MLB icons dominate in Franchise Four voting

Ryan leading on three teams; Aaron, Mays, Koufax, Seaver pacing living player vote

MLB icons dominate in Franchise Four voting

Voting continues through May 8 in Major League Baseball's Franchise Four campaign, which nears the halfway point with more than 10.2 million votes cast so far and some surprises among the list of leaders announced by MLB on Wednesday.

Go to to help determine the most impactful players who best represent each Major League franchise and several other significant categories in the sport's history. Winners will be announced during pregame ceremonies before the 86th All-Star Game on July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on FOX.

All-time strikeout leader Nolan Ryan is among the leaders on three teams -- the Angels (ranking first), Astros (third) and Rangers (second). The only other players to appear on multiple club Franchise Fours are Vladimir Guerrero (Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos and Angels), and Randy Johnson (Mariners and D-backs).

Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver currently lead in the Greatest Living Players category. Barry Bonds, Johnny Bench, Rickey Henderson and Pedro Martinez are the other four choices in that category.

Seven clubs have only Hall of Famers among their four leaders: Orioles (Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer and Frank Robinson), Cubs (Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo and Billly Williams), Dodgers (Koufax, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Don Drysdale), Yankees (Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio), A's (Henderson, Dennis Eckersley, Jimmie Foxx and Reggie Jackson), Pirates (Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Honus Wagner and Bill Mazeroski) and Cardinals (Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Ozzie Smith).

The Yankees' list is so deep, even Yogi Berra and his World Series 10 rings can't crack it so far. And whatever happened to Derek Jeter winning every online voting competition possible? Is it really that long ago that he said goodbye to fans at Yankee Stadium with a walk-off hit?

Evan Longoria is the only active player who is the No. 1 choice so far on a franchise, with Tampa Bay, and he is one of 12 active players who appear among the leaders and remain with the club they represent. Others include Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, Paul Goldschmidt of the D-backs, Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, Buster Posey of the Giants, David Ortiz of the Red Sox, Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, Mike Trout of the Angels, Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies, Chase Utley of the Phillies and David Wright of the Mets.

How much stock do you put in winning rings? Speaking of the Mets, support is curiously limited so far for the club's last World Series champion. Gary Carter, John Franco, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry are all trailing in the vote so far, as that club's leaders include Seaver, Mike Piazza, Wright and Keith Hernandez (the only 1986 nominee in their top four).

One of the big surprises may be Atlanta, where Tom Glavine and John Smoltz are on the outside looking in. The Franchise Four at this point is Aaron, Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux and Warren Spahn. There are many club examples where the choices almost seem impossible.

Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell and Buck O'Neil are the leaders in the greatest Negro League Players category.

Eight players were selected based on the recommendations of a blue-ribbon panel, in consultation with the 30 clubs. The panel was asked to identify "the most impactful players who best represent the history of each franchise (or special category)" for the ballot.

Panelists include MLB official historian John Thorn and representatives from MLB's official statistician, Elias Sports Bureau;; MLB Network; and the Baseball Writers' Association of America. In addition to balloting for the 30 franchises and the greatest living players and Negro Leaguers, voting also continues to determine the sport's greatest Pioneers, encompassing players whose careers began more than a century ago.

An additional write-in option is available to fans on the ballot, which also can be accessed on mobile devices.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of Read and join other baseball fans on his community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.