In 1999, Major League Baseball (MLB) decided that they ought to have an all-century team. Being magnaminous, they let the fans vote for the team's roster, but they also allowed a "special panel" to add five players as they saw fit.

Mastercard was a large sponsor of this team. This becomes important later.

Anyway, the voting went as such:
(The top two vote-getters from each infield position were named to the team, plus nine outfielders and six pitchers.)
Snagged from

1. Johnny Bench, 1,010,403 votes
2. Yogi Berra, 704,208

First Base
1. Lou Gehrig, 1,207,992
2. Mark McGwire, 517,992

Second Base
1. Jackie Robinson, 788,116
2. Rogers Hornsby, 630,761

Third Base
1. Mike Schmidt, 855,654
2. Brooks Robinson, 761,700

1. Cal Ripken, Jr., 669,033
2. Ernie Banks, 598,168

1. Babe Ruth, 1,158,044
2. Hank Aaron, 1,156,782
3. Ted Williams, 1,125,583
4. Willie Mays, 1,115,896
5. Joe DiMaggio, 1,054,423
6. Mickey Mantle, 988,163
7. Ty Cobb, 777,056
8. Ken Griffey Jr., 645,389
9. Pete Rose, 629,742

1. Nolan Ryan, 992,040
2. Sandy Koufax, 970,434
3. Cy Young, 867,523
4. Roger Clemens, 601,244
5. Bob Gibson, 582,031
6. Walter Johnson, 479,279

After the voting was finished, the "special panel" added outfielder Stan Musial, shortstop Honus Wagner and pitchers Warren Spahn, Lefty Grove and Christy Mathewson. All five of those players started their careers in the first half of the century.

Then, before Game 2 of the 1999 World Series, the team was introduced at Turner Field. And that brings us to Mastercard.

Pete Rose, of course, is on baseball's permanently banned list, due to his alleged gambling on baseball. (Many feel he was unjustly railroaded by MLB in this ... and he may have been. But gambling is a mortal sin in sports, for if people do not accept the players' motives as pure, then it might as well be pro wrestling.)

However, Rose was a tremendously popular player with the Cincinnati Reds, and many fans feel that he should be taken off the banned list and thusly allowed into the Hall of Fame. MLB has basically said, "No way." But the Hall of Fame is not sponsored by Mastercard; the All-Century team is. And Mastercard wanted the fans to be happy; thus, they wanted Rose. And so, baseball somewhat paradoxically has someone on the All-Century team who is not in the Hall of Fame.

Personally, I think that Rose simply wasn't deserving of the All-Century team ... Frank Robinson, Rickey Henderson or Barry Bonds would have been better choices for the fans. (Or they could have voted for Musial and thus allowed the "special panel" to add Steve Carlton or Tom Seaver or Willie McCovey or whoever.) But that's just me.

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