STARTING OUT, 1998-2004: For all the hubbub about his not giving maximum effort on every play, no one was better when the ball was coming his way than Moss during his first seven seasons in Minnesota. Despite six Pro Bowls and three years in which he led the league in receiving touchdowns, he was traded in March 2005 to the Raiders for a package highlighted by the No. 7 overall draft pick. BACK IN TOWN, 2010: Moss burned through Oakland in two years but had three-plus largely great seasons with the Patriots before they traded him back to the Vikings (along with a seventh-round pick) for a third-rounder in October 2010. Moss played in only four games – three losses – before the Vikings released him at age 33. He went on to play four more games that season with the Titans and 16 in 2012 with the 49ers before retiring.
Getty ImagesRob Tringali
Jim Thome, 1B, Indians
STARTING OUT, 1991-2002: Thome hit the first of his 612 career home runs as a 20-year-old on a call-up in 1991 and became a regular for the Indians in 1994. From 1995-2002, he hit between 25 and 52 home runs each season and made it to three All-Star Games and two World Series among six playoff appearances. BACK IN TOWN, 2011: Thome hit his 600th career home run for the Twins in 2011, but out-of-contention Minnesota allowed the Indians to pick him up for a possible playoff push in late August. Unfortunately, Cleveland faded down the stretch, and Thome ended up with the Orioles and Phillies in his 2012 final season.
Getty ImagesJason Miller
Scottie Pippen, F, Bulls
STARTING OUT, 1987-98: The fifth overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft out of Central Arkansas rose to a six-time NBA champion alongside Michael Jordan. Pippen went to seven All-Star Games and even held the Bulls together through Jordan's two-year retirement before the gang broke up when Jordan retired again during the 1998 offseason lockout. The Bulls traded Pippen to the Rockets for a package of five players, creating a predecessor to today's Big Threes by teaming him with Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley. BACK IN TOWN, 2003-04: After a year in Houston and four in Portland that produced no more championships, Pippen returned to the Bulls at age 38 in 2003. Injuries limited him to only 23 games and six starts in his final season for a bad team.
NBAE/Getty ImagesRocky Widner
Allen Iverson, G, Philadelphia 76ers
STARTING OUT, 1996-2006: Iverson was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 draft and immediately won the Rookie of the Year award. He was an All-Star in his final seven seasons before leaving town and led the league in scoring four times during that stretch. He carried the Sixers to The Finals in 2001 but never won a title and was eventually traded to the Nuggets in December 2006 for a package highlighted by Andre Miller. BACK IN TOWN, 2009-10: Iverson's trademark quickness was waning, and his confidence was shaken when he returned to a bad 76ers team for 25 games in the middle of the 2009-10 season. Those were the last 25 games of his career, and the Sixers released the 34-year-old on March 2, 2010.
NBAE/Getty ImagesRocky Widner
Ken Griffey Jr., OF, Mariners
STARTING OUT, 1989-99: Griffey was the first pick in the 1987 draft and made it to the majors by 1989. Before leaving to his childhood city – Cincinnati -- for a trade package highlighted by Mike Cameron in February 2000, Griffey made it to 11 All-Star Games and won 10 Gold Gloves and the 1997 AL MVP award. Oh, and he led the AL in homers four times, highlighted by matching totals of 56 in 1997 and '98. Griffey made the playoffs just twice, however, and never played in a World Series. BACK IN TOWN, 2009-10: Nine years and eight days after leaving Seattle, Griffey returned as a 39-year-old. He managed 19 home runs on a decent Mariners team in 2009 but hit a career-low .214 and was clearly slowing down. After 33 more disappointing games in 2010, he retired in June of that season.
Getty ImagesOtto Greule Jr
Eddie Murray, 1B, Orioles
STARTING OUT, 1977-88: Murray was the AL Rookie of the Year with 27 home runs in 1977 and never stopped slugging. He went to two World Series – winning one – and seven All-Star Games in his first go-around with the Orioles. Murray, who added three Gold Gloves, had at least 30 home runs five times and at least 110 RBI five times in his 12 years before Baltimore traded him to the Dodgers in December 1988. BACK IN TOWN, 1996: Murray played for the Dodgers, Mets and Indians before the Orioles acquired the 40-year-old in a July 1996 trade. Baltimore missed the playoffs by four games, but Murray contributed 10 home runs – including his 500th career shot --- in 263 at-bats on a contending team. He played one more year for the Dodgers and Angels before retiring.
AFP/Getty ImagesVince Bucci
Tim Raines, OF, Expos
STARTING OUT, 1979-90: From the day Raines arrived in the majors, he could steal bases and hit for average. He led the National League in stolen bases each year from 1981-84 and hit above .300 five times in the 10 full seasons he played with Montreal during this span. He made only one playoff appearance -- in his first full season, 1981 -- and never made it back as an Expo before he left Montreal in a trade to the White Sox as a seven-time All-Star. BACK IN TOWN, 2001: Raines was a reserve – and had missed the 1999 season with lupus -- by the time he returned to the Expos as a 41-year-old free agent in 2001. Still, he brought back fond memories by hitting. 308 in 97-at bats before he was traded to the Orioles late that season and then played one more year with the Marlins before retiring.
Getty ImagesJonathan Daniel
Reggie Jackson, OF, Athletics
STARTING OUT, 1967-75: Jackson was the second overall pick in the 1966 MLB Draft and made it to the majors for the A's final days in Kansas City at the end of the 1967 season. He moved with the team to Oakland in 1968 and provided the power for the A's world championships in 1972, '73 and '74. He was a six-time All-Star and the 1973 AL MVP winner when he was the centerpiece of a six-player deal that sent him to Baltimore on the eve of the 1976 season. BACK IN TOWN, 1987: Jackson still had home run power – and two more World Series rings from his years with the Yankees -- when he returned to Oakland in 1987 at age 41. He cracked 15 homers in 336 at-bats for a .500 team before retiring.
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Tony Perez, 1B, Reds
STARTING OUT, 1964-76: Perez made it to eight All-Star Games and four World Series – winning two – while laying the foundation for a Hall of Fame career with a steady stream of home runs. He had between 18 and 40 in each season during this span but was traded to the Expos as part of a four-player deal after the 1976 season. BACK IN TOWN, 1984-86: After stops in Montreal, Boston and Philadelphia, the Reds purchased Perez's contract following the 1983 season. Longtime Big Red Machine teammate Pete Rose arrived as a player-manager in August 1984, and the two finished their careers together at the end of the 1986 season. Perez hit just 10 home runs as a part-time player in his last three seasons.
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Ryan Smyth, F, Oilers
STARTING OUT, 1994-2007: Smyth arrived in Edmonton as an 18-year-old, six years after Wayne Gretzky and his Stanley Cup titles left town. He made it to only one All-Star Game in 11-plus seasons but topped 30 goals five times and played in a Cup Finals of his own in 2006 before being shipped to the Islanders in February 2007. BACK IN TOWN, 2011-14: The Kings traded Smyth to the Oilers in June 2011, and he played three more years in Edmonton – scoring 31 goals – before retiring at the end of the recently completed season.
NHLI via Getty ImagesAndy Devlin
Kirk Gibson, OF, Detroit Tigers
STARTING OUT, 1979-87: Gibson, who was a star wide receiver at Michigan State, was drafted by his home-state Tigers in 1978, made it to the majors in 1979 and became a full-time player in 1983. By 1984, he was the ALCS MVP for a world championship Tigers team. His combination of speed and power was rare for the era, but he was lured away as a free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988. BACK IN TOWN, 1993-95: Gibson was the NL MVP and a world champion with the Dodgers in 1988, but injuries took their toll on a player who always went all out. By the time he returned to Detroit, he had passed through Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Still, he concluded his career with three respectable seasons at ages 36-38. In 17 seasons, Gibson was never an All-Star, but he was always a hometown favorite.
Pete Rose, IF/OF, Reds
STARTING OUT, 1963-78: MLB's career hits leader started churning them out as Rookie of the Year. He led the NL six times in hits and three times in batting average as the engine of a Big Red Machine that went to the World Series four times. During this span, he was a 12-time All-Star and the 1973 NL MVP. He capped his first stint in Cincinnati with his 3,000th hit and a 44-game hitting streak in 1978. He left to become the highest-paid athlete in team sports when he signed with the Phillies. BACK IN TOWN, 1984-86: Four months removed from his 4,000th career hit, Rose was traded from Montreal to Cincinnati in August 1984 and became a player-manager. He retired as a player in '86 and had his managerial career cut short in 1989 when – facing allegations he had bet on games -- he accepted a place on baseball's ineligible list.
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Don Sutton, P, Dodgers
STARTING OUT, 1966-80: Sutton won 12 games as a rookie and never won fewer than 11 in 15 seasons during this span. He pitched in three World Series for the Dodgers, but they lost all three, and he made it to four All-Star Games before the Astros signed him as a free agent. BACK IN TOWN, 1988: Sutton returned to Los Angeles as a 43-year-old 300-game winner and gave the Dodgers a respectable 3.92 ERA in 16 starts in his 23rd and final major league season. He did not pitch in the postseason, but Los Angeles won the World Series.
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Elvin Hayes, F, Rockets
STARTING OUT, 1968-72: Hayes was the No. 1 overall draft pick by the San Diego Rockets in 1968 and moved with the team to Houston – his old college town -- for the 1971-72 season before he was traded to the Baltimore Bullets for Jack Marin in June 1972. Hayes led the NBA in scoring as a rookie and never averaged less than 25.2 points and 14.6 rebounds before the Rockets inexplicably dealt the then-four-time All-Star. BACK IN TOWN, 1981-84: After getting three Finals trips, one title and eight All-Star appearances out of him, Washington traded a 35-year-old Hayes back to Houston for two second-round picks. The man who missed only seven games in a 16-year career missed only two in his final three seasons. He averaged 16.1 points and 9.1 rebounds in his first year back before his numbers tailed off in his last two years.
NBAE/Getty ImagesAndrew D. Bernstein
Larry Csonka, RB, Dolphins
STARTING OUT, 1968-74: Csonka was the eighth overall pick in the 1968 NFL Draft out of Syracuse and teamed with 1968 fifth-rounder Jim Kiick to give Miami a bruising running attack that led the Dolphins to three Super Bowls and two championships from 1971-73. He went to five straight Pro Bowls before Csonka, Kiick and Dolphins star receiver Paul Warfield signed contracts to play in the upstart World Football League beginning in 1975. BACK IN TOWN, 1979: When the WFL folded, Csonka returned to the NFL with the Giants, but he made his way back to Miami after his contract with New York was up. At age 33, he proved he still had something left when he ran for 837 yards and 12 touchdowns in his final year before retiring. Those were his best numbers since the 1973 season, and he did it on a 10-6 team.
Getty ImagesGeorge Gojkovich
Bert Blyleven, P, Twins
STARTING OUT, 1970-76: Blyleven was a workhorse from the minute he joined the Twins as a 19-year-old in 1970. After throwing 164 innings as a rookie, he pitched between 275 and 325 in every season before the Twins traded him to the Rangers as part of a six-player deal in June 1976. He made the 1973 All-Star team and won at least 15 games in each season from 1971-75. BACK IN TOWN, 1985-88: Blyleven returned to Minnesota via a trade from Cleveland in his second All-Star season, 1985, and stuck around long enough to win a World Series with a 15-12 record in 1987. The Twins traded him to the Angels after the 1988 season and he played his last major league game for that team in 1992.
MLB Photos via Getty ImagesMLB Photos
Rick Barry, F, Golden State Warriors
STARTING OUT, 1965-67: Barry was the No. 2 overall pick in the 1965 NBA Draft by the then-San Francisco Warriors. He averaged 25.7 points as a rookie, then a league-high 35.6 in his second season – one that finished with a run to The Finals. The two-time All-Star then jumped to the ABA's Oakland Oaks for a lucrative contract but was forced to sit out the next season to honor the reserve clause in his Warriors deal. BACK IN TOWN, 1972-78: Barry played four ABA seasons before a U.S. District Court judge issued an injunction that prevented him from playing for a team other than the Warriors, who still held his rights. The Nets released Barry, and he returned to the Warriors for 1972-73. In his six years before signing with the Rockets, he was an All-Star every season and led the Warriors to the 1975 NBA title by averaging 30.6 points.
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Rickey Henderson, OF, Athletics
STARTING OUT: 1979-84: Henderson had at least 100 stolen bases three times and led the AL in steals in each of his five full seasons with the A's. In 1982, he set the record for stolen bases in a season with 130. He was an All-Star four times before Oakland traded him to the Yankees for a bunch of players you won't remember. BACK IN TOWN: 1989-93, 1994-95, 1998: Henderson couldn't stay away. He was traded back to Oakland in June 1989 and won a World Series with the A's in that season. After trips to the World Series (1990) and ALCS (1992), he was traded by the A's again in 1993 before returning as a free agent that offseason, leaving as a free agent in 1995 and eventually returning as one in 1998. His final two All-Star appearances (1990, '91) were with the A's, but Henderson made many more stops in other cities before retiring in 2003.
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Fran Tarkenton, QB, Vikings
STARTING OUT, 1961-66: Tarkenton was a third-round (29th overall) pick out of Georgia in 1961, the Vikings' inaugural season. He never became a big winner with an expansion team -- he had one winning season (8-5-1 in 1964) -- while going to two Pro Bowls before the Vikings traded him to the Giants for two first-round and two second-round picks. BACK IN TOWN, 1973-78: After four more Pro Bowls with the Giants, he was traded back to the Vikings in 1972 without having made the playoffs in his first 11 seasons. He quickly turned around the idea that a team couldn't win big with his scrambling style by leading the Vikings to three Super Bowls – all losses -- and two other playoff appearances while racking up three more Pro Bowl appearances before retiring at age 38 after the 1978 season.
Andy Pettitte, P, Yankees
STARTING OUT: 1995-2003: Pettitte went a ridiculous 149-78 in his first nine seasons and finished in the top six in AL Cy Young voting four times. He topped that with a 13-8 postseason record and pitched in six World Series before signing with the Astros in 2003. BACK IN TOWN: 2007-2013: Pettitte returned to New York as a free agent after the 2006 season and racked up a 70-49 regular-season and 5-2 playoff record in six more seasons before retiring with five World Series rings – all won with the Yankees, the last in his return -- at age 41. He even made his third All-Star appearance in 2010.