Making an All-Star Game is one of the greatest honors in a baseball player’s career. Of course, every year debates rage over who unjustly made the game, and who unfairly got left out. It’s not unusual for players to be snubbed despite a big first half. But some players made a career of being snubbed; there are few players who, despite solid, at times spectacular careers, never made a single All-Star Game. Here are a few players who it seems should have made one ASG appearance at least by accident.
10. Todd Zeile
Zeile was good enough to hang around for a 16-year MLB career (253 home runs, .769 OPS), but two factors played against him becoming an All-Star. Unlike several other players on this list, Zeile never had a monster year. And the first baseman/third baseman was nomadic, playing for 11 different teams.
9. Pat Burrell
The outfielder had good pop (292 career home runs, .834 OPS). But he struck out at an alarming rate, 1,564 career Ks, so maybe that explains his lack of an invitation from the midsummer classic, despite a few big years, such as 2002 (37 HR, 116 RBI, .920 OPS).
8. Travis Hafner
The Indians designated hitter and first baseman had a relatively brief prime with four great seasons from 2004-2007. But you would think he would have been deserving of a nod based on reputation alone that fourth year after his 2006 season (42 home runs, 117 RBI and a league-leading 1.097 OPS.
7. Garry Maddox
Maddox was such a prolific defensive stud in centerfield for the 1970s Phillies, an old saying arose: “Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water — the other one-third is patrolled by Gary Maddox.” He won eight gold gloves, and in 1976, even hit .330 and finished fifth in the MVP voting. Despite his solid work one of baseball’s best teams of the 1970s, he never got the ASG nod.
6. Eric Chavez
A six-time Gold Glove winner at third for the Athletics, Chavez had triple-digits in RBIs four times and finished with a career .818 OPS and 37.4 WAR in 17 seasons.
5. John Tudor
The lefty pitched 12 years in the majors, with a 117-72 mark, 3.12 ERA and stingy 1.198 WHIP. But he won more than 13 games only once, in 1985 (21-8), when he seemed virtually unhittable, with a 1.93 ERA and a league-leading 0.938 WHIP and 10 shutouts. In case you’re wondering, he was 10-7, with a 2.27 ERA at the ASG break that year.
4. Tony Phillips
The versatile infielder/outfielder played 18 seasons — half of those with the Athletics — and finished with 2,023 career hits, a .763 OPS and 50.8 WAR. Those are solid numbers. One would think that, like those septuagenarian Hollywood actors who got shut out at the Oscars throughout their career but accept a “Lifetime Achievement Award,” Phillips would have been honored with a similar ASG nod late in his career. But it didn’t happen.
3. Kirk Gibson
The outfielder’s career stats are somewhat pedestrian (255 HR, 870 RBIs, .268 BA, .815 OPS). But everyone recalls or has seen replays of Gibson’s gimpy-leg, pinch-hit, game-winning home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. Fewer recall he won the NL MVP Award that season. Gibson declined an All-Star Game invitation that season, as he had in 1985 with the Tigers.
2. Danny Darwin
Darwin’s 1991 season stats with the Astros are quite impressive: he finished 11-4, and led the league in ERA (2.21) and WHIP (1.027). Three seasons later, he again led the league in WHIP, with a 15-11 mark and 3.26 ERA for the Red Sox. His career numbers are fine (171-182, 3.84 ERA, 1.268 WHIP). Yet he never made the midsummer classic. Truly baffling.
1. Tim Salmon
The 1993 AL Rookie of the Year finished seventh in the AL MVP voting twice, including in 1995, when he hit 34 home runs and slashed .330/.429/.594. He hit 299 career home runs, and his OPS of .884 is higher than a number of Hall of Famers who made it on their slugging ability.