Franchise Four: AL East

MLB.com has a fun little thing asking readers to vote for the "Franchise Four" of each franchise -- basically, a ripoff of the old "Mount Rushmore of Sports" idea that everyone has done. You can vote for the four greatest living players and then the four "most impactful players who best represent the history of each franchise." Note that the guidelines don't necessarily say the four greatest players.

OK, I'm game. I'll give it a crack, starting with the AL East.

Baltimore Orioles

Career leaders in WAR:

1. Cal Ripken, 95.5

2. Brooks Robinson, 78.3

3. Jim Palmer, 68.1

4. Eddie Murray, 56.3

5. George Sisler, 52.5

6. Bobby Wallace, 48.3

7. Mike Mussina, 47.6

Right away, I see some problems with the MLB.com presentation. They list only eight players for each franchise. Sisler and Wallace played for the St. Louis Browns and both are Hall of Famers, but they aren't listed as candidates. That's understandable; the Browns don't have a lot to do with the Baltimore Orioles and were usually horrible. However, other franchises include players from a previous location: The Washington Nationals' page, for example, includes Gary Carter and Vladimir Guerrero; the Oakland A's page includes Lefty Grove, Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons. The other problem: It lists career stats. So Frank Robinson is listed with 586 home runs, not the 179 he hit with the Orioles.

Listed above is career WAR earned only with the Orioles. Again, however, we don't have to pick the four greatest players, although Ripken, Brooks Robinson and Palmer are pretty obvious selections. My fourth choice would go to Murray or the beloved Boog Powell, who doesn't rank in the top 10 franchise position players, but did win an MVP award and was part of the 1966-71 dynasty. You also could consider Frank Robby, who helped put the Orioles over the top in 1966. But I'm going with Murray, a great player and Hall of Famer, even if he doesn't have his own BBQ stand at Camden Yards.

My picks: Ripken, Brooks Robinson, Palmer, Murray.

Boston Red Sox

Career leaders in WAR:

1. Ted Williams, 123.1

2. Carl Yastrzemski, 96.1

3. Roger Clemens, 81.3

4. Wade Boggs, 71.6

5. Cy Young, 66.2

6. Dwight Evans, 66.2

7. Tris Speaker, 55.4

8. Pedro Martinez, 53.8

9. Bobby Doerr, 51.2

10. Jim Rice, 47.4

11. David Ortiz, 45.1

12. Lefty Grove, 44.7

13. Dustin Pedroia, 43.2

This is tough. MLB.com's eight players are Evans, Carlton Fisk (39.5 WAR with Boston), Martinez, Ortiz, Rice, Williams, Yaz and Young. So, no Clemens and no Boggs.

And I'm inclined to agree. The Red Sox have won three titles since Ortiz joined the club in 2003; history will show him as the dominant face of the team that turned the tides of history and ended the long World Series drought. And I think I'd go with Pedro over Clemens, even though Clemens was there longer and won three Cy Young Awards. Pedro's peak with the Red Sox was maybe the most dominant five-year stretch any pitcher ever had. And he won a ring.

My picks: Williams, Yaz, Ortiz, Pedro.

New York Yankees

Career leaders in WAR:

1. Babe Ruth, 142.7

2. Lou Gehrig, 112.4

3. Mickey Mantle, 109.7

4. Joe DiMaggio, 78.2

5. Derek Jeter, 71.8

6. Yogi Berra, 59.4

7. Mariano Rivera, 56.6

You thought picking four Red Sox was tough. How do you pick four from this group? Not to mention other greats I left off -- Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Bill Dickey ... Alex Rodriguez (I kid, I kid). Yogi would seem to be the easy guy to forget but I'm reminded of what Casey Stengel said when asked to explain the Yankees' success in the 1950s: "I always had my guy behind the plate." Do you leave out DiMaggio? He played in 10 World Series and won nine of them. How do you leave out Rivera, with his sparkling 0.70 career postseason ERA in 141 innings? There's Mantle, the icon of a generation of Yankees fans, and Jeter, the icon of the new generation and who never played on a losing team.

But you have to leave out somebody.

My picks: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra.

Tampa Bay Rays

Career leaders in WAR:

Evan Longoria, 40.0

Ben Zobrist, 36.6

Carl Crawford, 35.5

David Price, 21.3

James Shields, 19.3

My picks; Longoria, Zobrist, Crawford, Price.

Toronto Blue Jays

Career leaders in WAR:

1. Dave Stieb, 57.4

2. Roy Halladay, 48.5

3. Tony Fernandez, 37.4

4. Carlos Delgado, 36.7

5. Jose Bautista, 31.6

6. Jimmy Key, 30.0

7. Jesse Barfield, 29.4

8. Vernon Wells, 28.7

I was surprised to see that Fernandez is the career Blue Jays leader in WAR among position players. Do you consider Halladay, who was great but never appeared in a playoff game with Toronto? How about some of the players of the 1992-93 back-to-back champs who weren't there long enough to accumulate higher WAR totals, such as Roberto Alomar or John Olerud? Then there's Joe Carter, who hit the home run.

My picks: Stieb, Alomar, Carter, Halladay.