Franchise Fifth: Near-misses, snubs from 's Franchise Four

For the most part, fans did a pretty good job voting for each team’s Franchise Four, an attempt to honor each team’s best four players of all time. A pretty good job, but there remains plenty of room for discussion. We thought we’d

take a look at what we’ll call the Franchise Fifth, the guy who either should have made the top four (Hi, Dave Stieb) or slots in at a legitimate fifth place (Hi, Derek Jeter).  MORE: Must-see photos from the 2015 All-Star Game | Pete Rose won't "make any odds" on reinstatement chancesAngelsFranchise Four: Vladimir Guerrero, Nolan Ryan, Tim Salmon, Mike Trout Franchise fifth: Chuck FinleyWhy he’s here: He might not be as well known as those other four guys, but he’s the franchise’s all-time leader in WAR, at 52.2. And what about Jim Fregosi? He’s the career offensive leader in WAR, at 45.9 (Salmon is second, at 40.5). AstrosFranchise Four: Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio, Nolan RyanFranchise fifth: Roy OswaltWhy he’s here: Oswalt finished in the top five of the NL Cy Young voting in five of his first six seasons. That’s a good start. And, he’s the franchise career leader in WAR for pitchers.AthleticsFranchise Four: Dennis Eckersley, Jimmie Foxx, Rickey Henderson, Reggie JacksonFranchise fifth: Eddie PlankWhy he’s here: Sure, he played for the A’s a couple of cities ago (for the Philadelphia A’s, from 1901-14), but the man won 284 games with a 2.36 ERA in the regular season and helped the team to two World Series titles (with a career 1.32 ERA in the postseason). Blue JaysFranchise Four: Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, Carlos Delgado, Roy HalladayFranchise fifth: Dave StiebWhy he’s here: HOW WAS DAVE STIEB NOT ON THIS LIST? Sorry for yelling. But apparently no actual Blue Jays fans voted for this. Stieb’s career WAR with Toronto was a hefty 57.4. Nobody else reached 50. Maybe the worst omission for any franchise. BravesFranchise Four: Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Warren SpahnFranchise fifth: Eddie MathewsWhy he’s here: Because the Hall of Famer hit 493 of his career 512 home runs for the franchise, that’s why. BrewersFranchise Four: Cecil Cooper, Rollie Fingers, Paul Molitor, Robin YountFranchise fifth: Teddy HigueraWhy he’s here: In his six injury-free seasons with the Brewers, Higuera posted a 3.34 ERA for the Brew Crew. That might not seem like much, but no pitcher in franchise history has a better WAR in a Milwaukee uniform. CardinalsFranchise Four: Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Rogers Hornsby, Stan MusialFranchise fifth: Ozzie SmithWhy he’s here: Statistically, Albert Pujols probably deserves this nod. But we’re going with Ozzie Smith here. Mostly because of his backflips. And the defense. And the nickname. CubsFranchise Four: Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo, Billy WilliamsFranchise fifth: Ferguson JenkinsWhy he’s here: Statistically, Cap Anson deserves this spot, but he finished his career in 1897, at 45 years old. Jenkins gets the nod as the best starting pitcher in franchise history.DiamondbacksFranchise Four: Paul Goldschmidt, Luis Gonzalez, Randy Johnson, Curt SchillingFranchise fifth: Brandon WebbWhy he’s here: Sure, his career was short because of injury (he played his last game at 29 years old), but it’s not like the Diamondbacks have been around forever. Webb owns a Cy Young award, and he finished second two other times. Impressive.DodgersFranchise Four: Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Duke SniderFranchise fifth: Roy CampanellaWhy he’s here: Campy didn’t get his opportunity in the majors until he was 26 years old, in 1948 (following Jackie Robinson’s debut the year before), but he won three MVP awards before his career ended when he was paralyzed in a car wreck in January 1958. He’s one of the best catchers of all time. GiantsFranchise Four: Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Buster PoseyFranchise fifth: Christy Mathewson Why he’s here: Look, Buster Posey is a great player, but he doesn’t deserve this spot. Not yet. Christy Mathewson won 374 games with a 2.12 ERA in his 17 years with the New York Giants. Mel Ott had 511 home runs in his 22 years with the franchise. Carl Hubbel and Juan Marichal are way ahead of him on this list, too. IndiansFranchise Four: Bob Feller, Tris Speaker, Jim Thome, Omar VizquelFranchise fifth: Nap LajoieWhy he’s here: He wasn’t the nicest human being, but Lajoie hit .339 in his career with the Indians, and he’s the franchise’s all-time leader in WAR. MarinersFranchise Four: Ken Griffey Jr., Felix Hernandez, Edgar Martinez, Ichiro SuzukiFranchise fifth: Randy JohnsonWhy he’s here: The Big Unit became a legend in Seattle, winning his first Cy Young and finishing in the top three on three other occasions. He narrowly edges Alex Rodriguez, with honorable mention nods to Jay Buhner and Jamie Moyer.  MarlinsFranchise Four: Jeff Conine, Mike Lowell, Gary Sheffield, Giancarlo StantonFranchise fifth: Dontrelle WillisWhy he’s here: You couldn’t help but love watching Willis pitch for the Marlins during his prime. He finished second in the NL Cy Young voting once, was an All-Star twice and made three scoreless relief appearances in Florida’s 2003 World Series win against the Yankees. MetsFranchise Four: Keith Hernandez, Mike Piazza, Tom Seaver, David WrightFranchise fifth: Dwight GoodenWhy he’s here: Gooden was just dominant. He belongs here. Nationals/ExposFranchise Four: Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Vladimir Guerrero, Tim RainesFranchise fifth: Ryan ZimmermanWhy he’s here: Because the D.C. version of this franchise should have representation, and Zimmerman has long been the face of this version of the franchise. That honor will belong to Bryce Harper soon, but not yet. OriolesFranchise Four: Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Frank RobinsonFranchise fifth: Eddie MurrayWhy he’s here: Murray is one of the greatest switch-hitters in history, and he popped 343 of his career 504 homers with the Orioles.PadresFranchise Four: Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman, Randy Jones, Dave WinfieldFranchise fifth: Jake PeavyWhy he’s here: Peavy won a Cy Young award with the Padres, had a couple of All-Star appearances and posted the best ERA in the NL twice.   PhilliesFranchise Four: Richie Ashburn, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Mike SchmidtFranchise fifth: Chase UtleyWhy he’s here: He’ll probably wind up in the Hall of Fame one day, which makes him worthy of a spot with these all-time Philly greats. PiratesFranchise Four: Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski, Willie Stargell, Honus WagnerFranchise fifth: Andrew McCutchenWhy he’s here: The Pirates have a long tradition with many, many great players. McCutchen could be as good as any of them, save maybe Clemente. He’s that good. At the moment, he has five consecutive All-Star selections, and he’s finished third, first and third in the past three NL MVP races. You wouldn’t be wrong for picking Barry Bonds, either. RangersFranchise Four: Adrian Beltre, Ivan Rodriguez, Nolan Ryan, Michael YoungFranchise fifth: Juan Gonzalez Why he’s here: He won two MVP awards with the Rangers. Two. Two.RaysFranchise Four: Evan Longoria, David Price, James Shields, Ben ZobristFranchise fifth: Carl CrawfordWhy he’s here: Maybe Rays fans are still annoyed that Crawford signed with the hated Red Sox or something, because he should have made the top four. Crawford was Tampa Bay’s first real home-grown star; in his eight full seasons, he averaged 13 homers, 70 RBIs, 50 stolen bases and a .299 average. Roger Clemens (SN archives)Red SoxFranchise Four: Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Ted Williams, Carl YastrzemskiFranchise fifth: Roger ClemensWhy he’s here: Seriously, Boston fans? Ortiz over Clemens? Over Wade Boggs? Heck, over Dwight Evans? Sheesh. RedsFranchise Four: Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Joe Morgan, Pete RoseFranchise fifth: Frank RobinsonWhy he’s here: If Eric Davis could have stayed healthy, he would have had an amazing career. But he didn’t, and Robinson established himself as a future Hall of Famer in his 10 years with the Reds, before he was traded to the Orioles.RockiesFranchise Four: Andres Galarraga, Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki, Larry WalkerFranchise fifth: Vinny CastillaWhy he’s here: Sure, he played in the salad days of Rockies baseball — the pre-humidor era — but he still put up great numbers. Castilla topped 40 home runs three years in a rown and finished with 239 homers in a Rockies uniform. RoyalsFranchise Four: George Brett, Dan Quisenberry, Bret Saberhagen, Frank WhiteFranchise fifth: Amos OtisWhy he’s here: In his first decade with the franchise, before injuries took their toll, Otis averaged 16 homers, 75 RBIs and 29 stolen bases a year, to go with a .284 average and .798 OPS. That’s pretty impressive. TigersFranchise Four: Miguel Cabrera, Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Al KalineFranchise fifth: Charlie GehringerWhy he’s here: The Hall of Famer gets the nod — he hit .320 in his 19 years with the franchise — but it feels wrong that Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammel get left off this list, too, like they got left out of the Hall of Fame. TwinsFranchise Four: Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Kirby PuckettFranchise fifth: Walter JohnsonWhy he’s here: The Big Train pitched for the franchise long before the idea of playing major-league baseball in Minnesota became a reality. Johnson, though, was one of the greatest pitchers in history; during his 21 years with the Washington Senators, Johnson won 417 games and had a career 2.17 ERA. White SoxFranchise Four: Harold Baines, Paul Konerko, Minnie Minoso, Frank ThomasFranchise fifth: Luke ApplingWhy he’s here: He should be at the top of the White Sox’s list. Appling, who had the great nickname “Old Aches and Pains”, batted .310 in his 20 years with the team. YankeesFranchise Four: Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Babe RuthFranchise fifth: Derek JeterWhy he’s here: Jeter didn’t deserve a spot above the Ruth/Mantle/Gehrig/DiMaggio group, but he deserves this spot ahead of Yankee greats like Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford. Barely, of course, but he does.


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