The All-Star Game is coming up in just a couple days, and while it feels weird considering the season they’ve had, several Yankees will be representing the team in Denver. In honor of the game, let’s go back in time and go through the best performances by Yankees All-Stars in the contest itself, and like the game is supposed to do, choose the best at every position.
Catcher: Yogi Berra (1959)
There aren’t a ton of obvious options at catcher. There’s a couple multi-hit games, but none of them were so much better that they get in over Berra’s performance in the second All-Star Game in 1959. In a 1-1 game in the third inning, Berra hit a two-run home run off Don Drysdale, giving the AL a lead they would never relinquish.
First Base: Lou Gehrig (1937)
In terms of Win Probability Added, the most impactful performance by any Yankee hitter in All-Star Game history came from Gehrig in 1937. On that day, Gehrig went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. His home run came in the third inning and opened the game’s scoring. His other two RBI came on a sixth-inning double that took the game to it’s eventual 8-3 final score, despite Gehrig getting thrown out trying to advance to third.
Second Base: Alfonso Soriano (2002)
Soriano’s home run off Eric Gagne, who was in the first year of his incredible three-year stretch, continued the AL’s comeback after falling behind 4-0. The AL eventually did come back and take the lead, only to lose it as the 2002 game quite famously finished in a 7-7 tie (and a Bud Selig shrug). Just think, if Soriano hadn’t homered, maybe the AL loses outright and we don’t have to deal with the All-Star Game deciding home field advantage in the World Series for several years.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter (2000)
There’s only a handful of three-hit All-Star Games in Yankees’ history and two belong to Jeter. The better of the two performances came in 2000. He went a perfect 3-for-3, including a fourth-inning double that scored two runs and broke a 1-1 tie. The AL never trailed again and Jeter’s was named MVP for his efforts, the first Yankees player to earn the honor.
Third Base: Red Rolfe (1937)
The 1937 ASG was a Yankee heavy edition. In addition to what Gehrig aforementioned exploits, Lefty Gomez was the AL’s starting and winning pitcher. Joe DiMaggio recorded a hit and a walk, Bill Dickey added an RBI, all while Rolfe was in the leadoff spot for the AL. The Yankees’ third baseman went 2-4 with a walk, two RBI, and scored two runs. Weirdly, despite their spots in the batting order, he wasn’t the one who scored on either of Gehrig’s RBI hits.
Left Field: Aaron Judge (2018)
Judge got the scoring started with a home run off Max Scherzer in the second inning of the 2018 game. He followed that up by drawing a walk in his second plate appearance of the day. Neither instance ended up playing a decisive role as the game went to extra innings, but it was still a nice little game from Judge. Oh, and yes, he was playing in left field as Mookie Betts and Mike Trout were in right and center respectively.
Center Field: Joe DiMaggio (1949)
DiMaggio drove in three as he went 2-for-4 with a double and a single in 1949. He opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first inning as the AL grabbed a 4-0 lead to start the game. In the sixth, the NL had gotten back within a run when he stepped up to the plate again. This time, he hit a two-RBI double, with his brother, Dom, plating one of the runs. That hit ended up being the difference, as it pushed across the AL’s eighth run in an eventual 11-7 win.
Right Field: Dave Winfield (1983)
The only non-Jeter Yankee with a three-hit ASG is Winfield, who did it in 1983. He had a double and two singles, driving home one run and scoring twice himself as the AL crushed the NL 13-3 behind Angels outfielder Fred Lynn, who belted the only grand slam in All-Star Game history.
Designated Hitter: None
So no Yankee has appeared as the DH in an All-Star Game as of yet. Luckily we won’t need one considering the hitting performance of our pitcher.
Starting Pitcher: Vic Raschi (1948)
Raschi entered the game for the AL in fourth inning with the game tied at two. He went on to throw three shutout innings, allowing just three hits (all singles) and a walk. However, that was only part of his day. In the bottom of the fourth, the pitcher’s spot in the lineup was due up, and Raschi came to the plate with the bases loaded. He singled to left, driving home two runs and giving the AL their first lead of the day. Raschi’s hit ended up being the decisive one as he and Joe Coleman blanked the NL for the rest of the game. Raschi arguably played the most important role in both aspects of the game for the AL that day.
Relief Pitcher: Mariano Rivera (2008)
Rivera is actually a former All-Star Game MVP, taking home the award in his final season of 2013. While he did throw a scoreless inning, his winning of the award was probably a more sentimental honor, as it came in a game with no obvious slam-dunk choice. His best performance in an ASG came five years before that.
The old Yankee Stadium hosted the game in 2008 in its own swan song, and a hometown player played a starring role. After Francisco Rodríguez walked the leadoff man in the top of the ninth, Rivera was brought in with one out. He promptly got a double play against the first batter he faced to get out of the inning. Rivera followed that up by getting another one in the 10th, again keeping the NL off the board. That kept the AL alive and allowed them to eventually win in 15 innings.