Aaron, Bench, Koufax, Mays voted 4 greatest living players
By Bob Elliott
CINCINNATI _ Say Hey, Hammerin’ Hank, Sandy and Johnny.
There you have it.
Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench and Sandy Koufax were introduced as the four greatest living players before the 86th all-star game at the Great American Ball Park.
The foursome walked in front of the mound, Mays, 84, and Aaron, 81, walking gingerly arm in arm. Koufax, 79, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Bench, 67.
Mays, the best we ever saw, and Aaron were outfielders. Aaron, who hit 755 homers and knocked in 2,297 runs while Mays hit 660 homers and with 1,903 RBIs.
Bench had 389 homers and 1,376 RBIs.
Koufax won 165 games with a 2.76 ERA striking out 2,396 in a career cut short by an elbow injury.
The four on the eight-man ballot, who missed the cut were Hall of Famers Rickey Henderson (all-time leader in runs scored with 2,295 and 1,406 stolen bases) Pedro Martinez (219 wins) and Tom Seaver (311 wins), plus Barry Bonds (762 homers).
In April, we picked Mays, Aaron, Martinez and Bench.
Hall of Famers Gary Carter and Andre Dawson, plus Tim Raines, and Vladimir Guerrero made up the Montreal Expos/Washington National Franchise Four.
Larry Walker of Maple Ridge, B.C. was part the Colorado Rockies top four.
Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins of Chatham, Ont. did not make the Chicago Cubs fantastic four which consisted of Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo and Ernie Banks. Jenkins was also on the Texas Rangers ballot losing out to Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, plus Adrian Beltre, Ivan Rodriguez and Michael Young.