While not all of them will play, with at least six players in the game, the Yankees stand a decent chance of having a player named All-Star Game MVP in a couple days in LA. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton probably have the best chance. Not only are they starting, but both are capable of crushing a big, multi-run home run that provides the difference in an AL win.
Over the years, just two Yankees have won All-Star Game MVP: Derek Jeter in 2000 and Mariano Rivera in 2013. In some regards that’s a little shocking considering all the great players that have represented the Bombers in the Midsummer Classic. But a big reason for that is that the award has only existed since 1962. There were nearly 30 years of All-Star Games without the award, and dozens of great Yankees who never even got a chance.
With that in mind, let’s go back through those years and try and figure out which Yankees would have won All-Star Game MVPs if they had the chance.
(Note: We’re going to stick with games the American League won. While there have been occasions where a losing player has won All-Star Game MVP, it’s pretty rare. Looking through the close AL losses, there was maybe one where a Yankee would’ve merited consideration, but probably lost. Also despite the headline, we’re not relitigating years when a Yankee could’ve or should’ve won MVP but lost it to another player. That’s a different discussion.)
The very first official All-Star Game featured a bunch of Yankees, and two in particular would’ve had a decent case for MVP. Babe Ruth went 2-4, driving in two runs on his third inning home run. The homer proved the difference, as it made it 3-0 in a game the AL eventually won 4-2. The other is pitcher Lefty Gomez, who started and gave the AL three scoreless innings, and also drove home the game’s first run at the plate. However, if we have to pick one, it would probably be Ruth.
Gomez would’ve had another argument for it two years later when he pitched six innings, allowing one run. However, he might’ve been beaten out by Jimmie Foxx, who went 2-3 with three RBI in a 4-1 AL win.
Hey, it’s Gomez again! For a third time in five years, he had a case, starting the game with three, one-hit innings. Once again though, a Yankee teammate probably would’ve gotten it instead. Lou Gehrig went 2-4 with a home run and four RBI as the AL won 8-3.
In a low-scoring 3-1 game at Yankee Stadium, George Selkirk going 1-2 with two walks and an RBI might’ve been enough.
Spud Chandler got the start for the AL and threw four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits as the AL eventually won 3-1.
Pitcher Vic Raschi has a very good case, and only partially for what he did on the mound. He was good when he came in to pitch in the fourth, throwing three scoreless frames. However, in the bottom of the fourth, he drove in two runs with a single, breaking a 2-2 tie. The hit was essentially the game winner as the AL won 5-2.
Joe DiMaggio led the AL with three RBI in a high-scoring 11-7 win.
You could maybe give it to Gil McDougald as his sixth inning RBI single broke a 3-3 tie and ended up being the difference in a 4-3 win. It would be a bit of a weird choice since this was still the era where the starters would get 3-4 at-bats, and that single was McDougald’s only plate appearance of the day. However, there’s no obvious other choices, so might as well give it to the guy who got the game-winner.
Yogi Berra led the way for the AL, finishing with two RBI after homering to give his team a 3-1 lead in the third inning. The game ended 5-3, so it didn’t end up being the single deciding moment, but the AL never trailed again after that.
Are they any you think we missed? Feel free to join in the conversation.