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The "Franchise Four" of the Seattle Mariners

Griffey. Felix. Edgar. Ichiro.

The Kid.
The Kid.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It's the last day of the All-Star break and baseball will finally resume again tomorrow. (I actually miss the Mariners, you guys. This is nice.) All of the regularly scheduled game threads and recaps and analysis will resume soon, but until then here's one last ~silly article to tide you over.

Over the first half of this season, Major League Baseball held a big poll allowing fans to pick four players for each team who they thought were the most talented, most impactful, and best represented the history of each franchise. (MLB selected eight players from each franchise and the fans were in charge of picking the final four.) Maybe you saw this poll and participated in it! Or maybe you rolled your eyes at it and thought "What a waste of time". (I did both of these things.) In any case, the results for this poll were announced during the pre-game show of the All-Star game.

For the Mariners:

This is an exceedingly talented, lovely group of players. The other Mariners that fans were picking from included Randy Johnson, Jay Buhner, Alvin Davis, and Jamie Moyer; you could certainly make an argument for wanting to include Randy, but who do you kick out to put him in there? Anyway, here's how the Mariners Franchise Four stack up amongst the 120 gentleman that were selected as their teams' top representatives.

The average and median fWARs for this group of players are 56.0 and 53.2, respectively. The Mariners stack up pretty respectably; Felix is the only M's player to be in the lower 50th percentile and he's definitely still got a lot left in the tank. The Mariners haven't had a ton of great players throughout their history, but the good ones that they've had have been pretty damned exceptional.

Additionally, despite being one of the six newest teams in baseball, the Mariners top players combine to be the 12th best among baseball's 30 teams, coming in ahead of some very storied franchises (e.g., the Dodgers and the Indians). Put another way, of the 22 teams to have been founded since the beginning of the 20th century, the Mariners have the fifth best bunch of franchise players.

Of course, these players only represent a fan vote and aren't necessarily indicative of the best players that have played for each franchise. To see how astute the fans of each team were at picking the most talented individuals, I've put together the following table, which shows the combined fWAR of the selected Franchise Four compared to the highest possible fWAR that could have been picked.

Team Franchise Four fWAR Maximum fWAR % of max fWAR
Angels 137.7 170.8 80.6%
Astros 233.9 245.3 95.4%
Athletics 197.9 239.1 82.8%
Blue Jays 111.6 162.9 68.5%
Braves 368.8 395.2 93.3%
Brewers 157.1 186 84.5%
Cardinals 344.5 384.3 89.6%
Cubs 255.1 256.9 99.3%
D-backs 132.4 142.7 92.8%
Dodgers 234.4 234.4 100.0%
Giants 352.5 464.3 75.9%
Indians 209.1 273.2 76.5%
Mariners 237.5 237.5 100.0%
Marlins 73.3 80.0 91.6%
Mets 173.3 208.2 83.2%
Nationals/Expos 181.2 198.2 91.4%
Orioles 264.5 287.8 91.9%
Padres 144.1 148.7 96.9%
Phillies 294.2 301.8 97.5%
Pirates 301.6 341.2 88.4%
Rangers 118.7 149.8 79.2%
Rays 124.2 137.1 90.6%
Red Sox 319.3 344.3 92.7%
Reds 275.2 277.6 99.1%
Rockies 147 153.8 95.6%
Royals 168.6 200.3 84.2%
Tigers 332.6 374.6 88.8%
Twins 208.8 295.3 70.7%
White Sox 158 249.2 63.4%
Yankees 461 461 100.0%

I only counted the fWAR that a player accumulated while playing for the particular team in question. e.g., Griffey had a career fWAR of 77.7, but I only counted the 67.6 fWAR he obtained as a member of the Mariners.

This list shows that the fans of only three teams were savvy enough to actually select the four best players: The Yankees, the Dodgers, and the Seattle Mariners. (This is clear proof that most Mariners fans are all intelligent people who love and care about baseball. I appreciate each and every one of you.)

The teams with the fans who were the worst at this were the Twins, the Blue Jays, and the White Sox. (MIN fans picked Tony Oliva over Bert Blyleven and Walter Johnson, TOR fans picked Joe Carter over Tony Fernandez or Dave Stieb, and CHW fans picked Paul Konerko over Luke Appling or Eddie Collins.) I know that these selections needn't necessarily be super objective, but some of these selections are kinda hard to understand. (I do excuse White Sox fans for their mistakes, though; listening to Hawk Harrelson on a regular basis seems like it might fry a few braincells.)

Finally, a few random tidbits related to this poll:

  • The worst player to be selected as a "Franchise Four": Rollie Fingers, Milwaukee Brewers, 5.1 fWAR
  • The best player to not be picked: Walter Johnson, Minnesota Twins franchise, 117.1 fWAR

Baseball starts up again tomorrow. Go M's.