As baseball reaches the just-past-the-midpoint of the season and takes a breather around the All-Star Game, it's fun to look back at some of the performances in All Star Games past. Some are well-known, some are little beyond trivia, but it's baseball, and we won't have it for the next couple of days.
Most All-Star Games (ASG) in a career:
There are several caveats to this table, the first being that it only shows games in which the player appeared. For example, Willie Mays was named to 28 ASGs, but only appeared in 24. In addition, from 1959 to 1962, there were two ASGs per year, completely understandable when there were 16 teams, which expanded all the way to 20 by 1962--they simply had to have two games to fit in all the stars. See the complete list from Baseball-Reference here.
This table includes a wide variety of career totals:
|Ken Griffey Jr.||9||28||25||7|
The table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers. Blanks denote that players weren't in the top 10 all-time in a given category. There has been one ASG grand slam, and he's on the list--in 1983, Fred Lynn hit one off Atlee Hammaker, driving in Robin Yount, Rod Carew and . . . Manny Trillo?!?
Stolen bases seem like an odd thing to do in All-Star Games, which is why they don't occur often:
It'll be interesting to see if the running game begins to see a resurgence, particularly as runs become more difficult to score (especially when facing the best pitchers in the game) and the games takes on greater meaning as home field advantage for the World Series is determined.
On the pitching side of the ledger, it's more difficult to tease out great performances:
Even back in the good old days, pitchers didn't pitch many innings in ASGs, since managers didn't want to waste them in an exhibition. This very short list shows pitchers who have pitched four or more innings in an individual game:
|Lefty Gomez||7/8/1935||NYY||AL||W 4-1||GS-6, W||6.0|
|Catfish Hunter||7/11/1967||KCA||AL||L 1-2||11-15f, L||5.0|
|Larry Jansen||7/11/1950||NYG||NL||W 4-3||7-11||5.0|
|Al Benton||7/6/1942||DET||AL||W 3-1||5-9f||5.0|
|Mel Harder||7/10/1934||CLE||AL||W 9-7||5-9f, W||5.0|
|Lew Burdette||7/9/1957||MLN||NL||L 5-6||2-5||4.0|
|Johnny Antonelli||7/10/1956||NYG||NL||W 7-3||6-9f, S||4.0|
|Spud Chandler||7/6/1942||NYY||AL||W 3-1||GS-4, W||4.0|
|Hal Schumacher||7/8/1935||NYG||NL||L 1-4||3-6||4.0|
|Lon Warneke||7/6/1933||CHC||NL||L 2-4||3-6||4.0|
The most recent game was in 1967--if Ned Yost or Bruce Bochy were to even consider using a pitcher for more than one inning, they'd never hear the end of it. It's interesting to note that of these games, only two of these were by starters, with the rest being relief appearances back in the day when relievers weren't prevalent, and were certainly not named to All-Star rosters.
There have been 11 extra-inning games in ASG history:
|Date||Team||Opponent||Result||Innings||Time of Game|
The game in 2002 is famous for inaugurating the awarding of World Series home field advantage to the league that wins the ASG, something I've given up discussing--no rational person believes something as important as home field advantage should be awarded based on the outcome of an exhibition game.
I'm old enough to remember when the ASG was special--it gave me the chance to see players (and uniforms!) that I didn't routinely see. Now that baseball can be consumed at the click of a computer (except for the two teams I care about and the other four 'close' to me geographically--thanks mlb.com!), the special nature of the game has been diluted. With rosters the size of small towns in Iowa, it will be difficult for players to amass the career totals of the titans shown in this post, but that doesn't mean our favorite players won't be fun to watch.
Plus the Cubs can use the home field advantage in this year's World Series.