Greatest Players Never Invited to the All-Star Game

From SABR member Christina Kahrl at on July 5:

In settling who’s in and who’s out of this year’s All-Star Game, it’s worth wondering about the players who always wound up on the outside looking in, no matter how distinguished their careers might have been. ... Perhaps if this crew of unfortunates were ever assembled onto one roster, you could nominate Kirk Gibson to be the team’s player-manager. The man won an MVP award with the Dodgers in 1988 after all, and he delivered a couple of the most famous World Series home runs of the past 30 years -- the first a decisive, back-breaking blow for the Tigers in Game 5 of the 1984 World Series off Hall of Famer Goose Gossage; the second, an immortal shot coming off Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the ’88 Series.

So it might seem more than a little surprising that Gibby never got to participate in an All-Star Game as a player. A number of obvious factors contributed. First, as a corner outfielder, he was always just one more very good player in a very crowded field. Second, he didn’t exactly have an effortless rise to the top -- when Gibby finally became a star in ’84 (in his age-27 season), that was after he’d been knocking around in a Tigers uniform for years.


You can also look at these so-called Uninvited by straightforward statistical criteria. Take Todd Zeile, a contributor to four different playoff teams, all of which had the distinction of losing to the Yankees -- the ’96 Orioles in the LCS, the ’98 and ’99 Rangers in the LDS, and the 2000 Mets in the World Series. Per Elias Sports Bureau, in the All-Star game era there have been 97 players with 250 career home runs and 2,000 hits, and Zeile is the only one who did not make an All-Star game.

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This page was last updated July 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm MST.