CINCINNATI - Major League Baseball tonight unveiled the "Franchise Four" winners during pregame ceremonies for the 2015 All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park. The Franchise Four campaign allowed fans to vote for the most impactful players who best represent the lineage of each Major League franchise and several other significant categories in the sport's history. The month-long period (April 8th-May 8th) of fan voting at MLB.com/FranchiseFour generated more than 25.5 million votes across 33 categories (the 30 Major League franchises, as well as the Greatest Living Players; the Greatest Negro Leagues Players; and the Greatest Pioneers, covering players whose careers began in 1915 or earlier).
Tonight's pregame ceremonies prior to Baseball's 86th Midsummer Classic featured the four "Greatest Living Players" as selected by fans - alphabetically: Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays - and the winners for the host Cincinnati Reds - Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin, Joe Morgan and Pete Rose.
Fans were given eight choices on a ballot that represented the lineage of each category, along with an additional write-in option. The 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. The panelists were MLB's Official Historian John Thorn and representatives from MLB's official statistician, the Elias Sports Bureau; MLB.com; MLB Network; and the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). Please see either of the accompanying files for the winners.
NOTE ON THE PIONEERS CATEGORY: As earlier stipulated, the winners of this category were determined based on overall vote totals for any pre-1915 player, regardless of the category under which they appeared on the ballot.