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Yankees History: The years with nine All-Stars

With the Yankees getting six players onto the initial All-Star rosters, let’s look back at the years when they’ve put an entire lineup’s worth into the Midsummer Classic

Chicago Cubs v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

On Saturday, MLB announced the reserves and pitchers for the 2022 All-Star Game. Joining Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, who were previous announced as starters, will be Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, Clay Holmes, and Jose Trevino, giving the Yankees a total of six.

Six representatives is not a team record or anything, but it is a pretty fitting number for the first half the Yankees have had. Who knows? Maybe they even get one or two more via replacements in the next couple days. Either way, the six All-Stars they already have is the most since 2011, when they got eight, with David Robertson and CC Sabathia getting added as replacement players after the initial roster announcement.

While eight is a very high number of All-Stars, that too is not the record. On a few occasions, the Yankees have sent nine players to that year’s Midsummer Classic. Let’s dig into the history books and look back on those occasions.

The most recent time it’s happened was 1959. Now, you might expect the seasons where they’ve gotten that many players onto the All-Star team to be like this 2022 club: a great team that got off to a ridiculously good start to the season. However in 1959, the Yankees went into the All-Star break with just a 40-38 record.

Well, here’s the thing about the 1959 season: they played two All-Star games that year, one in Pittsburgh on July 7th and another in Los Angeles on August 3rd. The Yankees were represented by six players in each game with only Yogi Berra, Ryne Duren, and Mickey Mantle being selected for both games. Whitey Ford, Gil McDougald, and Bill Skowron took part in the first game in Pittsburgh, while Elston Howard, Tony Kubek, and Bobby Richardson played in the one in LA.

One of the times they did without a caveat was the year before in 1958. After a 48-25 first half that saw them open up an 11-game lead in the AL, nine Yankees were selected for that year’s game in Baltimore. Eight of the players would be the same as the prior year, with the lone exception of Richardson, who missed a decent chunk of time that season. The ninth in ‘58 was pitcher Bob Turley, who got the start in that year’s Midsummer Classic. Turley was not great, allowing all three of the NL’s runs, but McDougald drove home the eventual game-winning run in the sixth inning.

Before that, it had been a little while, with the next most recent time they got nine coming in 1947. That year, they reached nine thanks to a Yankee replacing a Yankee. Charlie Keller had originally made the roster, but he ended up playing his last game of the season in late June after dealing with injuries. His replacement ended up being fellow Yankee outfielder Tommy Henrich. He joined starters George McQuinn and Joe DiMaggio, who both started, plus pitchers, Spud Chandler, Joe Page, Spec Shea, catcher Aaron Robinson, and third baseman Billy Johnson.

In 1942, with the game at the cross-town Polo Grounds, the eventual 103-game winning Yankees reached nine All-Stars again. Joe Gordon, DiMaggio, Henrich, all starting, with Chandler getting nod on the mound. Tiny Bonham, Red Ruffing, Bill Dickey, Buddy Rosar, and Phil Rizzuto, in the first of his career, all made it on the bench. Notably, Dickey and Rosar were both of the Yankees’ catchers in ‘42. There can’t be too many instances of both the regular starter and the backup at the same position from one team making the ASG. It might’ve happened because Dickey didn’t end up playing in the game, but still. Chandler ended up being the game’s winning pitcher after starting with four scoreless innings.

The first time it even happened (and the last entry on our list) was in 1939, when the game was held at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The Yankees celebrated by again putting nine players on the roster, along with manager Joe McCarthy leading the AL. Six different Yankees started the game with Ruffing (pitcher), Dickey (catcher), Gordon (second base), Red Rolfe (third base), George Selkirk (left field), and DiMaggio (center field) all getting the nod. Lefty Gomez, Johnny Murphy, and Lou Gehrig also made it. However, it should be noted that Gehrig’s selection was more of a way to honor a legend, as he had already stopped playing a few months earlier after being diagnosed with ALS.

In the game, Yankees would be involved in all three runs the AL scored in a 3-1 win. Selkirk record an RBI single, DiMaggio homered, and an error was committed on an error a Gordon ground ball that led to another run. The 1939 All-Star Game was quite an eventful one for the Yankees.

It should be noted that all of these instances were before MLB really started to expand in 1961. Between the one player per team rule and just the general existence of more teams and more players vying for every spot, it would be quite something for a Yankees team to ever reach nine again.