The 10 Biggest Gaffes of the Last 10 MLB All-Star Game Votes
There are a handful of certainties in this world—life, death, taxes...and All-Star Game snubs. Each year, as the rosters for the American League and National League squads are unveiled, fans and analysts immediately look to who was left off, and who was maybe undeservedly named to the respective teams.
So let's take a look at some of the votes the fans may have gotten wrong over the past 10 years. And remember to tune into Fox on Saturday June 6 at 6:30 p.m. to see who has been selected to the 84th All-Star Game at Citi Field.
2009: Wright over Panda
For 2013, it looks like the Giants' third baseman Pablo Sandoval is out for a little retribution against David Wright. See, currently, the two are neck-and-neck in the fan vote to see who will be starting at Citi Field—Wright's home field. Yet, Sandoval missed about two weeks with an injury, and Wright's numbers are clearly better.
But, in 2009, Wright got voted in to start the All-Star Game in St. Louis, when perhaps it should have been the Kung-Fu Panda.
When comparing the stats of the two hot-corner men that season, Sandoval's definitely seemed more worthy of an All-Star bid. In the first half of the season, he had 15 home runs and 55 RBI, to go a long with a slash of .333/.385/.578/.964.
Meanwhile, Wright's offensive numbers were down from his career norms, with only five home runs at the break (though he did provide 20 first-half steals for the Mets).
One could make an argument that Wright belonged with the rest of the National League in St. Louis—but Sandoval clearly deserved the starting role.
2002: Where's Albert?
One would think that smashing 37 home runs, being named to the All-Star Game, and winning the National League Rookie of the Year all in the same season would warrant at least a top-five finish in the fan vote for the following All-Star Game.
One would think that 21 home runs and 66 RBI before the break would warrant some All-Star consideration too. But none of this was the case for a 22-year-old Albert Pujols in 2002.
Todd Helton was voted in to be the starting first baseman in Milwaukee that year, winning the nomination by a landslide. And while Helton was in the midst of yet another quality season, Pujols' was in the midst of yet another monster season (he finished as the runner up for the MVP that year).
Until his injury-shortened 2011 campaign, 2002 was the only year that Pujols was not named to the All-Star Game. Pujols could have at least been brought in as a reserve player for the NL, but the Brewers' Richie Sexson was named as Helton's back up instead.
2004: Sammy Sosa over Jim Edmonds
It's no secret that sometimes the All-Star fan vote can be somewhat of a popularity contest. There are times where a player with better numbers is out-voted by a player with a more recognizable name. This was certainly the case in 2004.
The fans voted to have Sammy Sosa start the All-Star Game in Houston, even though it can be argued that Jim Edmonds was having a better season than Sosa. At the All-Star break, Sosa had a .279 batting average with 16 home runs and just 39 RBI.
Meanwhile, in St. Louis, Edmonds was tearing up National League pitching. In the first half, Edmonds hit .284 with 21 home runs and 56 RBI. Clearly, his stats made him more qualified to at least be in the game, if not start it.
Not to mention, the fans had voted Ken Griffey Jr. to start in the outfield, but he was replaced by Lance Berkman due to injury (Edmonds could have easily been Griffey's replacement). Though, had Griffey been able to start, it would have been the only time in Major League history that an entire outfield was made up of active 500-home run club members (Griffey, Sosa and Barry Bonds).
2005: Eck over J-Roll
The St. Louis Cardinals were crowned World Series champions in 2004. So, perhaps on a euphoric stemming from their Fall Classic victory, St. Louis fans voted in three of their hometown favorites to start the 2005 All-Star Game in Detroit. Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols were to be expected. But new Cardinal shortstop David Eckstein?
Sure, Eckstein was putting together a good season at the break in '04, but was he really the right choice to start the Mid-Summer Classic? Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies seemed to be much more qualified.
J-Roll was leading all NL shortstops in hits, runs and total bases at the break. He also had 20 stolen bases in the first half. All of his offensive numbers were superior to that of Eckstein. Rollins was eventually named as a reserve replacement for the injured Cesar Izturis, but the fans may have botched this one in '05.
2012: Panda over Wright
Justice was served in 2012, as Pablo Sandoval received the starting vote as the NL starting third baseman in Kansas City, over David Wright. Remember, just three years earlier, it was Wright that took the starting bid over Sandoval, despite the Kung-Fu Panda having a better year.
Leading up to the break in 2012, Sandoval was having a decent season with a .307 batting average and eight home runs. But overall, Wright was just having a better first half. In his first 82 games, Wright hit .351 with 11 home runs and 59 runs batted in (nearly twice as many as Sandoval).
But, as the saying goes, hindsight is definitely 20/20. When Sandoval launched a three-run triple against Justin Verlander in the top of the first inning in last year's all-star game, it definitely looked like the fans got this vote right.
2011: Bronx Cheer
There's no question that Derek Jeter has put together a Hall-of-Fame career. And the 2011 season will go down as a historic campaign for the Yankees' captain, as he became the first Yankee ever to reach 3,000 hits for his career.
But statistically speaking, he had no business being in the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim, much less starting in it. For the season, Jeter had the lowest home run output (10) of his career since his 1995 debut season, though he would only hit six in 2011. And he only managed a .274 batting average for the first half—not exactly All-Star caliber.
Alex Gonzalez hit 17 home runs for the Toronto Blue Jays in the first half of the season (though he was traded to Atlanta a day after the All-Star Game). Elvis Andrus, selected as a reserve, was also having a fine start to the season, swiping 23 bases before the break.
But playing for the Yankees, and being baseball's poster boy, Jeter will continue to amass millions of All Star votes, probably even after he's retired. And in 2010, he clearly won the popularity contest, being named the starting shortstop of the All-Star Game.
2012: Uggla over Hill
For the first time in his career, Atlanta Braves' second baseman Dan Uggla was voted to start an All-Star Game in 2012. Before heading to Kansas City for the Classic, Uggla had put together a mediocre (at best) first half, which included 12 home runs and a dismal .221 batting average.
Meanwhile, in Arizona, Aaron Hill was having a remarkable campaign. He became just the fourth player in history to record two cycles in the same season. And at the break, Hill was hitting an even .300 and was slugging at a .505 clip. Yet, Hill was not even selected as an All-Star reserve.
Sadly, the voters definitely got this one wrong in 2012.
2009: Texas League
Josh Hamilton has had several successful seasons in his big league career. But 2009 was not one of them. In his second season with the Texas Rangers, Hamilton put together the worst season of his career, albeit an injury-plagued campaign.
Hamilton managed to play in just 89 games, finishing with a career-low .268 batting average. Yet, somehow, he also managed to get voted in to start the All-Star Game in St. Louis that year. Starting in center field, Hamilton went 1-3 with an RBI groundout.
There were lots of other choices for starting center fielder in the American League. Just looking at names that were selected as reserves, Curtis Granderson stands out as a logical should-have-been. Just another instance in where the fans just plain got it wrong.
2011: Hometown Love?
In 2011, the Mid-Summer Classic was played in Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, it appears that the D-Backs faithful were silenced in the All-Star fan vote, as only two players from the Diamondbacks were selected to represent the National League, and neither of them were voted in to start.
Granted, Brian McCann's numbers may have warranted him to start at catcher over the hometown Miguel Montero. But Justin Upton was certainly qualified to earn a start in the game, as his numbers were at least on par, if not superior, than Matt Holliday's.
Upton, in the midst of his first (and so far only) 30-homer season, put together quite the first half. He hit .293 with 15 home runs and 46 RBI up until the break. Meanwhile, Holliday, while battling injuries, hit 14 home runs in 67 games played.
2012: Furcal over Desmond
Before 2012, Rafael Furcal was named to two All-Star Games in his 12-year career. The former Rookie of the Year has had an up-and-down career, filled with MVP-caliber seasons, and injury-shortened campaigns.
The 35-year-old Cardinal shortstop was named to his third All-Star Game in 2012, but it was the first time he was voted in by the fans as a starter. Well, with all due respect to Mr. Furcal, 2012 was the wrong year for his first All-Star start.
Instead, Ian Desmond was in the midst of a career-year in Washington. Through his first 82 games, Desmond smacked 17 home runs and even managed to swipe 11 bases. And while Furcal certainly had the defensive advantage, Desmond's offensive numbers were far more superior.
Even Starlin Castro of the Cubs deserved to start over Furcal, who hit just .275 in the first half.