by Editor, Rick
Hometown Heroes by Clay
Baseball fans feast on trivia. Home run records, most consecutive hit
streaks. Or consecutive games played.
Here’s one: name the last player with nine or more major league seasons
that played for just one team? That should be fairly simple. He retired two years ago
after playing twenty seasons for the New York Yankees—Derek
And you can probably guess the one right before him: teammate Mariano
Rivera, who played 19 years for the Yankees.
But the trend of “Hometown Heroes” or “single-franchise players” such
as Jeter and Rivera is falling precipitously so that in the future we may only see a few
retire with the same team with which they began their
This is the subject of a new book by Granite Bay author, Clay
Sigg: HOMETOWN HEROES: The Single Franchise Baseball Stars of the
Of the 18,000 MLB players Sigg has
documented every one from 1901 through 2000 to start and finish with the same
professional team. And he’s packaged it in a splendid coffee table presentation that is
nearly worth its weight in gold.
Author Clay Sigg
holding his "labor of love."
“Hometown fans have strong emotional ties to players who maintained
longstanding connection with their towns and their teams,” Sigg writes in his
Introduction. “The hometown fans have enjoyed an unbroken relationship with these men who
possess the qualities that make a one-team professional career
He goes on to write “Performing for a single team for an entire career
is a badge synonymous with high personal and professional
In an exclusive interview with BaseballSacramento.com Sigg says the
idea for this book began in the 1990s when guys like George Brett were on the verge of
retiring with the same team with which they began their careers. In the early 2000s
he started writing the player profiles, a process he calls “an odyssey of 12 years”
~ ~ ~
The team with the greatest number of “hometown heroes”? Why, the
Yankees of course with 27—ironically, the same number of World Series titles claimed by
Anyone from the greater Sacramento area make the list you might ask.
The lone member was Stan Hack (Sacramento High), who played from 1932 to 1947 for the
Chicago Cubs and was voted the No. 1 Professional Baseball Player from the
Greater Sacramento Area.
Looking toward the Bay, only three players qualified among the San
Francisco Giants (Jim Davenport, Scott Garrelts and Robby Thompson) and just two from the
Oakland Athletics (Dick Green, who began his career when the team was in Kansas City, and
~ ~ ~
There is one major downside to this book, and it’s inherently not the
author’s fault. Simply by definition a “hometown hero,” or “single-franchise player”
excludes some of the game’s greats, including the two greatest ballplayers we had the
pleasure of watching in person with the San Francisco Giants: Willie Mays and Barry
Bonds. Mays ended his career with the New York Mets and Bonds began his with
Also missing are Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey (Giants-Padres),
Hank Aaron (Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves-Milwaukee Brewers), Pete Rose
(Cincinnati-Philadelphia et.al.), Steve Carlton (St. Louis-Philadelphia et.al.).
And let us not forget the greatest slugger of all time, the King of
Swat, Babe Ruth (Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees-Boston Braves). “Ruth was such a
character there was no way he was ever going to be a single-franchise guy because he was
so controversial,” Sigg says. “The first ‘living-large’ guy.” Yet, the author maintains
“the Babe” was the greatest baseball player of all time.
The Limelight Bar & Café
1014 Alhambra Boulevard
Saturday, June 4th
2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“There’s a bit of luck involved,” Sigg notes. “There are a number of guys who fit the profile
but don’t qualify through a quirk, they got traded in their first year or
Conversely, just 50 of the 177 players presented in this book are in
the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But that’s the nature of this
And a beautiful beast it is.
First off, this book wouldn’t hold up past The Deadball Era if Sigg
weren’t such a fine writer. One would think he’d spent his career at the sports desk of a
major daily instead of in residential real estate. The
first-time author pored “thousands of hours” researching and writing the profiles,
finding and securing the rights to the photos, and securing a publisher that believed in
“Though it’s trite to say it, this has been a labor of
It’s clear from the Preface that baseball has been and continues to be
the author’s lifetime passion. It features an homage to his grandfather Will Sigg, who
played semi-pro ball in New York City, and explains how Sigg’s father passed his love of
the game to his son. Clay Sigg went on to star on the prep sandlots of Southern
California and played collegiately at University of California, Davis, where he was later
inducted in the school’s Hall of Fame.
Sigg also claims the rare distinction of having visiting every major
league baseball park—all 30 of them — plus 11 others that have been decommissioned over
Plus, he has packaged each player in a two-page spread with a 1,000
word narrative and graphic template that’s pleasing in its regularity. The spread
includes a “portrait” or “head and shoulders” shot of the ballplayer on the first page,
along with a smaller photo below of the player’s Hall of Fame plaque, World Series trophy
or simply the American or National league logo representing the player’s league. The
right hand page features a full-length photo of the player (action photos for the later
years) plus the team logo superimposed over home plate. Sigg credits Laurel Mathe,
graphic designer for Mystic Design of Colfax, for the professional quality appearance one
would expect in a book of this caliber. “She really got what I was trying to do.”
Sigg says the biggest challenge in realizing this project was in
securing the artist William Purdom to paint a fantasy team portrait of the 50 Baseball
Hall of Fame members who also happened to be “hometown heroes.” The detailed illustration
spans the book’s jacket from back to front. Purdom, he notes, is a baseball historian
whose artwork is featured in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and other MLB-sanctioned
projects over the years. Consequently, Sigg shelled out top-dollar for a top-shelf
As an aside, Purdom said he would accept the task only if Rivera and
Jeter appeared among the Hall of Famers, despite the fact they have yet to be
chosen. Sigg agreed, thinking if there have ever been a slam dunk first-ballot
selection these two are it (Rivera is eligible in 2019 and Jeter in
Dusty Baker of Del Campo High and the Washington Nationals new manager
provides the book’s Foreword, writing about several of the “one-franchise” players he
competed with and against over his long major league career.
The book was published by NEWTYPE Publishing and is available on Amazon
(the retail base price of $39.95 varies--it's currently at $42.37). Pick up an
author-autographed copy for $59.95
which includes tax and shipping at Sigg’s web site www.HometownBaseballHeroes.com.
Clay Sigg is a member of Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)
and the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).