By Bob Elliott
CINCINNATI _ The arguments which began opening night are over.
Or are they?
No, this is only a starting point for Round No. 2.
The Franchise Four -- the greatest players in the 39-year history of the Blue Jays -- are Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar, Joe Carter, Carlos Delgado and Roy Halladay in fan voting conducted by MLB.com.
The four players on the eight-man ballot who didn’t make the cut were Jose Bautista, George Bell, Tony Fernandez and Dave Stieb.
Bautista is a two-time major-league home run champ, something no other Jay has done. He has 220 career homers, three back of Vernon Wells in second place in 500 fewer games. Bautista is second to Delgado in OPS.
Bell is the only man to have won an American League MVP trophy, hitting 202 career homers as a Jay and knocking in 740 runs (third).
Fernandez is the all-time Jays hit leader (1,583), is third in doubles (291) and fourth in runs scored (704).
A seven-time all-star Stieb was the best starter on the Jays bad teams, the ace on their contending teams and a back-end of the rotation guy on their 1992 Series team. He owns the franchise lead in wins (175), starts (408), complete games (103), shutouts (30) and strikeouts (1,658). He won an ERA title and twice finished in the top five of Cy Young award voting.
Was Stieb, 175-134 (.566 winning mark), with a 3.42 ERA, better than Halladay? A lot of people who saw both would say yes.
Halladay won the Cy Young award in 2003 and finished in the top five in voting four other years. The eight-time all-star, was 148-76 (.661), 3.47 ERA. He was second in shutouts (15), third in career starts (287), complete games (49).
Does Stieb belong ahead of say Carter? A lot of people would say yes. Carter was fourth all-time in Jays homers (203), not including his Game 6 three-run rocket to left field off Mitch Williams to give the Jays a walk-off win against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Delgado leads with the most home runs in franchise history (336), has the most doubles (343), RBIs (1,058) and OPS (.949).
Alomar is the only player in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown with a Blue Jays logo on the cap of his bronze plaque. His No. 12 is only number retired by Jays, he’s a 10-time Gold Glove winner and his name is on the Jays’ Level of Excellence.
Not making the ballot were John Olerud, only Jay to win a batting title, World Series MVPs Pat Borders and Molitor, 1986 home run champ Jesse Barfield, reliable Jimmy Key and 1996 Cy Young award winner Pat Hentgen to mention a few.
When we wrote about the contest from New York we thought the faces of the franchise were Alomar, Delgado, Halladay and Bautista.
Three for four.