The other side of baseball’s Mount Rushmore

When Major League Baseball announced its Franchise Four results recently, if left a ton of talent on the other side of Mount Rushmore. Although it’s difficult to argue with many of the selections, leaving Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens off the 8-man lists of the teams they played for is unfathomable.  If you want to argue steroids, then tell me how Barry Bonds made the Franchise Four for the Giants.

MLB also pulled together a Greatest Pioneer list, consisting of Walter Johnson, Nap Lajoie, Christy Mathewson and Cy Young. Perhaps that’s a CYA list, since these immortals weren’t voted in by fans of their respective teams. The Negro League quartet of Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Buck O’Neil and Satchel Paige sounds about right. Only old Satch ever made it to the majors.

There are also issues with the Greatest Living Player foursome. Henry Aaron and Willie Mays are no-brainers, and Sandy Koufax gets a pass, despite a brief but brilliant career. But choosing Johnny Bench over Yogi Berra is wrong. Berra has a higher lifetime batting average (.285 to .267), more rings (10 to 2), more RBIs and nearly as many home runs as Bench. Yogi also managed two teams, the Yankees and the Mets, to the seventh game of the World Series. Berra is an icon, Bench is merely a catcher. Since the results were announced during the All-Star Game festivities in Cincinnati, perhaps MLB wanted to put Bench on the list. Just sayin’.

There, now that we have that out of the way, here’s my list by position of top ballplayers on the other side of Mount Rushmore, legends who struck out on the Franchise Four’ Starters are listed first, followed by reserves ranked in order of selection

C – Yogi Berra, Yankees

Bill Dickey, Yankees

Carlton Fisk, Red Sox

Roy Campanella, Dodgers

1B – Albert Pujols, Cardinals

George Sisler, Browns

Bill Terry, Giants

Eddie Murray, Orioles

2B – Eddie Collins, A’s/White Sox

Charlie Gehringer, Tigers

Nap Lajoie, Naps (now Indians)

Tony Lazzeri, Yankees

SS – Derek Jeter, Yankees

Ozzie Smith, Cardinals

Dave Concepcion, Reds

Luis Aparicio, White Sox

3B – Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

Pie Traynor, Pirates

Eddie Matthews, Braves

Wade Boggs, Red Sox/Yankees

OF – Joe Jackson, Indians/White Sox

OF – Al Simmons, A’s

OF – Mel Ott, Giants

Harry Heilmann, Tigers

Jim Rice, Red Sox

Zack Wheat, Dodgers

Larry Doby, Indians

Chuck Klein, Phillies

Paul Waner, Pirates

Ralph Kiner, Pirates

Sam Crawford, Tigers

Goose Goslin, Senators

SP – Cy Young, Red Sox

SP – Walter Johnson, Senators

SP – Christy Mathewson, Giants

SP – Carl Hubbell, Giants  

SP – Roger Clemens, Red Sox

Grover Alexander, Phillies/Cub/Cardinals

Juan Marichal, Giants

Whitey Ford, Yankees

Dizzy Dean, Cardinals

Ferguson Jenkins, Cubs

John Smoltz, Braves

Tommy Glavine, Braves

Ted Lyons, White Sox

Catfish Hunter, A’s/Yankees

Gaylord Perry, Giants/Indians

Red Ruffing, Red Sox/Yankees

John Clarkson, Braves (formerly Beaneaters)

Eddie Plank, A’s

Dazzy Vance, Dodgers

Addie Joss, Naps (formerly Indians)

RP – Mariano Rivera, Yankees

Goose Gossage, Yankees/White Sox

Bruce Sutter, Cardinals/Cubs

Hoyt Wilhelm, Giants/A’s