When he invited up for Kansas City after the trade deadline on August 1, outfielder Melky Cabrera joined a host of other players who have spent a second stint with a team. Cabrera had previously been with the Royals back in 2011, a year before he won the National League battle title as a member of the San Francisco Giants.
Many of those who return to a team have been motivated by a desire to end their careers with the club with which it began. Just last year retiring All-Star Gold Glove outfielder Torii Hunter rejoined Minnesota, where he had spent the first decade of his playing career.
A few seasons ago Ken Griffey, Jr., who spent his first eleven big league years with the Mariners, returned to Seattle to finish out his career. All time hits leader Pete Rose had done the same thing back in 1987, when he went back to Cincinnati to end his playing days with the hometown club that had signed him.
Nearly every year at the trade deadline or during the winter meetings at least one player, such as those mentioned above, will return to a team for a second stint. Much rarer, on the other hand, is the list of guys who have spent three separate tenures with a team.
The most famous of these is Hall of Fame outlet Rickey Henderson, who enjoyed three different stints with Oakland. The legendary lead off hitter departed 1979-84 with the Athletics, returned to them for 1989-92, and finished his membership with his original club in 1998.
Another outstanding hitter, infielder Tony Fernandez, had three separate terms with the Blue Jays. The All-Star called Toronto home from 1983-90, moved back in 1993, and also played there from 1998-99.
Two pitchers are included on the list, one a right hander and the other a lefty. Both hurlers sent several decades in the game, playing for a variety of teams in both leagues.
Kent Mercker, who is mostly associated with the Braves, spent three stints with a club not located in Atlanta. The right hander had his home mound in Cincinnati in 1997, again in 2003, and in his final seasons from 2005-08.
Texas was the club with which Darren Oliver spent three separate tenures, including a pennant winning season as well as others in which the Rangers reached the plays. The left hander was with Texas from 1993-98, then from 2000-01, and finished with the Rangers from 2010-11.