Before introducing the All-Star lineups on Tuesday night, MLB finally revealed the winners of each baseball team's Franchise Four. The voting was done by fans, so for each one you could get a sense of who people think is the greatest for each team.
The Orioles, not surprisingly, are well-equipped with Hall of Fame players among their franchise greats. You can't go wrong when picking four out of five of Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, and Cal Ripken Jr. In this voting, Eddie was left out, which is tough to do, but four is four. If only they made room for five presidents on Mount Rushmore then we'd pick the five greatest of everything to do with sports.
When seeing some of the other franchise's picks, you have to appreciate the history that the Orioles have so much more. You're picking from which of the Hall of Fame players you want to narrow it down to four. Many teams are not so lucky.
The Rays list, for instance, included three players they had to trade away because they couldn't afford them: James Shields, Ben Zobrist and David Price. Three different teams fans claimed Nolan Ryan. The Marlins had to fill up their list with the likes of Jeff Conine and Mike Lowell.
Perhaps no baseball team had a more amusing (to the Orioles fan) Franchise Four lineup than the Nationals. The Nationals, who moved from Montreal a decade ago and went on to flush about $700 million of taxpayer money down the toilet for a mall without any personality whatsoever where inferior National League baseball is played, were only given a single, actual Nationals player on their franchise ballot. That was Ryan Zimmerman.
Many franchises, and not only recent expansion teams, had young, exciting present players included on their own lists. Mike Trout is on the Angels Franchise Four, for instance, and Felix Hernandez rates on the Mariners.
Instead of having any Nationals on the Nationals Franchise Four, there were instead four Montreal Expos, all of whom are either Hall of Famers or should be Hall of Famers. They are Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Vladimir Guerrero, and Tim Raines. That's four great players and zero Washington Nationals. That's the same number of Nationals on their own franchise's greats list as playoff series the Nationals have ever won in their existence.
Well, at least they've always got the racing presidents.