The St. Louis Cardinals Franchise Four were revealed prior to the 2015 MLB All-Star Game being held at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Understandably, not all eight players deserving of Franchise Four recognition could be named as a member of the Franchise Four. That’s not to say that all eight players are very deserving because they are. When you look at their statistics over their overall playing careers and not just what they did while playing for the Cardinals, it’s very easy to see why the four players received a majority of the votes by fans. From an offensive statistic standpoint, I can see why Smith doesn’t make it.
In addition to the team’s Franchise Four, the four greatest living players were also announced prior to the All-Star Game. I cannot argue with a list that includes pitcher Sandy Koufax, catcher Johnny Bench, and outfielders Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. You can certainly make an argument about whether to place Nolan Ryan over Koufax but Koufax, before an arm injury forced him to retire after twelve seasons, was going to put up some historic numbers on the pitching mound. There are other pitchers, since retired, with better numbers than Koufax but the fact is this: he is one of the greatest pitchers of all-time.
According to MLB.com:
"Franchise Four winners were selected from a list of eight nominees from each franchise as chosen by official MLB historian John Thorn plus representatives from the Elias Sports Bureau, MLB.com, MLB Network and the Baseball Writers’ Association of America."
Greatest Negro Leagues Player and the sport’s Greatest Pioneers were also being announced before the game.