Small-market stars are few and far between in today’s modern MLB. Sure there are plenty of players who come up with the league’s have-nots: Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Milwaukee.

But they don’t seem to stay there for very long. Do we really expect Prince Fielder to stay in Milwaukee forever? Or Zack Grienke in Kansas City? We just saw Dan Uggla shipped to Atlanta for very little in return, partly because the Marlins didn’t want to pay him a huge, long-term deal.

It hasn’t always been like that. Plenty of great, future Hall of Famers spent the bulk (if not all) of their careers with a team outside of the “big markets.” And they make the top of this list.

But first, a loose definition of “small market.”

Obviously, the big cities, like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston don’t count. St. Louis and San Francisco have to be on the list too.

So do certain franchises, no matter how large or small, that broke the bank to win a championship. Oakland may be “small market,” but when Charlie Finley was running the club in the early 1970s, they shouldn’t be lumped in with today’s Pittsburgh Pirates as “small market.”

The same goes for the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks or 1997 Florida Marlins who were not shy about spending tens of millions of dollars to secure a pennant.

And since there were only eight teams in each league before 1961, it’s hard to say that any of those clubs were “small market”, to be on this list, you have to have played the bulk of your career AFTER the majors started expanding and markets became more watered down.

Let the debate begin…

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