TEN YEARS OF MLB SERVICE IS THE HOLY GRAIL FOR PLAYERS. THROUGHOUT BASEBALL HISTORY, FEWER THAN 10 PERCENT OF PLAYERS HAVE POSSESSED THE COMBINATION OF TALENT, HEALTH, RESILIENCE, PERSEVERANCE AND GOOD FORTUNE TO ACHIEVE THE FEAT.

THIS YEAR, FOR THE THIRD CONSECUTIVE SEASON, THE MLBPA WILL BE RECOGNIZING THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE FRATERNITY. HERE ARE THE PLAYERS WHO PASSED 10 YEARS IN APRIL.

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APRIL

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Zack Britton broke in as a starter with the Orioles in 2011 before shifting to the closer role in 2014. His 2.01 ERA as a reliever is the lowest among all active relievers with a minimum of 100 IP. Britton recorded 120 saves from 2014-16 and made two All-Star Games in that span. He was named the Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year in 2016 after converting 47-of-47 saves opportunities with Baltimore.

Josh Donaldson’s portfolio includes three All-Star appearances, two Silver Slugger Awards, MVP and Hank Aaron Awards in 2015 and a Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2019. He broke in as a catcher with Oakland and has since played primarily at third base with the Athletics, Blue Jays, Indians, Braves, Twins and Yankees. He has homered against every major-league team in his career.

Bryce Harper added to his illustrious resume in 2021 when he became the 15th player in MLB history to win multiple MVP awards before his age 29 season. He is a six-time NL All-Star and two-time winner of the Silver Slugger and Hank Aaron awards. Last year, Harper joined Babe Ruth, Stan Musial and Barry Bonds as the fourth outfielder in major-league history with at least 100 runs, 100 walks, 40 doubles and 35 home runs in a season.

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Josh Harrison, a Cincinnati native and former University of Cincinnati Bearcat, joined the Cubs as a sixth round draft pick in 2008 and made two All-Star teams with the Pirates. He has since played for the Tigers, Nationals, Athletics and White Sox. Harrison is one of the most versatile players in the majors and has played every position but catcher over 12 seasons in the big leagues.

Greg Holland, now a free agent, crossed the 10-year barrier with the Rangers in April. A former 10th round pick out of Western Carolina University, he logged 93 saves and a cumulative 1.32 ERA while making back-to-back All-Star Games with Kansas City in 2013-14. After missing the entire 2016 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Holland returned to make the All-Star team, win NL Comeback Player of the Year and tie the Rockies’ franchise record with 41 saves in 2017.

Martin Maldonado, a Puerto Rico native, signed with the Angels as a 27th round draft pick and played parts of eight minor-league seasons before making his MLB debut with the Brewers in 2011. In 2019, he joined Sandy Alomar Jr., Jorge Posada, Roberto Perez and Javy Lopez as the fifth Puerto Rican-born catcher to homer in a World Series game. Maldonado won a Gold Glove at catcher in 2017 and was an AL Gold Glove finalist in 2021.

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David Phelps, a St. Louis native and University of Notre Dame product, has logged 311 big-league appearances as a starter and reliever with the Yankees, Marlins, Blue Jays, Cubs, Mariners, Brewers and Phillies. In 2016, he posted a 2.28 ERA in 64 relief appearances with Miami and struck out 114 batters in 86 2/3 innings. Phelps has averaged 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings over his career.

Michael Pineda was 16 years old when he signed with the Mariners out of his native Dominican Republic in 2005. He debuted with Seattle in 2011 and made the All-Star team and finished fifth in AL Rookie of the Year balloting. Pineda pitched for the Yankees and Twins before joining the Tigers this season. In 2016, he led the AL with an average of 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings.

Garrett Richards, a former University of Oklahoma Sooner, broke into professional ball as a first round draft pick by the Angels in 2009. Over the 2014-15 seasons, he went 28-16 with a 3.18 ERA in 58 starts. Richards was the Angels' Opening Day starter in 2016 and again in 2018. Since 2020, he has pitched for the Padres, Red Sox and Rangers. 

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Anthony Rizzo has three All-Star berths, four Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger Award on his resume, which includes stops with the Padres, Cubs and Yankees. He has hit 20 or more homers eight times in his career. In 2017, Rizzo won the Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to the player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions on and off the field.

Bryan Shaw has been one of baseball’s true bullpen workhorses since breaking into the big leagues with Cleveland in 2013. From 2013-17, he led all major-league relievers with 378 relief appearances. Shaw is Cleveland’s career franchise leader with 468 games pitched out of the bullpen. He ranks fifth among active MLB relievers in holds.

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YANKEE DOODLE DELUGE

THREE NEW YORK YANKEES VETERANS CELEBRATED 10 YEARS OF MLB SERVICE IN APRIL

By Jerry Crasnick

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