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Color by Numbers: Stars and Pinstripes

The 2011 midseason classic had more luminaries than the night sky over the Arizona desert. In total, 84 different players were designated as All Stars, but the no shows wound up garnering more attention. In particular, Derek Jeter’s decision to skip the game caused quite a stir. A week earlier, Jeter’s selection was widely criticized as being undeserved, but after the future Hall of Famer joined the 3,000 hit club in grand fashion, it seemed as if the entire country was clamoring for his appearance in Arizona. Apparently, Minka Kelly held greater sway.

Jeter wasn’t the only Yankee to ditch his American League teammates. In fact, of the five selected players who didn’t make the trip to Chase Field, four were Bronx Bombers. Between Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Alex Rodriguez, and C.C. Sabathia, the American League was forced to do without over 276 career wins above replacement, so, when this year’s World Series begins in a National League ballpark, you know who to blame. Those damn Yankees!

If not for the no shows, the Yankees would have almost been able to field their own All Star team in Arizona. Not since the franchise earned nine selections in 1958 did the Yankees have more players honored with an all star invitation, so even with the absences, the Bronx Bombers were still well represented.

Yankees’ All Star Selections by Year

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Since the inaugural All Star Game in 1933, the Yankees have had 121 (71 position players and 50 pitchers) different representatives account for 406 (282 position players and 124 pitchers) total selections, the most of any team. However, the quintessential Yankees’ All Star was Mickey Mantle. Remarkably, the Mick was selected to the play in the midseason classic during every season of his career but the first. In total, Mantle represented the Yankees in an AL record 20 All Star Games. You can just imagine how many he would have liked to skip, especially when you consider he was only on the winning side five times.

Yankees’ All Stars Ranked by Total Selections and Games Started By Postion

Player Selections   Po. Player Starts
Mickey Mantle 20 C Yogi Berra 11
Yogi Berra 18 1B Lou Gehrig 5
Joe DiMaggio 13 2B Willie Randolph 4
Derek Jeter 12 3B Alex Rodriguez 5
Elston Howard 12 SS Derek Jeter 7
Mariano Rivera 12 LF Several 1
Bill Dickey 11 CF Mickey Mantle 12
Whitey Ford 10 RF Dave Winfield 5
Dave Winfield 8 P Lefty Gomez 5
Bobby Richardson 8

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Although Mickey Mantle was the most tenured Yankees’ All Star, his midseason line of .233/.365/.372 suggests he was far from the most prolific. Instead, that distinction belongs to none other than Derek Jeter. In 11 games played encompassing 25 plate appearances, Jeter has batted .435/.458/.608, a level of performance just a notch above fellow Yankee Captain Lou Gehrig. What’s more, the shortstop is the only Yankee to ever be named the All Star MVP (2000). I guess Jeter really could have made a difference had he decided to play in this year’s game?

Top Yankees’ All Star Position Players, Ranked by OPS

Derek Jeter 12 25 5 10 1 3 0.435 0.458 0.609 1.067
Lou Gehrig 7 24 4 4 2 5 0.222 0.417 0.611 1.028
Dave Winfield 8 27 4 9 0 1 0.360 0.407 0.560 0.967
Bill Dickey 11 23 3 5 0 1 0.263 0.391 0.368 0.760
Mickey Mantle 20 52 5 10 2 4 0.233 0.365 0.372 0.737
Joe DiMaggio 13 43 7 9 1 6 0.225 0.279 0.350 0.629
Yogi Berra 18 43 5 8 1 3 0.195 0.233 0.268 0.501
Roger Maris 6 21 2 2 0 2 0.118 0.250 0.176 0.426

Note: Includes all players with at least 20 PAs.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Among pitchers, Mariano Rivera’s 12 All Star selections are tops in franchise history. In eight appearances, the immortal closer has not surrendered a run while recording a record four All Star Game saves. Lefty Gomez is another Yankees’ all star record holder. Not only are Gomez’ three wins unmatched in All Star history, but his five starts are tied with Don Drysdale for most all time.

On the other end of the spectrum is Whitey Ford. Like his best buddy Mantle, the Chairman of the Board didn’t exactly shine at All Star time. Ford and Mantle were known to have a good time or two when together, so, although their performance in the game wasn’t stellar, you can bet they made up for it during the rest of the break.

Top Yankees’ All Star Pitchers, Ranked by ERA

Mariano Rivera 8 0 0 8 5 1 0 5 4 0.00
Vic Raschi 4 1 0 11 7 3 3 8 1 2.45
Lefty Gomez 5 3 1 18 11 6 5 9 0 2.50
M. Stottlemyre 4 0 1 6 5 3 2 4 0 3.00
Allie Reynolds 2 0 1 5 3 2 2 2 0 3.60
Whitey Ford 6 0 2 12 19 13 11 5 0 8.25
Red Ruffing 3 0 1 7 13 7 7 6 0 9.00

Note: Includes all pitchers with at least five innings pitched
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Based on past performance, it’s easy to see why so many fans were eager to have Jeter and Rivera make an appearance at Chase Field. Among all their other accomplishments, the future Hall of Famers are also two of most successful All Star performers. Then again, maybe it was time to give someone else a chance to shine? Jeter and Rivera have always been very charitable, so perhaps their absence was a gesture of goodwill? Let’s just hope they aren’t as generous in October.

Categories:  1: Featured  2010s  Baseball  Bronx Banter  Yankees

Tags:  color by numbers  william j

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1 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 14, 2011 10:53 am

Wonderful stuff, man. Wow, Bobby Richardson, 8 times, huh?

2 a.O   ~  Jul 14, 2011 10:58 am

Is that the Ray's logo in the picture?

3 ms october   ~  Jul 14, 2011 11:20 am

really interesting post william.

20 times for mantle is pretty crazy.

4 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 14, 2011 11:24 am

I may be in the minority here, but I kinda like the fact that our ASG contingent was Martin, Cano, Granderson, and Robertson...it was fun to have some fresh faces out there. Look at how big a kick they were getting out of Cano during the derby the other night, that was good to see.

5 RIYank   ~  Jul 14, 2011 12:05 pm

Hang on, are you sure about the 20 for Mantle? Because he only played in 18 MLB seasons. Am I missing something?

6 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 14, 2011 12:15 pm

And 12 for Ellie Howard.

7 Bobtaco   ~  Jul 14, 2011 12:57 pm

@5 RIYank - Mantle may have played at the tail end of the era in which they had two All Star Games per year, one for the first half and one for the second...

8 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 14, 2011 1:05 pm

[7] Smack in the middle of it, actually. It was '59-'62.

Ford and Berra and Richardson may also have benefited from the two ASG/year situation.

9 RIYank   ~  Jul 14, 2011 1:07 pm

[7] Ah!
That's almost right -- but it looks like (I just checked Baseball Almanac) it wasn't really for the two halves of the season. The two games were sometimes almost back-to-back, and there was just one roster for the two games.
So, I guess Mantle played in 20 games, though really he was only selected 16 times.

10 a.O   ~  Jul 14, 2011 1:14 pm

[9] Hey, great idea. Maybe they should make the All-Star extravaganza a three-game series. That's more fair to the respective leagues anyway. You know, since it "counts" now. The HR Derby can double as BP for all three games. And then maybe they wouldn't feel obligated to manage it like a t-ball game.

11 William J.   ~  Jul 14, 2011 1:53 pm

[9] With the exception of 1960, the two games were spaced out by several weeks and the rosters weren't necessarily the same. There are several players who were only selected for one of the two games (Billy Pierce in 1959 and 1961 is an example).

12 William J.   ~  Jul 14, 2011 1:55 pm

Incidentally, because the chart above alternates labels on the x-axis, you can't readily tell that there two games from 1959 to 1962, but they are included.

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