As the MLB unveiled the Franchise Four for each team, as voted by the fans, they also honored the four best living players of all time. The fans ultimately decided that those players were Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, and Johnny Bench. See reasons below why they earned this title:
Aaron, a record 25-time All Star, was atop the MLB all time home run list with a whopping 755 for many years, until Barry Bonds passed him in 2007. The legend holds MLB records in total bases, RBIs, and extra base hits, having both consistency and durablity throughout his long career.
Though arthritis cut Koufax’s career short, he dominated over the span of his 12 seasons played, including three Cy Young Awards, three Triple Crowns, and four World Series titles. With a career record of 165-87 and a sub-3 ERA, Koufax’s ability to strike out batters contributed greatly to his success.
Most famously known for “The Catch” in the 1954 World Series, Willie Mays went to 24 straight All Star Games and won 12 straight Gold Gloves. Arguably the best all-around player in MLB history, his strong defense was supplemented by a bat that powered 660 home runs and over 3000 hits.
While a member of the infamous Big Red Machine in Cincinnati, Bench helped lead the team to two straight World Series title amid a career of 14 All Star appearances and 10 Gold Gloves. No other catcher in history has been able to replicate his combination of power and defense, which made him ever so valuable.