The dust finally cleared on the Franchise Four at the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Cincinnati.
There were 120 players on the list announced prior to the mid-summer classic at Great American Ball Park with four from each of the 30 clubs.
Back in May, Shoestring Catches had made some recommendations for fans to vote for the most impactful players for every team. In the end, 84 of those recommended players made the list.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners were correctly picked.
The Cleveland Indians and Oakland A’s were the biggest misses with only one player making the list from each franchise. I can live with the A’s selections, but it’s the Indians that caused the most trouble.
Tris Speaker was not among the choices for Shoestring Catches, which was a tough call. He deserves to be there. Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel may be worthy choices, but in the context of baseball history, they just shouldn’t be on the list.
In 1947, Doby became the first African-American to play in the American League just a few months after Jackie Robinson played with the Brooklyn Dodgers. That alone should merit a selection, but the fact that the seven-time all-star put together a career that led to his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998 is also enough. Doby was part the 1948 world champs and the 1954 AL pennant winners. He won the home run crowns in 1952 and 1954.
Boudreau was a seven-time all-star who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1970. He was the AL’s Most Valuable Player when the Indians won the World Series in 1948. He also served as a player/manager for the club from 1942-50.
On the other side, Thome was a three-time all-star with the Indians. Thome hit 337 of his 612 homers with the Indians, but the difference maker is not winning the World Series.
Like Thome, Vizquel is a Hall of Fame worthy player. Vizquel was a three-time all-star with eight Gold Gloves for the Indians, but as with Thome, the shortstop added to his possible Hall of Fame credentials with other teams.
Ultimately the lists were determined by the fans, but the beauty of the voting is that is leads to discussions. Hopefully, the contributions of Doby and Boudreau will not be forgotten.