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The All-Century Team
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All Century Team members
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ATLANTA -- Major League Baseball named its All-Century Team, a list of greats that celebrates the sport's past and present and rekindles one of its most heated debates.

A month shy of his 30th birthday, Ken Griffey Jr. is the youngest player on the All-Century Team.

Legendary players were at the top of the list, with Lou Gehrig narrowly edging Babe Ruth to finish first in fan voting. Hank Aaron was third, followed by Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Johnny Bench and Joe DiMaggio.

Among the 25 players elected by fans were four active stars -- New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, St. Louis first baseman Mark McGwire, Seattle outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. and Baltimore shortstop Cal Ripken.

All living players on the All-Century Team have been invited to participate in ceremonies before Game Two of the World Series between the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees at Turner Field.

With 24 World Series titles, the Yankees are well-represented, with Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra joining Gehrig, Ruth and DiMaggio. Clemens is in his first year with the Yankees and will start Game Four of the World Series on Wednesday night.

The All-Century Team, chosen by fans in voting from July 13 to September 10, consists of two players at each infield position, two catchers, six pitchers and nine outfielders.

Five additional players were added by a special panel chosen to compensate for oversights in fan voting. Those players were pitchers Lefty Grove, Christy Mathewson and Warren Spahn, shortstop Honus Wagner and outfielder Stan Musial.

"In this century, more than 15,000 men had the opportunity to play Major League Baseball," Selig said. "But only a special few transcended the eras in which they played and remain in the consciousness of baseball fans and historians as the greatest players in baseball history."

The list of 100 players on the ballot was announced at the All-Star break. Voting took place at major league ballparks, baseball's web site, retail outlets and MasterCard promotional inserts.

Gehrig, baseball's Iron Man before being surpassed by Ripken, was tops among first baseman with 1,207,992 votes, more than double the total of McGwire (517,992) at the position.

Ruth led outfielders with 1,158,044 and was followed by Aaron, baseball's all time home run leader who had 1,156,782 votes. Williams (1,125,583), Mays (1,115,896) and DiMaggio (1,054,423) followed.

Mantle (988,163) and was joined by Ty Cobb (777,056), Griffey(645,389) and Pete Rose (629,742). Musial was 11th among outfielders before being added.

Spahn, Mathewson and Grove were 10th, 14th and 18th, respectively in fan balloting among pitchers. Topping that list was Nolan Ryan, the all-time strikeout leader who had 992,040 votes. He was followed by Sandy Koufax (970,434), Cy Young (867,523), Clemens (601,244), Bob Gibson (582,031) and Walter Johnson (479,279).

Bench lead all catchers with 1,010,403 votes and was followed by Berra with 704,208.

Currently a third baseman, Ripken led all shortstops with 669,033 votes and was followed by Ernie Banks (598,168). Wagner was fourth in the voting before being added.

Mike Schmidt (855,654) and Brooks Robinson (761,700) are the third basemen on the list. The second basemen were players from earlier eras -- Jackie Robinson (788,116) and Rogers Hornsby (630,761).

Among the omissions were Roberto Clemente, 10th among outfielders with 582,937 votes -- 46,805 less than Rose.

Falling just short in the balloting at pitcher was Greg Maddux of the Braves, who started Game 1 of the World Series. Maddux was seventh with 431,751 votes, 47,528 less than Johnson.

Copyright © 1999 SportsTicker Enterprises, L.P.