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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Originally published: July 5, 2011. Last Updated: July 5, 2011.