With the Yankees currently hovering near the top of the standings, you should expect them to have a number of All-Stars when the teams are unveiled in a couple days. It wouldn’t be the first time; considering the team’s history, it’s no surprise the Yankees have often had multiple selections. In some of those cases, the players weren’t exactly deserving, and in others, a deserving player did not have a great showing on the game’s big stage.
Joe DiMaggio (1936)
DiMaggio is obviously an all-time legend, and deserved to be an All-Star in his first season. However, his first All-Star Game appearance left something to be desired. The 21-year old rookie got put right into the three hole in 1936, and it didn’t go great.
He grounded into an inning-ending double play in his first at bat. He stranded a runner each in both of his next two plate appearances. In his fourth, the AL trailed by just one run with the bases loaded, when DiMaggio lined out to end the seventh inning. To cap things off, he made the final out of the game, leaving the tying run stuck at second, as the NL won 4-3. In terms of winning percentage added, it was the worst performance by a Yankee hitter in All-Star Game history.
Phil Hughes (2010)
Hughes made the AL All-Star team in 2010 almost exclusively because of pitching wins. He wasn’t bad in the first half of that season, but the 11-2 record was his most convincing argument, even though pitching wins are a flawed stat.
The Yankees’ starter was brought in for the seventh inning, with the AL hanging on to a 1-0 lead. He got Joey Votto to ground out to start the inning, but then allowed singles to Scott Rolen and Matt Holliday. Hughes was removed after that, but both of those runners would end up scoring against future Yankee legend Matt Thornton. Not entirely his fault, but after a half season filled with wins, Hughes was the losing pitcher that day, and went on to have a rough second half of the year.
Goose Gossage (1978)
Gossage came into the eighth inning of a tied game in 1978. He left it after this.
Luckily for the Yankees, he was quite a bit better on the mound for them that season.
Bobby Richardson (1965)
Richardson made his mark with the Yankees as an outstanding defensive second baseman. I sure hope that was still the case in 1965, because his offense was a bit lacking that season.
Richardson was penciled into the first or second slot all but three games in the 1965 season. He hit .247/.287/.322, all well below average marks, racking up over 700 plate appearances. FanGraphs and Baseball Reference respectively list his WAR’s for this season as -0.5 and -1.0.
Funnily enough, he actually put up worse hitting numbers in his first All-Star season in 1957. However, his spent most of that season hitting in the back half of the order, so the poor hitting wouldn’t have had as much as an adverse effect. Plus, his defense was probably better when he was 21.
Derek Jeter (2010)
When you’re done getting mad and pelting me with trash, we can be reasonable about how several of Jeter’s later ASG appearances were on reputation more than actual merit. As long as the All-Star Game is a fan vote, I personally have no issues with it being a popularity contest as opposed to just a list of the best players in a season. However, if we’re going to act like it’s the best players, we should acknowledge that some people make it on reputation.
Jeter was a below average hitter in 2010. His fielding also wasn’t great, despite somehow winning the Gold Glove this season. His 2014 ASG appearance made sense given that it was his final season. That’s fine. Him making it in 2010 is less excusable.
Ryne Duren (1961)
Duren was technically not a Yankee All-Star in 1961, as he had been traded in May of that year. However, I’m including him because his selection seems baffling.
He first came to prominence as a Yankees’ bullpen piece in 1958 after coming over from the Athletics. He deservedly finished second in Rookie of the Year voting, while also getting MVP votes in that first season with the Yankees. He was an All-Star that year, and made another All-Star team the following year, in the midst of an even better season. However, Duren struggled in 1960, and his walks per nine innings ballooned to 9.0.
His struggles continued into the 1961 season, and he was shipped off to the Angels after putting up an ERA over five in just five innings. So, if he made the All-Star team, he probably got back on track out west, right? Well no, not really. He went into the All-Star break with a 4.98 ERA in 59.2 innings.
I suppose it was a reputation selection, but at that point, he had been bad for 1.5 seasons of the 4.5 he had been in the majors. In his final game before the break that season, he walked five hitters in four innings.
Duren did not pitch in the All-Star Game that season, and never made another.
If there’s another bad performance or strange selection that you can recall from Yankees’ history, feel free to share them.