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Meet the all-time AL All-Stars

7/10/2009 - MLB


Today we're back with our all-time American League All-Stars. In case you missed the National League stars, there are some rules. I had to:

• Construct a 33-man roster for each team, just like today's (pointlessly expanded) All-Star rosters;

• Choose at least one player from every team in every city: at least one Baltimore Oriole and at least one St. Louis Brown; at least one Oakland Athletic and at least one Kansas City Athletic (which wasn't easy) and at least one Philadelphia Athletic. Oh, and both versions of the Washington Senators: the version that left for Minnesota in 1961, and the version that left for Texas in 1972;

• Pick players who were All-Stars and had great seasons while with the team in question since the All-Star Game began in 1933;

• And, for the AL team, select at least one DH, since it's been included in the All-Star Game since 1989.

Otherwise, the only rules are that there aren't any rules. If I want Satchel Paige on my All-Star team, I'm going to have Satchel Paige on my All-Star team.

CATCHERS

Yogi Berra, New York Yankees (1954)

• All-Star Games: 18 (1948-62)
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1972

Yogi took his second (of three) MVP awards even though his Yankees -- for the first time since '48 -- didn't win the pennant.

Bill Freehan, Detroit Tigers (1968)

• All-Star Games: 11 (1964-73, '75)
• Hall of Fame: Not inducted

Freehan's greatness is mostly lost among the gaudy pitching stats of the 1960s, but the 11-time All-Star did finish second in MVP voting.

Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (2006)

• All-Star Games: 3 (2006, '08-09)
• Hall of Fame: Active

Nobody told Mauer that catchers aren't supposed to win batting titles, so he did it … and then he did it again two years later.


FIRST BASEMEN

Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees (1934)

• All-Star Games: 7 (1933-39)
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1939

This might not have been his greatest season, but in '34 Gehrig won the batting title and with it his only Triple Crown.

Don Mincher, Seattle Pilots (1969)

• All-Star Games: 2 (1967, '69)
• Hall of Fame: Not inducted

Surprisingly, the one-year Pilots had two All-Stars: Mincher and OF Mike Hegan. Mincher played more; Hegan hit more. You choose.

Norm Siebern, Kansas City A's (1962)

• All-Star Games: 4 (1962-64)
• Hall of Fame: Not inducted

An awful team's best player, and in '62 the three-time All-Star set K.C. records for home runs, RBIs, walks and runs scored.


SECOND BASEMEN

Roberto Alomar, Cleveland Indians (1999)

• All-Star Games: 12 (1990-2001)
• Hall of Fame: Not eligible until 2010

Alomar played in 12 straight All-Star Games for three teams. It's not easy to select his greatest season, but we needed an Indian.

Charlie Gehringer, Detroit Tigers (1934)

• All-Star Games: 6 (1933-38 )
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1949

Not easy picking the Mechanical Man's greatest season, but he led AL with 134 runs and played brilliant defense.

Bobby Grich, California Angels (1979)

• All-Star Games: 6 (1972, '74, '76, 79, '80, '82)
• Hall of Fame: Not inducted

After two injury-plagued seasons, Grich exploded -- with some great defense besides -- to help Angels earn first-ever postseason berth.


SHORTSTOPS

Derek Jeter, New York Yankees (1999)

• All-Star Games: 10 (1998-2002, '04, '06-09)
• Hall of Fame: Active

Phil Rizzuto's 1950 season was probably better, but Jeter's about to play in his 10th All-Star Game … and he's just getting started!

Alex Rodriguez, Texas Rangers (2001)

• All-Star Games: 12 (1996-98, 2000-08)
• Hall of Fame: Active

OK, so he might have had a little help. Nobody seemed to be complaining much when he set HR record for shortstops … twice.

Robin Yount, Milwaukee Brewers (1982)

• All-Star Games: 3 (1980, '82-83)
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1999

Oddly, the Hall of Famer made only three All-Star teams, including '82 when he led AL in hits, doubles and slugging, and won MVP.


THIRD BASEMEN

Wade Boggs, Boston Red Sox (1987)

• All-Star Games: 12 (1985-96)
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2005

If Boggs could have hit 20+ homers every season, he might have been the greatest third baseman ever, rather than just a Hall of Famer.

George Brett, Kansas City Royals (1985)

• All-Star Games: 13 (1976-88)
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1999

Sure, he almost batted .400 in '80 … but in '85 he was healthy all season, won a Gold Glove, and led Royals to only championship.

Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays (2009)

• All-Star Games: 2 (2008-09)
• Hall of Fame: Active

Perhaps it's a bit premature, but if Longoria's healthy for the rest of the season he's going to have the best season a Ray's ever had.


OUTFIELDERS

Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees (1941)

• All-Star Games: 13 (1936-42, '46-51)
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1955

Right or wrong, the MVP voters in '41 chose DiMaggio's 56-game streak ahead of Teddy Ballgame's .406 batting average.

Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle Mariners (1997)

• All-Star Games: 13 (1990-2000, '04, '07)
• Hall of Fame: Active

Griffey's 112 homers in '97 and '98 constitute the best two-season run since Babe Ruth … among non-cheaters, anyway.

Frank Howard, Washington Senators (1968)

• All-Star Games: 4 (1968-71)
• Hall of Fame: Not inducted

In the Year of the Pitcher, the Capital Punisher led AL in homers and slugging percentage while driving in 106 for last-place team.

Rickey Henderson, Oakland A's (1990)

• All-Star Games: 10 (1980, '82-88, '90-91)
• Hall of Fame: Elected in 2009

The best leadoff man's best season: 28 homers and 65 steals and MLB-best .439 on-base percentage.

Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees (1956)

• All-Star Games: 20 (1952-65, '67-68)
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1974

It's not easy picking his best season, but this was Mickey's favorite, perhaps because of the Triple Crown and his first MVP award.

Babe Ruth, New York Yankees (1933)

• All-Star Games: 2 (1933-34)
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1936

Sure, by '33 Ruth was slow and fat and couldn't play defense at all. But he's the Babe, and he hit the first homer in All-Star history.

Roy Sievers, Washington Senators (1957)

• All-Star Games: 5 (1956-57, '59, '61)
• Hall of Fame: Not inducted

Sievers was a really good hitter who played brilliantly in '57, acing out stars like Mantle and Williams to lead AL in homers and RBI.

Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox (1941)

• All-Star Games: 19 (1940-42, '46-51, '53-60)
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1966

Sure, he might have had slightly better seasons, but it's hard to leave the last .400 hitter off any sort of All-Star team.


DESIGNATED HITTER

Edgar Martinez, Seattle Mariners (1995)

• All-Star Games: 7 (1992, '95-97, 2000-01, '03)
• Hall of Fame: Not eligible until 2010

He played 162 games, won a batting title, got on base nearly half the time, and crushed the Yankees in the playoffs.


PITCHERS

Lefty Grove, Philadelphia A's (1933)

• All-Star Games: 6 (1933, '35-39)
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1947

Grove's last season with A's wasn't his best, but '33 was the first All-Star Game and he saved the AL's victory with 3 shutout innings.

Roger Clemens, Toronto Blue Jays (1997)

• All-Star Games: 11 (1986, '88, '90-92, '97-98, 2001, '03-05)
• Hall of Fame: Not eligible until 2013

After three subpar (for him) seasons with Red Sox, Rocket became a Jay and promptly won pitcher's Triple Crown and fourth Cy Young.

Ron Guidry, New York Yankees (1978)

• All-Star Games: 4 (1978-79, '82-83)
• Hall of Fame: Not inducted

Guidry's ERA was the lowest of the DH-era American League until Pedro Martinez bested him by a single earned run 22 years later.

Pedro Martinez, Boston Red Sox (2000)

• All-Star Games: 8 (1996-2000, '02, '05-06)
• Hall of Fame: Unsigned

Yes, he was robbed of the MVP in 1999 … but he pitched even better in 2000, with (among other things) an impossible H/9 ratio.

Satchel Paige, St. Louis Browns (1952)

• All-Star Games: 2 (1952-53)
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1971

Baseball's premier showman debuted in the majors two days after 42nd birthday, and took his first All-Star bow one day after his 45th.

Jim Palmer, Baltimore Orioles (1975)

• All-Star Games: 6 (1970-72, '75, '77-78)
• Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1990

Palmer's 10 shutouts in '75 remain the most in the AL since 1964; grabbed Cy Young honors for second of three times in four years.

Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees (2008)

• All-Star Games: 10 (1997, '99-2002, '04-06, '08-09)
• Hall of Fame: Active

So far, there's absolutely no reason to believe that Rivera won't keep humming along into his 40s, and then … well, who knows?

Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins (2006)

• All-Star Games: 4 (2005-07, '09)
• Hall of Fame: Active

We're tempted to give Bert Blyleven this spot, if only to boost his Cooperstown chances … but Bert never dominated quite like this.

Wilbur Wood, Chicago White Sox (1972)

• All-Star Games: 3 (1971-72, '74)
• Hall of Fame: Not inducted

Extra innings? Wood and his knuckleball are all you need; from 1971 through '75 he averaged 45 starts and 21 wins per season.