MLB Franchise Four: Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians

This is the next installment in my ongoing series covering MLB’s Franchise Four initiative.

910Today, we look at two of the oldest franchises in the majors, the Tigers and the Indians. I love working through these lists from these long-tenured franchises; lots of great players to choose from.

Detroit Tigers Franchise Four

The first thing you notice with the Tigers list is the dearth of pitchers. Justin Verlander is the only nominee, which is mildly surprising given the love Jack Morris gets from nostalgists. It’s also a bit surprising that Norm Cash didn’t make the list, although I’m not sure who you’d exclude. This is a fine eightsome:

  • Miguel Cabrera
  • Justin Verlander
  • Ty Cobb
  • Al Kaline
  • Charlie Gehringer
  • Sam Crawford
  • Hank Greenberg
  • Alan Trammell

So here’s my ballot:

  1. Ty Cobb. Up there with Ruth in the discussion for the greatest player ever.
  2. Al Kaline. Franchise leader in HR. Great defensive right-fielder.
  3. Hank Greenberg. A two-time MVP and a Hall of Famer.
  4. Miguel Cabrera. It’s hard to leave Gehringer off the list, but I think Cabrera probably deserves this final spot. A two-time MVP, three-time batting champ, and winner of the first triple crown in 45 years.

I think Alan Trammell may win a spot in the final fan vote, perhaps edging out Greenberg.

Cleveland Indians Franchise Four

Here are the nominees for Cleveland:

  • Nap Lajoie
  • Jim Thome
  • Bob Feller
  • Larry Doby
  • Omar Vizquel
  • Tris Speaker
  • Earl Averill
  • Lou Boudreau

Jim Thome is the franchise leader in homers by a large margin, but I’m not sure you can include him in the final four.

  1. Tris Speaker. An all-time great. Bill James ranks him as the fourth greatest CF, one spot ahead of Joe Dimaggio. Speaker spent the first half of his career in Boston, but he still had a decade in Cleveland. He still ranks as the all-time leader in doubles.
  2. Nap Lajoie. A name very few remember these days, but Lajoie was one of the best keystoners to play the game.
  3. Bob Feller. A list like this must include Feller, the franchise leader in wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts.
  4. Larry Doby. You could argue for Averill, but I’m going with Doby, an oft-overlooked five-tool talent. In Speaker, Doby, and Averill, the Indians have some of the best center fielders the game has ever seen.

How will the final vote shake out? Recency bias probably means both Vizquel and Thome make the cut, likely at the expense of Doby and another player, which is ridiculous.

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One Response to MLB Franchise Four: Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians

  1. Christopher B. Miller says:

    1) Jim Thome was NOT only a GREAT long ball player. He ALSO LOVED the: “GAME” -AND- was an ambassador for: MLB!!! The ’95 -AND- ’97 Indians would NEVER have gotten where they did without: Jim Thome!!! He IS; in FACT; the home run king in the: Tribes history!!! Not bad; for one of the “oldest” franchises; in the game!!!
    (2) In the same vein; Omar Vizquel; was a: magician with his glove -AND- the ’95 -AND- ’97 Tribe could NEVER have gotten where they did without him!!! He turned double Play after double play -AND- we haven’t even talked about how eliable he was with his bat!!!
    (3) Bob Feller IS: One of the GREATEST pitchers to ever play the: GAME!!! He was trully; Mr. Cleveland Indian-AND- talk about an ambassodor for MLB!!! I had the choice privilege of meeting Mr. Feller, several times and one thing you didn’t have to worry about; was Bob to reminisce; about: “his days in baseball”!!! What a JOY!!!
    (4) AND LAST; -BUT CERTAINLY- NOT LEAST: Mr. Lary Doby!!! HE WAS: the American Leagues
    Jackie Robinson; who just so happens to have started in baseball; on my birthday: April 15th!!!!
    Larry was sooooo much more than a GREAT ballplayer; he too; was a man who opened the door
    for generations to come!!! Another of the: Cleveland Indians PROUD MOMENTS IN MLB!!!!!!!!!!!!

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