After Ernie Banks, the arguments will be intense.
Major League Baseball is promoting an effort to identify the best four players in each team’s history with their "Franchise Four." We selected our choices for Mt. Rushmores a few years ago. Here are updated versions for all 30 teams. Who are the four baseball players that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.
Chicago Cubs Mt. Rushmore
The Chicago Cubs haven’t had much to crow about since, well, for a long time. More than 100 years, and we’ll leave it at that. So the number of great Hall of Fame players is not what you would think for a franchise that’s been around this long.
Anyone with the nickname Mr. Cub must be included, right? Banks played in more than 2,500 games and had more than 2,500 hits — all with the Cubs. He also had 512 home runs, most of them as a shortstop. But Chicago fans' love affair with Banks went far beyond the playing field.
Most of the Wrigley faithful are thinking, “Who?” But Anson had 3,012 hits for the Cubbies, although 1,000 of them came before Grover Cleveland’s first administration.
The arguments begin to get a bit dicey at this point. Williams teamed with Banks for most of 2,500 games and is ranked in the top four in many all-time categories.
Perhaps known more for his defense than offense as a player, Santo ranks as the second best offensive player in team history behind Anson (according the Baseball-Reference.com WAR stats). Santo was a Cub through and through as a player and later as a broadcaster.
Most New Age Cubs fans probably want to chisel Ryne Sandberg’s face on the mountain rather than cut through the ivy hiding Anson’s. Granted, Sandberg’s career numbers stack up well versus Santo’s. But the gutsy Santo was a gritty player who would do anything to help his team. It's unfortunate he played prior to the WGN Era, which launched Sandberg's popularity.
That same group of fans would also like to see Mark Grace’s image as well. The first baseman lacked power and isn’t in the top 10 in slugging.
Most fans today would mention Fergie Jenkins as the top pitcher, but Charlie Root had 201 wins for the Cubs, 34 more than Hall of Famer Jenkins. It was difficult leaving both of them off the list.
Other teams' Mt. Rushmores: