I wrote this piece for another website last year but I thought I would share it with everyone to get your responses and thoughts in honor of the 83rd All-Star Game. By the end of my research on MLB player’s All-Star Game batting averages I was surprised with the information that I found. Enjoy.
There’s an age old debate about how certain MLB position players fair against top notch starting pitching. Who owned who? Some players have made a Hall of Fame career off of beating up on the third, fourth, and fifth guys in a pitching rotation.
Even worse, some guys beat up on bullpen pitchers and get called great for doing so. How many times have you heard “so and so” has a great batting average from the seventh inning on? This has been translated into clutch hitting instead of hitting against a relief pitcher that didn’t make the teams starting rotation or taking advantage of a guy that has thrown for three or four days in a row.
The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game played on July 12th showed that not all All-Stars are All-Stars when playing against the best of the best. Here’s a list of great position players that did not fair well when playing against their All-Star contemporaries.
Hammerin’ Hank had a career .194 all-star batting average in 67 at-bats. Over the course of 17 years Mr. Aaron was selected to the All-Star Game 25 times. From 1959 to 1962 MLB had two all-star games in each season; funds raised from the second all-star game went towards the player’s pension fund. The former homerun king only had two dingers in those 67 at-bats.
The Wizard of Oz was better known for his glove than his bat, which is a good thing considering his all-star batting average of .148. Ozzie had 15 selections 27 at bats and 4 hits. Let’s hope his all-star fielding average was better. Mr. Smith went to Cooperstown in 2002.
Paul Molitor’s 21 year career and career .306 batting average didn’t translate to all-star success. In seven invites to the all-star game, “Molly” had a career .125 batting average in the mid-season classic. The 2004 Hall of Fame inductee only had 1 hit in 8 at bats.
The career Chicago Cubs second baseman and current AAA manager for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, a Philadelphia Phillies affiliate, Cubs had an all-star career batting average of .115 in 10 all-star selections. Ryno had 3 hits in 26 at bats. Sandberg was admitted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Maybe it’s a prerequisite to being a head skipper for the Dodgers? Or maybe the greats just have bad games, either way add Mattingly to the list. Don Mattingly was selected to 6 all-star games and batted .111. An average of .111 for Mattingly translates to 1 hit in 9 at bats.
The 1971 NL MVP and NL batting champion (.363) and head skipper of the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers wouldn’t be the best person to give all-star batting tips. In 9 all-star selections Torre batted .095, that’s 2 hits in 21 at bats. Ouch!
“Steady Eddie” was an 8 time all-star and a 2003 Hall of Fame selection. His 11 plate appearances yielded only 1 hit giving him a .091 all-star batting average. That must be a bitter pill for a player with 3,255 career hits.
It’s a Family Thing
Neither Brett nor Aaron, will ever be in the Hall of Fame, but the Boone name is baseball royalty and neither can give the other one a hard time around the dinner table over their all-star success… because neither one had any. The Boone Brothers combined for 4 all-star appearances (Brett 3), 5 at bats (Brett 4), and zero hits.
Regarded as one of the best third basemen to ever play the game, this 1978 Hall of Famer has the second worst all-star career in MLB history. In 12 all-star games Matthews had 4 hits in 25 Abs for a .080 average.
Mr. Biggio is not in the Hall yet, but the 3,060 career hits he had while playing for the Houston Astros will make him a shoe-in. In 7 all-star selections, 15 ABs, Biggio had one hit giving him a .067 average.
Notable Bad Averages of Other Great Players
Roger Maris .105
Pee Wee Reese .118
Barry Larkin .111
Edgar Martinez .167
Barry Bonds .194
The Best of the Best
Frank Thomas .800
Ken Griffey Jr. .440
Derek Jeter .435
Steve Garvey .393
Will Clark .385
Dave Winfield .361
Johnny Bench .357
Jackie Robinson .333
Babe Ruth .333
Roberto Clemente .323
Wade Boggs .321
Willie Mays .307
Ernie Banks .303
Ted Williams. 304
George Brett .292