After watching their franchise’s star athlete play for years, fans can develop an emotional attachment to them. But sports is ultimately a business, so athletes have to do what is best for themselves and their families, often breaking the hearts of their biggest fans by playing for their rival teams.
To compile a list of players who played for their biggest rival, 24/7 Wall St. took a look back at some of the highest profile athletes in America, using the Sports Reference family of sites.
Some franchises are difficult places to play. Penny-pinching owners can refuse to shell out enough money to keep star players. These athletes know their careers are fleeting, so they move on to teams that will pay them the most, leaving fans devastated. Other athletes are desperate to win a title, leaving losing teams in search of greener pastures. These tight-fisted, losing franchises are some of the hardest sports teams to cheer for.
But not all players who move to their biggest rivals do so willingly — many are simply traded by their teams. Trading with a division rival can be dangerous, because if a team ships out a superstar, they must face that player frequently and be reminded of what they could have had.
Early in their careers, Lou Brock was dealt from the Chicago Cubs to the St. Louis Cardinals, and Babe Ruth was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees. Both players went on to have Hall of Fame careers and win titles with their new teams, while their old teams floundered for decades. Giving up this kind of talent ranks among the worst trades of all time.