during that span. Among the teams Moss has spent time with are the Athletics, Cleveland, the Cardinals and the Royals. However, Moss spent the first two years of his major league career with the Boston Red Sox - the team who drafted him in the eighth round. Unfortunately, Moss rarely spent much time with the Red Sox at the major leage level as his tenure with the team was cut short by injuries.
6 Yankees: Rich Hill
In recent seasons, Rich Hill has made a name for himself with the Oakland Athletics and now the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers gave him a relatively large contract to the injury-prone veteran pitcher, who has been on the Disabled List more frequently than the team would like. It is often forgotten that Hill actually pitched for the Yankees not too long ago! Back in 2014, he appeared in 14 games for the Bronx Bombers in which he pitched as their left handed specialist out of the bullpen.
He had a solid 1.69 ERA with the team, but the Yankees chose not to re-sign him that offseason. It worked for well for Hill, as he found his way back into the starting rotation with Oakland.
5 Red Sox: John Smoltz
2015 first ballot Hall of Famer John Smoltz is known for his career with the Atlanta Braves where he a quality starter before converting to a relief pitcher in 2001. With all the laurels, accomplishments and national recognition he gained while a member of the Braves, it is often forgotten that he spent a season at the end of his illustrious career with the Boston Red Sox.
In 2009, Smoltz signed a one-year contract with the Red Sox to be a member of their starting rotation.
Unfortunately, Smoltz's time with the team did go as well as envisioned and he was designated for assignment after only eight starts. Smoltz was eventually released by the Red Sox in mid-August that year.
4 Yankees: Francisco Cervelli
Believe it or not, there was a time in which the Yankees considered Francisco Cervelli to be their catcher of their future. They had hoped he could replace the retiring Jorge Posada, but he was never able to quite live up to the team's expectations. Cervelli was hit with a suspension due to the Biogenesis steroid scandal, was injury-plagued, and a lack of production at the plate.
This led to the Yankees signing Russell Martin instead of letting Cervelli taking over the starting catcher role in 2011, and Cervelli ultimately being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cervelli eventually made a name for himself as the Pirates' starting catcher.
3 Red Sox: Mike Cameron
It's easy to forget that Mike Cameron at one point was an outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, probably because it's something they actively try to forget. He was signed to a relatively large contract by 2011 standads, and ended up doing absolutely nothing for the team.
He arrived with the expectation of solidifying the outfield due to his 3 Gold Glove Awards, but it quickly became evident he was no longer a quality defender.
Cameron also only ended up appearing in 81 games for the Red Sox, which is a shame since he was supposed to be Jason Bay's replacement in the outfield.
2 Yankees: Kevin Youkilis
Third baseman Kevin Youkilis will always be fondly remembered as a key part of several Boston Red Sox teams. "The Greek God of Walks" was pretty much an icon in Boston and one of their star players for much of the 2000s, before being run out of town by Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine in 2012.
That offseason, Youkilis basically crossed enemy lines when he signed a one-year contract with the New York Yankees.
Despite not being well liked by much of the Yankee fanbase, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano publicly endorsed the signing and felt he would be a positive addition to their roster. Unfortunately for Youkilis and the Yankees, he spent much of the season on the sidelines with various back issues.
1 Red Sox: Cody Ross
Many of the players in this article were forgotten because they had fairly forgettable seasons with either the Yankees or Red Sox. The same cannot be said for outfielder Cody Ross, who actually enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career when he spent the 2012 season with the team. Prior to joining the Red Sox, he was a journeyman outfielder who mostly came off the bench. However, he broke out with the Red Sox and hit 22 home runs and had 81 RBI that season - enough for the Red Sox to unsuccessfully attempt to re-sign him the following offseason. Ross instead parlayed his successful 2012 season into a multi-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.