This year MLB is promoting throughout the Internet the four legends of the 30 franchises, a promotion called “Franchise Four”. On each ballot they put on eight players who are believed to be the best in each organization. However, the fan has the option of voting by anyone who is not on that list. To do this, you must go directly to MLB.com and look for the section “Franchise Four”. The results of the voting will be revealed in the All-Star Game to be played this year at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
It is interesting to note, that in a team where many stars have played, such as the Yankees, still only eight players can be nominated since this is how it was stablished. In fact, many players do not appear such is the case of catcher Bill Dicky, the pitchers Andy Pettitte and Ron Guidry, the shortstop Phil Rizzuto, the outfielder Bernie Williams, among many others. This however does not mean that fans cannot vote, fans can vote for one or more of them instead of the eight who appears on the ballot. In addition, many fans will have the dilemma of choosing between Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle, or White Ford or Mariano Rivera, what we do know for sure is that both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig must be a fixed in this vote.
On the other hand, if we say that it is difficult to choose four players from each team, it is much harder to choose “Four legends”. This is why we have prepared our own list, with eight special players. We know that it is a mere technicality to mention only eight as the format allows it, but remember, it can be who one believes should be – and might not necessarily make it to that list – as one of the four legends. However, let’s remember that Vox Populi is the main indicator when making a decision because they are the first to go. This is our selection placed on the list of eight: Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Sandy Koufax, Pedro Martínez, Willie Mays and Tom Seaver. As you can see, we exclude it figures like Walter Johnson (417 wins, 2.17 effectiveness, 110 shutouts), Christy Mathewson (373 victories, 2.13 effectiveness), Nolan Rayan (324 victories, 5.714 strikeouts), also appears, Ty Cobb, Jimmy Fox, Tony Gwynn, Ted Williams, Stan Musial and others who were superstars. Clearly, as I indicated, the fan can add any of these names in the special box. In addition, among Latin Americans we only mentioned “Pedro El Grande”, recently exalted to the Hall of Fame, omitting super stars of the past such as Roberto Clemente, Juan Marichal, Rod Carew, Luis Aparicio and others that, obviously, can be placed in the special box instead of those eight presented on the ballot of MLB.com.
However, there is no doubt that the list of nominees persuade the vast majority of fans when making their choices. Veteran fans will know much more about their generation, but do not have the same access or knowledge of the Internet as the youth of today. A tangible example is Pedro Martínez, who many have selected, above his fellow countryman Juan Marichal. Félix Hernández instead of Johán Santana, and others as well. It is unfortunate that MLBTv did not document this generation of pitchers well, they are at the same caliber as Camilo Pascual and Luis Tiant, two Cubans who succeed it in MLB. This is not an easy task, but at the end, it will be the fans who will make the ultimate decision as they become more educated on the players and the game of Baseball. Moreover, even many of the players who played at the beginning of the XX century, have records that remain current in the MLB.
In 1999 MLB voted for the team that represented the 20th century. This was done through an election that was made by The Sporting News, in which they selected the 100 best players, among which 10% were active with a minimum of 10 years in Major Leagues. This was done with the purpose that the fans could pick 20 of the 25 players that were going to make part of this great team. The other five were to be chosen by a panel of experts in the matter. 6 pitchers, 2 catchers, 2 of each position in the infield, and 9 outfielders were chosen to form the team. It happened that Roberto Clemente finished 10th among outfielders, losing his chance to be chosen by a few points. As a result, there was some discontent among the Latino community by not having one of our own in that team of the century.
Later in 2005, MLB and a car company made a choice to search for the “Latino legends” team, putting 50% of active players, even the ones with three and four years in the MLB, so that the fans could vote via Internet and ballots that were distributed in different stadiums. All this seemed to be very absurd, by the fact that they included players who do not have at least 10 years in MLB and therefore they cannot be called “legends”. On the other hand, they excluded legendary figures such as: Alfonso “chico” Carrasquel, Víctor Pellot Power, Terín Pizarro, Luis Tite Arroyo, Julián Javier, Pedro Guerrero, Omar Vizquel and others who were top stars in the Big Show. What a fiasco!
At the end, during the world series of that year, they presented the “Latino legends” team, among them were Roberto Clemente, Rod Carew, Iván Rodríguez, Juan Marichal and Pedro Martínez, but incongruously no one voted for Luis Aparicio, a member of the Hall of Fame. What a nonsense!
MLB.com now makes this new promotion that will be reveal it during the star game, to be played in Cincinnati on July 14. A nice gesture, but in a nutshell, this choice of legends more than a reality, seems more like a fantasy game. At the end, every fan will end up choosing their own favorite player.