Baseball history is littered with undeserving All-Star selections, due in large part to the rule that each team must be represented. In today's era of bloated all-star rosters, it's hard to imagine a good player playing his entire career without ever making an all-star team. Here are some of the best players to never make it to a mid-season classic.
Catcher- Cliff Johnson
This 15-year veteran had several seasons of 15 to 20 home runs in an era in which 20 homers actually meant something. He managed to accumulate two World Series rings, but no all-star appearances.
First Base- Eric Karros
Five seasons of 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBI, a Rookie of the Year award, a Silver Slugger, and a top-five finish in MVP voting, yet never even won a reserve position on an all-star roster.
Second Base- Delino DeShields
Among the top-50 base stealers in baseball history, DeShields had six seasons in which he stole 40 bases or more, two more in which he just fell short, and he never failed to reach double-digits in steals.
Shortstop- Tony Phillips
Despite more than 2,000 hits, 1,300 runs scored, and reaching base over 3,300 times, Phillips never made an all-star team. His versatility likely worked against him, as he generally played 140 or more games a season, but never settled into a single starting position. You know he's hating Omar Infante right now.
Third Base- Eric Chavez
Injuries derailed his career, but from 2001-2006, the Oakland third baseman won six Gold Gloves, averaged 28 homers and 96 RBI, and received MVP votes in four seasons, but apparently never had a strong enough first half to make an all-star roster.
Left Field- Lyman Bostock
Bostock was on his way to a stellar career when his life was cut tragically short after only four seasons in the majors. His lifetime batting average was .311 with double-digit stolen bases. In his breakout season of 1977, his third in the majors, he batted .336, drove in 90 runs, scored 104 runs, had 199 hits, with 36 doubles, 12 triples, 14 homers, and 16 stolen bases. But apparently, he was not deemed all-star worthy.
Center Field- Otis Nixon
More than 16,000 men have donned a Major League uniform. Fifteen of them have stolen more bases than Otis Nixon, who 11 times finished in the top-10 in stolen bases.
Right Field- Tim Salmon
I considered Kirk Gibson for this spot, but Salmon's career numbers are just a shade better. Salmon leads never-an-all-star players in home runs with 299. For his career, the Angels outfielder averaged 29 homers, 98 RBI, and 96 runs scored per 162 games played. He also was named Rookie of the Year, won a Silver Slugger, gained MVP votes in three seasons, and earned a World Series ring.
Pitcher- Mike Torrez
His 185 career wins is tops among never-all-stars. He was twice a 20-game winner, and helped lead the Yankees to the 1977 world championship, going 2-0 with two complete game victories.
That's my starting nine. Who are your choices?
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