Alex Rodriguez’s imminent departure from the Yankees will leave Eli Manning as the longest-tenured active athlete on a New York sports team. Sort of. As with all things A-Rod, it’s actually pretty complicated.
Rodriguez was acquired by the Yankees in a trade with the Rangers on Feb. 16, 2004. Eli Manning was acquired by the Giants in a draft-day trade with the Chargers on April 24, 2004. So what’s so complex?
Well, you could make the case that while he was a member of the Giants and participating in practices during the preseason, Manning’s NFL debut actually came in a regular-season game against the Eagles on Sept. 12, 2004. That was almost two months after David Wright made his MLB debut for the Mets on July 21, 2004. So technically, Wright wore his New York uniform in a game that counts first. You could also make an argument that Wright was drafted by the Mets in 2001, long before Manning, though we’re talking about being a member of a New York team, not just a New York organization.
And if we’re breaking it down by when a player was drafted, Wright doesn’t take the mantle anyway. Henrik Lundqvist made his Rangers and NHL debut on Oct. 8, 2005, but the team selected him in the 2000 Draft. He played five seasons in Sweden before coming to New York.
Because football does not have minor leagues or international counterparts the way other sports do, the whole deal is a bit hazy, open to interpretation and opinion, and a matter of how you choose to define certain criteria.
In other words, it has A-Rod written all over it.