LONG BEACH — Since the National Association was first formed in 1871, the state of California has produced nearly 2,000 major league players, by far the most among any state. As of 2011, the only other states to produce more than 1,000 MLB players are New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
So selecting an all-time all-star team of the best players hailing from Los Angeles and surrounding vicinities was bound to be one of the most competitive in the nation.
Traditionally, local SABR convention organizers have chosen an all-time all-star team of players from their region and revealed the list. This year, organizers opened the ballot to everyone after a ballot was carefully prepared by members of the Allan Roth Chapter. A total of 268 votes were received, and the results were revealed by outgoing SABR President Andy McCue — chair of the SABR 41 convention committee — during the Awards Luncheon on Saturday at the Long Beach Hilton.
The criteria for this year’s team was that the player had to attend high school in the Los Angeles area.
To see the complete voting summary for the team, click here.
Los Angeles Area All-Time All-Star Team (high school attended in parentheses)
- C: Gary Carter (Fullerton Sunny Hills)
- 1B: Eddie Murray (Los Angeles Locke)
- 2B: Jackie Robinson (Pasadena Muir Tech)
- 3B: George Brett (El Segundo)
- SS: Ozzie Smith (Los Angeles Locke)
- UT: Ron Fairly (Long Beach Jordan)
- OF: Tony Gwynn (Long Beach Poly)
- OF: Duke Snider (Compton)
- OF: Ralph Kiner (Alhambra)
- SP: Walter Johnson (Fullerton)
- SP: Don Drysdale (Van Nuys)
- RP: Rollie Fingers (Upland)
- MGR: Sparky Anderson (Los Angeles Dorsey)
- UMP: Emmett Ashford (Los Angeles Jefferson)
Almost every position included at least one Hall of Fame player — some had as many as five, depending on how active players fare in future elections — which led to some noteworthy omissions. Milwaukee Brewers great Robin Yount, who was on the ballot as a shortstop and outfielder, finished as a runner-up at both positions, trailing four different Hall of Famers. Bob Lemon, who won 20 games seven times for the Cleveland Indians, couldn’t even make the top three at starting pitcher, finishing behind Walter Johnson, Don Drysdale and 2011 HOF inductee Bert Blyleven.
The only player selected who is not currently in the Hall of Fame was All-Star outfielder Ron Fairly, who won three World Series with the Dodgers and hit 215 home runs over a 21-season career. He received 32.3 percent, beating out Brian Downing (22.7%), Don Buford (16.9%) and Todd Zeile (12.3%).
Jackie Robinson received the highest percentage of the vote at any playing position, garnering 70.0 percent over Bobby Doerr (12.4%), Bobby Grich (8.6%), Jeff Kent (4.5%) and Chase Utley (2.2%).
Other top vote-getters were catcher Gary Carter (65.8% over Lance Parrish and Mickey Owen); and first baseman Eddie Murray (61.7% over Mark McGwire, Mark Grace and Gavvy Cravath).
George Brett held off Eddie Mathews at the hot corner, earning 56.2 percent of the vote at third base. Shortstop was a three-way battle won by Ozzie Smith (45.5% over Yount and Arky Vaughan).
In the outfield, Tony Gwynn (74.3%) and Duke Snider (73.5%) were runaway winners, while Ralph Kiner (34.3%) edged out Yount, Fred Lynn and Bobby Bonds for the final spot.
At 46.4 percent, Rollie Fingers won the vote for the relief pitcher, topping Trevor Hoffman by nearly 50 votes.
Manager Sparky Anderson received the most votes overall (192, 72.2%), to beat out Dick Williams and Gene Mauch.
The major leagues’ first black umpire, Emmett Ashford, was picked to be the representative for that spot, squeezing past longtime National League arbiter Beans Reardon by 13 votes.
For more stories from SABR 41, click here.
— Jacob Pomrenke
Related: Check out the Magnolia Chapter’s All-Time Georgia-Born All-Star Team, as revealed at SABR 40 in Atlanta in August 2010.
Originally published: July 13, 2011. Last Updated: July 27, 2020.