Derek Jeter really hasn’t done anything well this season. The 37-year-old shortstop has played substandard defence, failed to get on base consistently, and provided little power (74 OPS+) and speed (seven steals).Yet, with Yankees (and Jeter) fans everywhere stuffing the ballot boxes, he was named to his 12th Midsummer Classic. That’s why most baseball fans take the All-Star Game with a grain of salt, even though it “counts.”
As long as fans, players and managers have major input, and every team must have a representative, there will always be wildly undeserving players on the rosters.
The following are 10 of the most laughable from recent baseball history. Some were scrubs, some were over-the-hill stars given the honours based on career achievement, and each had numbers that indicated they were fit for a demotion to AAA.
- Chris Cannizzaro, C, San Diego (1969): The San Diego Padres finished their inaugural season with 110 losses, tied with the league’s other expansion club, the Expos, for the most in baseball. Naturally, with a weak roster consisting mostly of castoffs from other teams, they didn’t have a discernable star to boast, so, by default, Cannizzaro was selected to participate in the Midsummer Classic despite his paltry .245 average, two homeruns and weak defensive skills. He never got an at-bat, and proceeded to justify his selection by hitting .170 in the second half.
- Luis Aparicio, SS, Boston (1971): During a season in which he tied the major league record for most consecutive at-bats without a hit for a non-pitcher, 44, Aparicio earned his 12th All-Star selection. Clearly there because of name recognition, he hit just .206 in the first half, and his speed and defensive skills — he won nine gold gloves during his career — weren’t as sharp as they had been in years past. His participation in the game was productive, however, as he went 1-for-3 with a run in the AL’s 6-4 victory over the Senior Circuit.
- Freddie Patek, SS, Kansas City (1972): A three-time All-Star, Patek was a fan favourite due to his short stature, standing just 5’5 and weighing fewer than 150 pounds. As with his fellow American League shortstop Aparicio, his speed and defence made him one of his team’s most valuable players. Never a proficient hitter, he earned his second All-Star selection while hitting .223 with 15 more strikeouts than walks, statistics that would indicate he was more a detriment to his team offensively — like an older version of Adam Everett, for example. Unfortunately for Patek, he didn’t get to prove he belonged in the game due to injury.
- Steve Rogers, SP, Montreal (1974): For a decade, Rogers was one of the best starting pitchers in the National League, anchoring the Expos’ rotation during the franchise’s best years. During the first 11 seasons of his career, 1974 was easily his worst, as he posted a 4.47 ERA and 22 losses. What did he have to show for it? His first of five All-Star appearances, even though he entered the break with a 4.63 ERA and 11 losses. Of course, he never threw a pitch in the game.
- Alfredo Griffin, SS, Toronto (1984): Before Ripken, A-Rod, Jeter, Nomar and Tejada revolutionised the position offensively, shortstops typically provided just two things — speed and defence. The ability to hit above .250 and provide any sort of power were just extra. Needless to say, Griffin demonstrated no unique attributes when he earned his only All-Star selection in 1984. In the first half, he hit .241 with 14 extra-base hits and only one fewer strikeout (18) than RBIs (19). What’s more, he wasn’t a particularly good base runner and he rarely took walks, which might explain why didn’t get a plate appearance in the game
- Sandy Alomar Jr., C, Cleveland (1991): One the best catchers of his era, Alomar certainly deserved to compete in multiple All-Star Games. Memorably, in 1997 in front of his home fans at Jacobs Field, he won the game’s MVP honours as his two-run homerun in the seventh inning ultimately secured the victory for the AL. Before his inevitable career downturn in the 2000s, his worst season came in 1991, during which he hit .217 with no homeruns and seven RBIs in 51 games. At the time of his All-Star selection, he hit .241 with four RBIs, 22 strikeouts and four walks, underwhelming to say the least. Not surprisingly, his struggles continued in the game, as he went 0-for-2.
- Carlos Garcia, 2B, Pittsburgh (1994): It was the post-Bonds Pirates, devoid of talent and a truly worthy All-Star representative. The 1994 edition of the Midsummer Classic, which took place in Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium, was the silver lining of a forgettable season that eventually ended in a strike. A rally in the bottom of the ninth and Moises Alou’s game-winning double in the tenth complete one of the most dramatic All-Star Games of all time, and the Pirates’ very own Garcia contributed to the game with a hit in his lone plate appearance. It was the highlight of an otherwise unremarkable season in which, at the break, he hit .267 with three homeruns, 20 RBIs, 55 strikeouts, 14 walks and a .639 OPS.
- Mike Williams, RP, Pittsburgh (2003): In 36.1 innings during the first half of the 2003 season, Williams amassed 6.44 ERA while somehow tallying 25 saves. No other pitcher has received an All-Star invite while possessing an ERA more than six. He never threw a pitch in the game, possibly because it was the first year the outcome determined which league received home field advantage in the World Series. A legitimate All-Star the year before when he recorded 46 saves with a 2.93 ERA, he still held some value, and thus was traded to the Phillies before the trade deadline. He went on to record three more saves and a 5.96 ERA. He never pitched another major league inning past 2003.
- Mark Redman, SP, Detroit (2006): Three years after he helped the Marlins win the World Series, winning 14 games and posting a 3.59 ERA, Redman was selected to his first All-Star Game while pitching for the lowly Royals. Up until that point, he was having the worst season of his career, posting a 5.27 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in 14 stars. Things only got worse in the second half, as he amassed a 6.14 ERA and 1.72 WHIP in 15 starts. Fortunately for Redman, he was never demoted during the season because, well, he played for the Royals.
- Jason Varitek, C, Boston (2008): Almost 40 years old, Varitek has supplied the Red Sox with the intangible characteristics needed by every championship squad. During the last few years, however, his defensive and hitting skills have eroded, and he certainly hasn’t performed like an All-Star. Nevertheless, his peers voted him in as a reserve in 2008, overlooking the fact that he was hitting just .218 with 73 strikeouts, seven homeruns and 28 RBIs. And people gripe about the fans’ misjudgments in All-Star voting? Post by: http://www.onlinecertificateprograms.org
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