Tom Brady in a non-Pats uniform? Eh, you’ll get used to it.

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This morning the news broke that Tom Brady would not be returning to the New England Patriots. I don’t know where he’s going and don’t really care because football is not my thing — someone said Tampa Bay? — but I am always fascinated when a franchise legend changes teams late in his career. If, for no other reason, than for the jarring photos of the guy in the strange uniform.

Given that the only possible baseball news we’ll get today will, in all likelihood, be bad, let’s take a little walk down memory lane and remember some superstars who finished their careers in duds that did not, by any stretch of the imagination, conform to our historic memory of them. (all photos via Getty Images)


Let’s start big:

Ruth started his big league career in Boston with the Red Sox and, obviously, became the biggest celebrity in America as a Yankee. But after the 1934 season it was clear his days as a star were over. Yankees owner Jacob Rupert wanted to trade him, but per his contract, Ruth had to agree to the deal. Ruth wanted to manage, so that agreement would only come if he was sent someplace where that was a possibility.

Boston Braves owner Emil Fuchs offered to name Ruth vice president of the team and called him “assistant manager” to manager Bill McKechnie. He offered Ruth profit sharing too and said he’d be McKechnie’s successor. It all turned out to be a lie, however — Fuchs actually asked Ruth to invest money in the Braves rather than take profits straight up and had no intention of letting him manage — so Ruth decided to retire. Fuchs got him to agree to one last road trip as a farewell. Ruth hit his final three home runs in a game against the Pirates on May 25. He’d play five more games, ending his career on May 30, 1935. He went 0-for-1 with a groundout against the Phillies.


Almost as big:

This is a cheat as DiMaggio was an executive and coach, not a player, for the 1968 Oakland Athletics, but it’s still pretty jarring. Fun fact: DiMaggio didn’t really have his heart in coaching but he took the gig because he was a couple years short of uniformed service time to qualify for baseball’s maximum pension at the time. Not that the pitchman for Mr. Coffee really needed the cash.


Say Hey!

Mays’ time back in New York, this time with the Mets, is often mischaracterized, and unfairly at that. Indeed, almost every time you hear it brought up, it’s couched in terms of Mays “stumbling around in the outfield” or “falling down in the outfield.” It’s become a go-to reference for anyone describing a past-his-prime player hanging on.

But it’s also a load of crap. For one thing he played two seasons with the Mets and in the first one, 1972, he was actually pretty good, at least for an old player. He did the classic thing in which his batting average and power were sapped but he got on-base at a high clip because his eye was still amazing (See, Henderson, Rickey, who did that for years himself). He was far more of a liability as a part-time player in the Mets’ pennant-winning 1973 campaign. The “stumbling” thing sprung from exactly one play in the 1973 World Series in which he misjudged a ball and fell, but it was on a day when the outfielders for both teams were having trouble in the outfield due to the hazy sky.

Subjects of history don’t get to write their own stories most of the time so, fine, whatever, Mays gets slapped with that, but make no mistake, it is a slap.


The King:


As was the case with Ruth and Mays, Aaron ended his tenure with a different team in the city where he first gained his fame, Milwaukee. Having broken Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974, the Braves and Aaron parted ways, allowing the Hammer to become a Brewer. It made some sense too, as the Brewers, then an AL team, had the DH slot available. Aaron was a below-average full time hitter in 1975 and a basically league average hitter in part time action in 1976 before retiring and spending the next 40-years and counting as a Braves executive back in Atlanta.


Charlie Temporary:

This is also a cheat, as Rose did not end his career in Montreal. He did spend 95 games with the Expos after signing with them as a free agent before the 1984 season and he’d collect his 4,000th career hit early that year in an Expos uniform. The Reds would trade for him later that summer and make him their player-manager, with the clear intention of having him break Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record in the uniform in which he gained his fame.


Mad Stray Dog:


Greg Maddux actually had two stints in Los Angeles. The first came as a rental arm for the 2006 playoff push, during which he posted an excellent 137 ERA+ in 12 starts. And during which, by the way, he pitched the game that mattered to me most in my entire lifetime, and which I wrote about at length here.

That would be the last time he was truly effective, however. He’d pitch in sub-par fasion for the Padres in 2007 — also random — and part of 2008, and tossed seven more below average games for the Dodgers to close out the 2008 season and his career.


Mike PiazzA:

During the prime of his career Mike Piazza was traded by the Dodgers to the Florida Marlins, playing there for only five games before being traded to the Mets. It was one of the weirder, shorter tenures of any Hall of Famer anywhere, really. So weird, though, that people still talk about it a lot, making it less obscure than some of these other ones. Like, if you had asked me before today what team Piazza ended his career with, there’s a non-trivial chance that I would’ve forgotten about his 2007 season with Oakland. I might’ve mentioned his 2006 season with the Padres, actually. It sticks in my mind more. Man, a lot of dudes end things with the Padres. Maybe it’s the nice weather? Senior citizens love it.

I should probably also include Frank Thomas as an Oakland Athletic here too, but part of me doesn’t want to because he always seemed destined to end his career as a DH there. I think I felt it in my bones going back to the early 2000s.


The Giant Unit:


Randy Johnson pitched twenty-two games with the Giants in his final campaign in 2009, five of which came in relief, which is something he hadn’t done for several years before that. They were 22 pretty forgettable games. Well, 21 forgettable games: on June 4, 2009 he got his 300th career win. Which, frankly, was probably the only reason he signed with the Giants to begin with.


Smoltz gets a twofer:

John Smoltz pitched for the Braves for 20 years. In his 21st year, 2009, he pitched for both Boston and St. Louis. In his 15 total games that year he sported an ERA+ of 69, which was not very nice. Probably should’ve kept it at an even 20 seasons.


Anyway, we got past all of this. Patriots fans, you’ll get past Tom Brady flinging touchdown passes in another team’s uniform as well. Indeed, you’ll probably forget it ever happened.

Rutschman has five hits in opener, Orioles outlast Red Sox 10-9

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON – The last time Adley Rutschman recalls feeling this level of emotion on a baseball field was playing in front of intimate, 5,000-seat crowds in college at Oregon State.

He trumped that experience at Fenway Park on Thursday in his first career opening day start.

“This blows that out of the water,” Rutschman said.

Rutschman became the first catcher in major league history with five hits in an opener, and the Baltimore Orioles survived a wild ninth inning to beat the Boston Red Sox 10-9.

“To have that close game in the ninth inning and the crowd get so loud. You kind of sit there and say, ‘This is pretty cool,’” said Rutschman, the top overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Rutschman – who debuted for the Orioles last May and quickly became indispensable to the young, resurgent club – homered in his first at-bat and finished 5-for-5 with a career-best four RBIs and a walk on a chilly day at Fenway Park, with a temperature of 38 degrees at first pitch.

Ramon Urias hit a two-run homer for Baltimore, which finished with 15 hits, nine walks and five stolen bases.

Kyle Gibson (1-0) allowed four runs and six hits over five-plus innings to earn his first opening-day victory since his 2021 All-Star season with Texas. Gibson gave up an RBI groundout in the first inning before retiring nine straight Red Sox hitters.

The Orioles nearly gave the game away in the ninth.

With Baltimore leading 10-7, closer Félix Bautista walked pinch-hitter Raimel Tapia. Alex Verdugo followed with a single and advanced to second on an error by center fielder Cedric Mullins.

Rafael Devers struck out. Justin Turner then reached on an infield single to third when Urias’ throw was wide, scoring Tapia. Masataka Yoshida grounded to shortstop Jorge Mateo, who stepped on second for the force but threw wildly to first, allowing Verdugo to score.

Bautista struck out Adam Duvall on three pitches to end it and earn the save.

The Orioles scored four runs in the fourth and three in the fifth to take an 8-2 lead. Baltimore led 10-4 before Bryan Baker allowed three runs in the eighth to give the Red Sox some hope.

The eighth could have been even better for the Red Sox had Devers, who led off the inning, not become the first player in major league history to strike out on a pitch clock violation. Devers was looking down and kicking debris off his cleats when umpire Lance Barksdale signaled a violation that resulted in strike three.

“There’s no excuse,” said Alex Cora, who dropped to 0-5 in opening-day games as Boston’s manager. “They know the rules.”

Boston offseason addition and two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (0-1) struggled in his Fenway debut, surrendering five runs on six hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings.

“Less than ideal,” Kluber said. “Didn’t turn out the way I would have hoped for.”


Red Sox: Christian Arroyo stayed in the game after taking an inadvertent cleat to the side of his head in the second inning. Arroyo was applying a tag to Rutschman at second base as he attempted to stretch out a single. Rutschman’s leg flipped over as he slid awkwardly. … LHP James Paxton was placed on the 15-day inured list (retroactive to March 27) with a strained right hamstring.


Rutschman, one of six Baltimore players making his first opening-day appearance, became the youngest Oriole to homer in his first opening-day at-bat since Cal Ripken Jr. in 1984.


The Orioles took advantage of MLB’s bigger bases – going from 15- to 18-inch squares – that are being used for the first time this season. Baltimore hadn’t stolen five bases in a game since last June 24 against the White Sox. Mullins and Jorge Mateo swiped two bags apiece, and Adam Frazier got a huge jump on his steal against reliever Ryan Brasier. There was nothing Boston catcher Reese McGuire could do to stop them and on the majority of Baltimore’s steals, he didn’t bother to throw.


Right-hander Kaleb Ort and Tapia earned Boston’s final two roster spots to open the season. Tapia got the nod over Jarren Duran, who was sent down to Triple-A Worcester. Ort pitched a scoreless sixth with one strikeout Thursday.


Orioles: RHP Dean Kremer will make is sixth career start against Boston when the three-game series resumes on Saturday. In 11 road starts last season, he went 5-3 with a 3.63 ERA.

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale, who has pitched in only 11 games over the past three years due to injuries, is set to begin his seventh season in Boston.