40 Most Undeserving MLB All-Stars of All Time
For 80 years, the All-Star Game has been a day where we could watch the best of the American League square off against the best of the National League to see which side was superior.
Of course, this is under the presumption that the best are actually selected.
Sometimes, the choices that are made, whether by fans or coaches, add in a legend that's far past his prime or just add in someone that never should have been in the discussion in the first place.
Here are 40 of the worst All-Star selections, and with 80 years of questionable choices to choose from, there could very well be many more not listed here.
1933: Woody English
In the first All-Star game, Connie Mack and John McGraw faced off with their best talent. Mack's AL roster was just about perfect; when you can't even fit Jimmie Foxx in the starting lineup then you know you're set.
McGraw's roster has a few irks, the clearest of which was the selection of infielder Woody English. He was great in 1930 and 1931, but was only hitting .263 through June 1933.
As for who could have been put in, Arky Vaughan was only 21 yet already putting up huge numbers in 1933. He made the All-Star team in 1934 and nearly every year after, but perhaps he could have helped the NL win the first game.
1934: Jack Russell
In 1934, both leagues had five pitchers on their rosters, which should make it easy to find top talent. The AL had Lefty Gomez, Mel Harder and Tommy Bridges, all no-brainers to make the team. Red Ruffing didn't have his best year, but that wasn't a terrible selection.
Jack Russell, however, was. After arguably being a top reliever in 1933, he struggled in 1934 and he ERA remained over four. He was on pace to lead the league in games played, though (which he did), and that was apparently enough to give him the nod.
Schoolboy Rowe's first-half stats weren't good despite his overall 1934 record, but a snub who could have taken Russell's place was Johnny Murphy, who was 7-3 with a 2.59 ERA at June's end, and could have provided the relief experience the team was apparently looking for on top of that.
1940: Billy Jurges
Billy Jurges had a nice career at shortstop for the Chicago Cubs and New York Giants, and during his best two years he made the All-Star team. His third appearance in 1940, however, doesn't make sense.
Jurges was only hitting .250 and was having a defensive year on par with what he usually did. It was a bad year for shortstops with many getting hurt, but Arky Vaughan and Eddie Miller had the position more than covered, and Marty Marion would have been a better choice than Jurges or Leo Durocher, who gets an honorable mention here.
1942: Eddie Smith
Credit: Baseball in Wartime
During the World War II years, I'm trying to cut slack on picks that weren't good but weren't terrible, since many players were serving in the military. Still, some are more then worth mentioning, like the selection of pitcher Eddie Smith in 1942.
Smith had a decent season in 1941 and made the All-Star team that year, but led the league in losses in 1942. He was 2-12 with a 3.40 ERA at the end of June. Fellow White Sox pitcher Ted Lyons was 6-5 with a 2.66 ERA and led the league in it that year, yet was snubbed.
1944: Frankie Zak
On the surface, Frankie Zak's selection looks better than many on the list. He hit .300 in 1944, and was hitting better than that when he was named to the team.
Zak was the team's rookie pinch-runner, and had his first at-bat in June. Yes he was hitting around .330, but he had under 100 at-bats on the season when chosen. Besides, he was selected since the game was being held at Forbes Field, and he was on Pittsburgh.
If they wanted a Pirate on the team that badly, they could have added Babe Dahlgren, who had a career year in 1944 and would have been a far better choice.
1946: Eddie Miller
How Eddie Miller was a seven-time All-Star honestly baffles me. He had a few very good seasons, namely 1940 and 1947, and playing throughout World War II helped those numbers. Even if I let the 1944 bid slide, his selection in 1946 was stupid.
He was hitting around .185 throughout the month of June, and his power was completely gone. Somehow though, he made it onto the squad. I know people want great defense at shortstop, but Marty Marion more than had that covered.
Pirates shortstop Billy Cox was hitting about 100 points better, and would have been a better selection, or they could have picked nearly any third baseman to back up Whitey Kurowski, and they probably would have been better.
1947: Jack Kramer
From 1944 to 1946, Jack Kramer was one of baseball's more underrated pitchers, perhaps due to playing for the St. Louis Browns. He was great in 1944, decent in 1945 and another good year in 1946 helped him earn his first All-Star bid.
He fell off and had a bad year in 1947, but somehow got his second straight All-Star bid. By June's end he was 5-6 with a 4.90 ERA, and he led the league in earned runs that year.
Eddie Lopat was a clear snub, and if they needed a St. Louis Brown in the game they could have just picked Vern Stephens, like they did every other year, or Bob Dillinger.
1948: Clyde McCullough
Catchers tend to have weaker numbers at the plate than other positions, so as long as they're okay I can let them slide. That's why I don't mind Clyde McCullough as a selection in 1953.
How he got picked in 1948, though, is beyond me. His batting average was .182 at June's end and was barely over .200 at any point during the season. It was perhaps his worst offensive season, in fact.
His own catching teammate, Bob Scheffing, was hitting .300 and would have been a better All-Star choice, and he even played more games that year.
1950: Ray Scarborough
Ray Scarborough was one of the biggest All-Star snubs of 1948, as he went 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA, second in the AL. They made up for it by naming him to the 1950 All-Star game, but he was far from the same pitcher.
After being traded from the Senators to the White Sox, Scarborough was decent and had a 3.70 ERA at June's end. How Early Wynn got snubbed I don't know, and Eddie Robinson or Gus Zernial would have made better White Sox selections.
1952: Eddie Yost
Yost was a great third baseman during the 1950s, and perhaps was underrated. It's great they he got at least one All-Star nod, but it's concerning that it came during one of his worst seasons in 1952.
Yost regularly had an OBP over .400, but at June's end it was .338. That's not terrible, but combine it with a .192 average and it's a wonder how he made the team, especially when there were a few other third basemen on the squad already.
1953: Billy Hunter
The last season of the St. Louis Browns was a mishmash mostly of bad players, and of course one has to represent the team in the All-Star Game. Satchel Paige was serving well as a reliever, so the 47-year-old got the nod, and rightfully so, as he probably was the best player on the team.
Why did Billy Hunter join him in the game? The rookie played a full season and was hitting around .260 at the end of June, but he shouldn't have made it in. For whatever reason, the AL had four shortstops on the roster that year; there were hitters at other positions who deserved the call a lot more.
1960: Jim Coates
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Every few years, a pitcher shows up with tremendous luck to remind us that wins and losses are far from everything. In 1960, it was Yankees pitcher Jim Coates.
He was pitching just okay most of the year, and had a decent ERA of 3.74 halfway through the year, but he was also 9-0, which gave him a nod. After a bad July, they moved him to reliever.
The Yankees had great pitchers that year that deserved the nod more, such as Art Ditmar and Bob Turley.
1960: Dick Stigman
The Cleveland Indians in 1960 had a great closer in Johnny Klippstein. In 23 games through June he had an ERA of 1.08 and went on to lead the AL in saves. Given that, how did fellow Indians reliever Dick Stigman get the nod?
At the end of June, Stigman had played both as a starter and reliever, and had a 3.32 ERA. Not a bad number, but hardly All-Star caliber, especially from a spot starter. He only had four wins too, so they can't even use the win-loss record excuse like they could with Coates, and if they wanted a top reliever they could have used Mike Fornieles.
1961: Mike Fornieles
If you've noticed a trend of managers and selectors "making it up" to players who were snubbed by selecting them in the next game, it makes up a decent amount of this list; Mike Fornieles is just one of many.
After a 2.64 ERA and 10 wins in 70 games in 1960, Fornieles struggled big-time in 1961. Despite an ERA of 5.05 near the end of June, he got named to the All-Star team. If they needed a Boston reliever they could have used Chet Nichols, who had a 2.73 ERA halfway through the year.
1963: Don Leppert
The second Washington Senators had some odd All-Star selections to start their history. Rookie Dave Stenhouse was an All-Star in 1962 after a great first half, then suddenly stopped pitching well.
Don Leppert, meanwhile, was never good. Even in 1963, he had a .259 average through June, playing in 40 games. It's not terrible, but it's far from All-Star caliber, especially since his numbers were a very far cry from Earl Battey and Elston Howard.
Tom Cheney would have been far better as Washington's representative, as he was having his last very good season.
1969: Ellie Rodriguez
In 1969, the San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals were expansion teams, and as a result played about as well as you would expect an expansion team to. Nonetheless, they each had their representatives.
Kansas City's was Ellie Rodriguez. In his first full season, he played 95 games. Through June, he was hitting .262, which which was apparently enough to give him the nod. He actually played much better in 1972, hitting well over .300 when he was selected for the game.
As for Kansas City's representative, either Moe Drabowsky, Lou Piniella or Wally Bunker would have made a better choice.
1969: Chris Cannizzaro
Ellie Rodriguez's catcher counterpart that somehow made the All-Star game was San Diego Padre Chris Cannizzaro. Unlike many others, he was an everyday catcher, playing in 135 games.
That doesn't mean he was great; he hit around .250 during the All-Star break and .220 at season's end. They didn't have many other options to send to the game, but Nate Colbert or Ollie Brown would have fit in fine.
1971: Luis Aparicio
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Luis Aparicio is a ten-time All-Star, and one of the all-time best defensive players. During his first year with Boston, in 1971, he had the worst season of his career at 37.
Did that stop him from making the All-Star team? Certainly not. Despite a down year defensively and a terrible year offensively (he was hitting under .200 throughout June), he made the team.
Heck, Bert Campaneris had a down year, and even he would have been a better selection. So would Freddie Patek, who had a career year. Speaking of Patek...
1972: Freddie Patek
Freddie Patek followed up his career year in 1971 of 11 triples, 49 stolen bases and a .267 average, with a .212 average in 1972, and it was only .231 at June's end.
Somehow though, he made the All-Star team that year. He had great defense that year, but it still doesn't add up to a quality selection. Five shortstops were on the AL roster though, for whatever reason, so simply keeping Patek off would have made more sense.
1973: Willie Mays
There are a few picks that are legacy picks, ones that seem blasphemous on the surface. Willie Mays may have very well been the best player to ever play baseball, so how can he be on here?
Well, Giants Mays and Mets Mays are two different people, and Mets Mays was painful to watch. He made the All-Star team despite not hitting .200 for most of the year (.172 at the end of June), and that's the one All-Star game he should not have been a part of.
1974: Steve Rogers
Steve Rogers was one of the best pitchers the Montreal Expos had. He won 158 games in his career, and made five All-Star teams. The first of those five came in his second season, and I don't know how he pulled it off.
At the end of June, Rogers was 9-8 with a 4.58 ERA. He didn't improve on that and led the league in losses that year, yet made the All-Star team. When other starters on the same team have a better track record (Mike Torrez and Dennis Blair), then it's clear he shouldn't have been on the team.
1976: Steve Swisher
Some people had questions about Nick Swisher making the All-Star team in 2010, but he had numbers to back it up. His father Steve, however, seemed to luck into it.
Swisher played 109 games in 1976, and while he had a .265 average through June, the rest of his numbers were at best pedestrian. Certainly he wasn't in the same category as Johnny Bench or Bob Boone.
1981: Dick Ruthven
Dick Ruthven almost made the list for 1976, when he led the NL in losses. That was due to bad luck though, so I didn't worry about it, plus it was a much better season for him than 1981.
Through the first part of the season, he was 8-3 but had a 4.05 ERA. The split season meant that numbers were going to be lower, so maybe the eight wins looked better, but it's still an average pitcher who made it to the game because he got lucky.
1983: Manny Trillo
Manny Trillo was great to watch in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as he was one of the best defensive second basemen and hit just well enough to look good stat-wise. By 1983, his defense was starting to slip, yet he made the All-Star team.
The fact that he was now on the Indians instead of the Phillies made his selection surprising, since it wasn't simple fan recognition in that case. He started off hot but hit .194 in June, knocking his average to around .260.
Not a terrible number, but he certainly shouldn't have been a starter.
1983: Reggie Jackson
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Just like Mets Willie Mays was not the best Willie Mays, Angels Reggie Jackson was not the best Reggie Jackson. Well, he was in 1982, but after that he fell off.
He was only hitting .214 halfway through 1983, but got named to the All-Star team anyway. He finished the season under .200, and it was clear that he was just selected for the game because he was Reggie Jackson.
1984: Alfredo Griffin
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Alfredo Griffin was a guy who had a nice career, but it was just that, nice. I see no seasons where he put up All-Star numbers, especially not in 1984. He wasn't meant to join the All-Star team, but happened to be in attendance when an infielder was needed.
Still, that doesn't excuse the selection. Not only did he hit .249 as of the end of June, but all season he had four walks, in what might be the worst batch of plate discipline in the 1980s I've ever seen.
1987: Jay Howell
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It can be tough to rate relievers for an All-Star game at times, but no matter what, a simple rule of thumb is not to nominate a guy for the game during his worst year. That's what happened with Jay Howell in 1987.
Howell was a quality reliever nearly every year of his career except, ironically, 1987. Through June, he had 14 saves but a 4.20 ERA, which was about as low as it got all year. He got in ahead of Mark McGwire and even relief teammate Dennis Eckersley, who had a much better year.
1988: Lance Parrish
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Longtime Tigers catcher Lance Parrish made many All-Star games due to his hitting and catching abilities. When he joined the Phillies in 1988, he seemed to leave that behind.
Halfway through 1988, Parrish was hitting .235 with 11 home runs, a decline in both average and power. His defense fell off a bit too, but somehow he made the team that year. Certainly he could not have been the second-best catcher in the NL.
1991: Sandy Alomar, Jr.
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Sandy Alomar, Jr., when he actually played 100 games, had no trouble making an All-Star team. Even when he didn't he seemed to make teams, such as in 1995 when he played 51 games.
He was only hitting around .200 in June, and it was possibly the worst season in his career. No home runs, a .217 average for the season and average defense got him the nod somehow.
Brian Harper was hitting over .300 throughout the year, and was a blatant snub at the catcher position. Mickey Tettleton and his power deserved the nod over Alomar as well.
1993-1994: Scott Cooper
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I don't feel quite as strongly about Scott Cooper being on here as others might, but it's still deserving. As for why I have two years on here, he made the All-Star game twice, and both situations were nearly identical.
Both years, he started hot, and hit around .290 at the end of June. None of his other numbers were all that impressive though. If the Red Sox wanted players on the team that badly, Mo Vaughn could have made the team both years instead, or Mike Greenwell in 1993.
1995: Tyler Green
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In four seasons, Tyler Green went 18-23 with a 5.16 ERA, stats that are nearly impossible to turn into All-Star numbers. Certainly in 1995 he had to have a great year to somehow make it on the team, right?
Actually, he was 8-4 with a 2.75 ERA. It sounds great, but Curt Schilling had similar numbers yet didn't get chosen. After the game, his ERA was 9.63 in games played after the break, knocking his ERA back over 5.00.
This is a situation where you have to look closely at his numbers. In his seven quality starts before the break, he pitched over 130 pitches four times, which helped push his ERA down and made him look like a much better pitcher than he actually was. He had a hot streak at the right time, but it was a deceptive one.
1996: Roger Pavlik
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The Texas Rangers finished in first place in 1996, and were led by ace Ken Hill, who had a great year. Despite that, he was snubbed, and instead teammate Roger Pavlik got the nod.
Why Pavlik made it on the team was clearly because someone was looking only at wins and losses. He was 10-2 halfway through the season, but had an ERA of 5.16. He allowed two runs in two innings in the game, unsurprisingly, and he was out of baseball by 1998.
1999: Ron Coomer
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Ron Coomer had a few nice seasons as a first baseman and third baseman for the Minnesota Twins, but was never All-Star material. Despite this, he made it to the show in 1999.
Halfway through the year, he was hitting .286 with 10 home runs. Not bad numbers by any means, but many other first basemen in the AL, like Tino Martinez, had a similar average but much better power numbers.
2001: Cal Ripken, Jr.
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Cal Ripken, Jr. is a legend of the game. He's baseball's Iron Man, a first=ballot Hall of Famer and a 19-time All-Star. Was he playing well during all 19? No, the last two were clearly just legacy picks.
At the end of June 2000, Ripken was hitting .239 with 13 home runs, but in 2001 he was only hitting .217 with four. He was a backup in 2000 and couldn't play anyway, so I could let that one slide.
Naming him the starter in 2001 though was just silly. His home run in the 2001 All-Star Game almost gets him off the list, but even with his heroics it was still a bad selection.
2003: Lance Carter
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If you're a reliever and going to make the team, make sure you're an elite one. Both the AL and NL flubbed here in 2003, with the AL selecting Devil Rays closer Lance Carter.
Through June, he had a 3.70 ERA and 13 saves. Those aren't terrible numbers, but they're only solid, and not All-Star numbers. His 4.33 ERA for the year didn't exactly help him either.
Aubrey Huff could have been on the team instead to represent Tampa Bay, as he had a career year in 2003. Plus, the NL's selection was far worse...
2003: Mike Williams
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There have been a few reliever selections that have just been odd, mainly due to the over-reliance on saves as a great stat. Perhaps the most egregious selection of a reliever came in 2003, when Pirates closer Mike Williams was selected.
At the end of June, he had 21 saves and led the league that year in saves, but he had a 5.58 ERA and 19 walks to 13 strikeouts to go along with that. Numbers like that are what gets you off the team, and one can see why he didn't play in the majors after 2003.
Granted, when you have 14 pitchers in an All-Star lineup, one is bound to be questionable. Still, when Livan Hernandez or Matt Mantei is a better option, then maybe Williams isn't the guy. Had I ranked all 40, there's a very real possibility that Williams would have been No. 1.
2005: Cesar Izturis
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Dodgers shortstop Cesar Izturis is the type of guy whose numbers have never been and never were All-Star quality, but got hot at just the right time to make the selection look a bit less ridiculous.
He was hitting .275 for the first half of the season, but that includes a .105 average in June. He played great the first two months, but they apparently decided to ignore June when he was selected. He ended with a .257 average and never came close to another All-Star game.
2006: Mark Redman
The Kansas City Royals lacked talent in 2006, and really had no good pitchers that year, but still, they could have found someone better to go to the All-Star game than Mark Redman.
Redman was 5-4 with a 5.35 ERA through June, and had 30 walks to 25 strikeouts. His stats weren't any better the rest of the year.
The only Royal whose numbers even looked kind of All-Star caliber that year was Mark Teahen. Redman's numbers looked like a guy who was on the way out, which is precisely what he was.
2008: Jason Varitek
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Jason Varitek had a great peak from 2003 to 2005 as a catcher for the Boston Red Sox, but by 2008 he was clearly nearing the end of his career.
Somehow, he was named to the All-Star game. Not only did he hit .222 in the first half of the season, but in June his batting average was a whopping .122. A.J. Pierzynski would have been a far better choice as the third catcher on the AL squad.
2011: Derek Jeter
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Derek Jeter is a Yankee legend. He will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and has 13 All-Star bids to his credit. The one in 2011, however, was clearly a legacy pick.
Jeter struggled to get going the entire first half, and through June hit two home runs and had a .260 average. Combine that with bad defense and you have someone who should not have been near the game at all (and he wasn't, as he pulled himself from the game).
Having said that, his 2012 bid was certainly deserved.