MLB Franchise Four: Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles

Voting closed weeks ago, but I’m continuing my posts highlighting each club’s Franchise Four nominees. This post examines the A’s and O’s.

Baltimore Orioles Franchise Four

Here are the Baltimore Oriole nominees:

  • Paul Blair
  • Dave McNally
  • Eddie Murray
  • Cal Ripken, Jr.
  • Boog Powell
  • Jim Palmer
  • Brooks Robinson
  • Frank Robinson

And here are the players I voted for:

  1. Cal Ripken, Jr. A no-brainer.
  2. Eddie Murray. No-brainer #2.
  3. Brooks Robinson. #3.
  4. Jim Palmer. #4.

There may be other teams with an equally clear cut top 4, but I can’t see it. It seems strange leaving Frank Robinson off of this list, but he only played six years in Baltimore. I was a little surprised not to see Mike Mussina on the list, too. But very little room for argument with these four, at least in my opinion.

Oakland Athletics Franchise Four

Here are the A’s nominees:

  • Dennis Eckersley
  • Rollie Fingers
  • Rickey Henderson
  • Jimmie Foxx
  • Lefty Grove
  • Catfish Hunter
  • Reggie Jackson
  • Al Simmons

This is a very tough list with plenty of great players. No matter how you cut it, you’re going to leave off some great players. But here are my four:

  1. Rickey Henderson. Greatest leadoff hitter ever? You could make the argument. Here’s what is inarguable: Henderson played some of his best baseball in an A’s uniform. Franchise leader in runs, walks, and stolen bases. An absolutely disruptive force at the plate and on the bases.
  2. Jimmie Foxx. A .339 batting average, 302 HR and 1075 RBI for the old Athletics, good for 2nd place in each category in the team record books. Perhaps his most eye-popping stats are the .440 OBP and the .640 SLG. Truly one of the best hitters of his era.
  3. Al Simmons. Posted a .356 average in his decade-long tenure in Philly. I’m willing to bet he’ll lose out to one of the more recent A’s (Reggie, Catfish), but Simmons is one of the all-time greats whose best seasons were played for this club.
  4. Dennis Eckersley. Having watched him play, I have to put him on this list. I know there are arguments to be made for other players, but this one just feels right.
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