Thanks to the size of the rosters and the one player per team rule, there are plenty of random players who have made an All-Star Game in their careers. Someone named Frankie Zak made it as a rookie in 1944. He played 36 games total in the rest of his career after that season.
Yet there are some genuinely good, or even great, players that somehow just never were selected. In some cases, it may be that their career was filled with decent seasons that added up to a good career, but never had one good enough to break into an All-Star team. In other cases, it’s just that their good seasons were either just not quite enough, or were wrongly missed by the various voters.
For example, did you know Eric Chavez never made an All-Star team? From 2001-2004, Chavez put up over 20 WAR, hit over 100 total home runs, and hit .280/.357/.517. He somehow wasn’t an All-Star in any of those years, and after that went into decline. He of course had a brief renaissance with the Yankees near the end of his career, but he was bench player at that point, and naming him an All-Star then would have been a stretch.
Chavez never made an All-Star team. However, if you had asked me before doing research for this pieces how many ASGs he made in the early 2000s, I would have guessed two.
Like Chavez, there are some longer term Yankees that arguably could have been All-Stars, but just never wound up with a spot on the team.
We all know what happened that prevented Wang from continuing on the path as a high-level pitcher. However, before that happened, he somehow never got a chance in the Midsummer Classic.
He put up worthy numbers in 2006 and 2007, but missed out both years. In ‘06, he finished high in Cy Young voting, but his numbers in the second half were what really propped up his season. Him not making it in 2007 seems inexcusable. He had the wins and the ERA for the old-school stat fans, so it’s pretty surprising he fell short. Despite being just 27 at that point, his realistic chances at making it were gone less than two years later.
According to Baseball Reference, the pitcher with the most WAR as a Yankee to have never made an ASG is El Duque, with 19.1 WAR. He debuted a little too late to make it in his rookie season, which is where he put up his best numbers. He also missed time in his other excellent seasons, so there’s no obvious year where he should have made it. It does seem a bit weird just thinking about the player El Duque that he never made an All-Star team.
This is just your annual reminder that Kuroda should have been an All-Star in 2013. Him missing out that year most likely cost him his best shot at it, and the next year was his final season in the US.
The position player that gets the El Duque award for most WAR as a Yankees with no ASG berths is Boyer, at 19.6 WAR. There’s no obvious year that he was clearly snubbed, but there are plenty of solid players that break through one year. Boyer just never did.
Yes, Didi is now solidly on this list. After the April he had this year he looked right on track, but the drop-off in May was just too steep. He’s only 28, and has now at least been in the conversation for two years. Hopefully, there’s still time for him.
The highest number of at-bats he ever got in a season with the Yankees was 384, so playing time was an issue. However in two stints across seven seasons with the team, these were Gamble’s OPS+ final tallies: 118, 218, 158, 131, 150, 128, and 112.
I’m not including the other Chavez-like people who had good careers but their best years weren’t with the Yankees. Other examples include Earl Torgeson and Elmer Valo, who both have at least one season that seems All-Star worthy prior to their careers in the Bronx.
Also not included are people who played prior to the All-Star Game’s existence. Plenty of them would have made it if it were a thing during their careers, obviously.
In the six players listed here, we have players that, for whatever reason, never got a chance in the Midsummer Classic. While they don’t have that distinction on their Baseball Reference or Wikipedia page, they’re all memorable nonetheless.