Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Yankees All-Stars

Happy All-Star Tuesday, everybody!


As a kid, I used to love the All-Star Game. It was a chance to see stars I didn't get to see everyday, and I truly hated the National League, with its godless no-DH rule. Now, in the era of the MLB baseball package and interleague play, the game itself is kind of pointless. It's a nice notch on the belt for players who make the game, though.

Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada represent the Yankees in San Francisco this year, and its criminal that Pudge Rodriguez is starting over Posada. The A.L. All-Stars of recent vintage have featured less Yankees than the days when Joe Torre was managing every year. The Yanks averaged 5.5 All-Stars in the seasons Torre managed the team, including his sometimes dubious hometown selections. (Robin Ventura??)

More interesting is the pre-Torre, pre-Showalter dark era, when the Yankees stunk for several years. From 1989-1993, the Yankees never had more than two All-Stars in any season, and only sent one player three straight years, none of whom started. In 1990, Steve Sax was the lone Yankee representative. In 1991, Scott Sanderson went, during one of his two seasons with the Bombers. Finally, in 1992, Roberto Kelly and his .706 OPS got the call. Melido Perez and his 136 ERA+ would have been a better choice by Twins manager Tom Kelly in '92.

The only other season, before or since, that the Yankees sent just one player to the All-Star Game was 1972, when Bobby Murcer started in the outfield.

Interestingly, since divisional play began in 1969, the Yankees have had just four pitchers start the game: Mel Stottlemyre in 1969, Jimmy Key in 1994, David Wells in 1998 and Roger Clemens in 2001. In Ron Guidry's Superman year, 1978, Jim Palmer got the start. And he looks better in his underwear. But he could never grow a moustache like Gator.

Other tidbits:

  • Mickey Mantle played in every All-Star Game from 1952-1965.
  • Captain Intangibles didn't get into his first Midsummer Classic until his third season, 1998.
  • Tom Gordon's selection in 2004 (by Torre) made him the Yanks' first set-up man to make it since Ron Davis in 1981.
  • Thurman Munson made six All-Star Games in seven years. I know that's not necessarily a perfect measure of a player's skills, but people today forget just how good a player Munson was.