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Major League Baseball All-Century Team

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In 1999, MasterCard sponsored the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. To select the team, a panel of experts compiled a list of the 100 greatest players from the last 100 years. Then fans voted on the greatest players.

The top 2 players from each position (except for outfielders, where there were 9 total) and the top 6 pitchers were placed on the team. There were some notable omissions, and an oversight committee included an additional five players who did not garner enough initial votes. (For this reason, some positions have more than their allotted number of players.)

The TeamEdit

Pitchers

Catchers

First Basemen

Second Basemen

Third Basemen

Shortstops

Outfielders

(* indicates player added later by panel)

The players were presented in a ceremony at Turner Field in Atlanta prior to Game 2 of the 1999 World Series. Every player then living who was named to the team attended the ceremony, including Williams, 81 years old and ailing; and Koufax, who in his post-baseball life had become renowned for protecting his privacy and staying out of the spotlight.

During the ceremony, the loudest ovations were given to Aaron, since the ceremony was held in the city where he played nine seasons; Williams, due to his illness and the thought that this might be his last appearance in a big-league ballpark (it was, though he lived another three years); and Rose, due to the fans' displeasure at his banishment from baseball.

Top Five Vote GettersEdit

ControversyEdit

With the announcement of the team, there was controversy over the inclusion of Pete Rose, who had been banned from baseball for life ten years earlier. Many questioned Rose's presence on a team officially endorsed by Major League Baseball. But fans at the stadium during the introduction of the team were supportive, giving him a standing ovation. Following the on-field ceremony (which was emceed by Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully), an aggressive negative interview by NBC Sports' Jim Gray resulted in further public sympathy for the disgraced Rose. It was an interview for which Gray was heavily criticized [citation needed].

Some fans were unhappy that no Latino players had been elected, in particular Roberto Clemente (582,937 votes), who had finished 10th among outfielders, just missing the cut. He had more votes than Stan Musial (571,279 votes). Baseball tried to assuage fans complaints in 2005 by announcing the "Latino Legends Team."

No Negro League stars were chosen for the team; Satchel Paige (399,657 votes), 9th among the voting for pitchers, received the most electoral support. Josh Gibson was also recommended by several baseball observers.

Four (then) active players made the roster: Roger Clemens, Cal Ripken, Jr., Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mark McGwire. Subsequent events have made Griffey's and McGwire's selections more disputable. At the time of his induction, Griffey was 29 years old, in his prime, and appeared headed towards all-time stardom. However, Griffey's ascent was subsequently derailed by a series of injuries; from 2001-2005, he missed around 370 games. McGwire's accomplishments were fresh in public memory, having just broken Roger Maris' single-season home run record the previous season. However, McGwire has since become entangled in the ongoing steroid controversy, and some now question the validity of his career numbers.

McGwire was also criticized by some for showing up at the ceremony wearing blue jeans and no tie. He explained that his luggage had been lost on the flight to Atlanta. Williams, who'd suffered a series of strokes and had to be helped onto the stage, also did not wear a tie, although he rarely did, claiming during his career, "Ties have one purpose: Getting in your soup."

Missed the cutEdit

Players with high vote totals who did not make the team:

Pitchers

Catchers

First Basemen

Second Basemen

Third Basemen

Shortstops

Outfielders

External linksEdit

See alsoEdit

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