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The worst All-Stars of all-time

Jan 31, 2012, 6:42 PM EDT

Ken Harvey AP

Even with rosters expanded and more and more players seemingly sitting out the game, there aren’t quite as many bad All-Stars as their used to be, at least not by my research. The list of the worst All-Stars is mostly comprised of old timers, but I’ve squeezed a couple of more recent players in. Here’s an All-Star team of the worst players to make an All-Star team. I’m going by career value here, not necessarily how they performed in their All-Star seasons.

Catcher: Steve Swisher – 1976 – Career WAR: -2.6

Best known now as Nick’s pop, Swisher reached the majors just a year after the White Sox made him a first-round pick and played nine years in the bigs, though he had fewer than 75 at-bats in four of those. He made the All-Star team in his one season of fairly regular play. He went on to hit .236/.275/.326 for the Cubs that year.

First base: Ken Harvey – 2004 – Career WAR: -1.2

Harvey was the Royals’ lone All-Star in his second and final year as a regular. He hit a respectable .287/.338/.421 in 456 at-bats on the season, but since he was a poor defender, he still ended up with a negative WAR. The Royals had him battle big Calvin Pickering for a starting job the following spring. He lost out and ended up getting just 45 more at-bats in the majors.

Second base: Carlos Garcia – 1994 – Career WAR: -0.8

A decent offensive second baseman, Garcia hit .269/.316/.399 as a rookie with the Pirates in 1993. He made the All-Star team in the worst of his four full years with the club, as he hit .277/.309/.367 in 1994. He bounced back to .294/.340/.420 the next year, but his poor glove knocked him out of the league a few years later.

Third base: Ken Reitz – 1980 – Career WAR: -4.2

Reitz was in the lineup for his defense — he won a Gold Glove in 1975 before Mike Schmidt established a stranglehold on the award — but WAR actually says he was below average throughout his career. His All-Star nod came in his last of seven seasons as a regular with the Cardinals, in which he hit .270/.300/.379. That OBP was the highest mark of his career.

Shortstops: Joe DeMastri – 1957 – Career WAR: -4.9

Baseball reference gives DeMastri the worst WAR of any player to make an All-Star team. He did so with the A’s in 1957, when he hit .245/.280/.360 in 461 at-bats. At least DeMastri deserves points for consistency: he had 6-9 homers and 33-40 RBI in all seven of his seasons as a regular.

Left field: Gino Cimoli – 1957 – Career WAR: 0.0

It must have been quite a thrill for Cimoli, in his first full season, to play behind Frank Robinson, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron in the 1957 All-Star Game. He hit .293/.343/.410 with 10 homers and 57 RBI for the Dodgers as a 27-year-old that season. Baseball-reference WAR credits him with 3.1 wins that season and negative -3.1 wins for the other nine years of his career.

Center Field: Cito Gaston – 1970 – Career WAR: -2.5

For the most part, the other players on this list got their All-Star bids by being on bad teams. Gaston, though, was a very deserving All-Star in 1970, hitting .318/.364/.543 with 29 homers and 93 RBI for the Padres. It was just his second full season and expectations were high. Gaston, though, lost 90 points off his average in 1971 and never bounced all of the way back. He did manage to resurrect his career as a pretty good bench player for the Braves later in the decade, but WAR says he was pretty much always a terrible defender.

Right field: Myril Hoag – 1939 – Career WAR: -4.8

The bad news is that Hoag was traded from the Yankees to the woeful Browns after the 1938 season. The good news was that he got an All-Star appearance out of it. It was his best season, as he hit .295/.329/.421 with 10 homers and 75 RBI.

Starting pitcher: Tyler Green – 1995 – Career WAR: -1.1

Not to be confused with fellow Phillies starter Tommy Greene, Tyler Green was the 10th overall pick in the 1991 draft. As a rookie in 1995, he was a cool 8-4 with a 2.75 ERA after three months, getting him the All-Star spot. He then went 0-5 with a 9.63 ERA the rest of the way, missed the following season with a torn labrum and went 10-16 in his final two seasons.

Reliever: Ed Farmer – 1980 – Career WAR: -0.5

The current White Sox radio broadcaster made the All-Star team on his way to getting 30 saves for the 1980 White Sox. He was hardly dominant, though, finishing with a 3.34 ERA and more walks (56) than strikeouts (54) in 99 2/3 innings out of the pen. Overall, he had a 4.30 ERA in 624 innings.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    What about Ryan Howard? According to most people on here, he sucks giant monkey ass.

    • cur68 - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:59 PM

      Nah, he’s just overrated…

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:02 PM

        You got it backwards. Hunter Pence is overrated, Ryan Howard is lucky.

      • cktai - Feb 1, 2012 at 6:09 AM

        Howard is not lucky, he is a product of his circumstances.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Feb 1, 2012 at 8:19 AM

        Around the time of the Hunter Pence trade several blog posts popped up. One was titled something like, “Dumbass Phillies give too much for overrated Hunter Pence” so some on here took to calling him Mr.Overrated. Another post essentially insinuated that Ryan Howard was lucky hence Mr.Lucky. My reply was a thinly veiled attempt at sarcasm.

      • cktai - Feb 1, 2012 at 9:50 AM

        Yeah, but I believe back then, I also replied by saying that Howard was a product of his circumstances and should be called Mr.Hitsintherightspotoftheorder.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 1, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      …….you know, comments like these often will cause people to demonstrate (through statistical analysis) why he’s OVERRATED not SUCKY.

      In other words, you fuel the fire too….

  2. cur68 - Jan 31, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    “Thou shalt not post ill of Cito Gaston”
    cur 3:16.
    He deserves his AS nod as much as Jeter deserves some of his nods. *adjusts rose coloured glasses in hauteur*

    My neighbor’s cat was named “Gaston” which I always took to mean the cat was named after him Cito. When I complimented my neighbor’s daughter (who was so devastatingly cute I’d nearly faint from blood rushing around every time I saw her) about naming the family cat after Cito, she said “WTF are you talking about? He’s named after some French guy”. Not my finest hour, to be sure. In all fairness, Gaston The Cat was also a lousy defender: he used to let guys in and out of the neighbor’s daughter’s window all the time. At least Cito could hit.

    • duluthbuttonhut - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:07 PM

      Hilarious, a tip of the ‘ol Blue Jay cap to you, my friend. I only wish I could supply you with more than one thumbs up. Heartiest laugh I have had all day, bar none, by far.

      • cur68 - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:48 PM

        Makin’ the world a happier place: me and the neighbor’s daughter. At least I won’t catch a disease.

    • DJ MC - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:19 PM

      Cito Gaston left Mike Mussina in the bullpen for the ninth inning of the 1993 All-Star Game in Baltimore.

      To every orange-blooded Orioles fan, Cito did, and always will, Suck.

      • cur68 - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:43 PM

        The way I heard the story was that Mike Mussina and his people with the Orioles had told Cito, prior to the game, that Mussina was not available as a pitcher In the AS game but that he would get some side work in the pen in preparation for his next regularly scheduled start. That’s the the story Cito always told about that in explanation for his not calling in Mussina: Mussina basically let Gaston wear the blame for what was agreed upon prior to the game and then misunderstood by the broadcasters and fans. Never heard a word from Mussina about it one way or the other.

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:48 PM

        Mussina was not scheduled to pitch and he knew it. The turkey got up and warmed up all by himself in an effort to show up Gaston. In my books, Mussina will always be a jerk.

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 1, 2012 at 6:30 AM

        Mussina is and will always be a scumbag.

      • sparkycon - Feb 1, 2012 at 8:59 PM

        i wa there at the 1993 all-star game and i totally agree

  3. khirshland - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Ryan Howard is one of the worst “big game” hitters of all time. He’s an all star but he’s worthless in the clutch

  4. ricofoy - Jan 31, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    I don’t put much stock in defensive WAR. Bagwell played 24 games at first his final year and as I recall could barely throw the ball to second. Yet he put up .4 defensive WAR, tied or better than 8 years where he played fulltime. His best year was only .9. That makes no sense to me.

    • wlschneider09 - Jan 31, 2012 at 8:02 PM

      Psst, the defensive side of WAR is flawed. Don’t point it out or you’ll be sabr’d.

      • stex52 - Feb 1, 2012 at 2:25 PM

        Appreciate that information. I had seen some numbers that made me wonder. Makes sense, too. It is true that for his last couple of years Bagwell played a huge bluff on the league about his ability to throw the ball anywhere. But in his prime he was a very solid defensive player with good range.

  5. JB (the original) - Jan 31, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Ron Coomer?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 31, 2012 at 8:18 PM

      Definitely would have had a spot on the bench. 0.8 career WAR.

  6. natsattack - Jan 31, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    Mark it down:
    Batting first and playing shortstop for the National League, Yunesky Betancourt.
    Just as soon as he finds a job….
    This post gives him hope.

  7. Bryz - Jan 31, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    I know the pic is of Ken Harvey, but seeing the Royals jersey triggered the memories of Mark Redman. I didn’t realize this would be by career WAR, though.

    • - Feb 1, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      I got cold, and my stomach got upset just reading Ken Harvey and Mark Redman in the same sentence.

  8. bleed4philly - Jan 31, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Wow, my WAR was 0.0, can’t believe I didn’t get selected once.

  9. rexryanisablowhard - Jan 31, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    When you are forced to take a player from every team, there are bound to be a few turkeys. And when you put it up to the fans to decide, there will always be undeserving players voted in based on the team they play for, their past resume or whatever other flawed criteria the average fan uses. Since Pud “This time it counts!” Selig decided to pin home field advantage in the WS after botching the 2002 game, it’s become even more of a joke.

  10. sisqsage - Jan 31, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    what is it with you and monkeys?

    Howard doesn’t suck monkey ass (giant or otherwise), but he is a bit of a choker in key playoff moments, you have to admit.
    Is that why they are paying him all of that money – not to come through when they need him the most?

    • jibiral - Jan 31, 2012 at 10:07 PM

      You see, he doesn’t come through when needed the most “at an elite (arbitrary) rate.”

    • bleedgreen - Feb 1, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      I dunno if you watched the playoffs against the Giants 2 years ago, but even in the Reds series and the Giants series, Howard was the ONLY guy hitting. He just happened to be the last out in the last game against the Giants, so he gets to be the goat. Nevermind that the Giants pitchers were freaking phenomenal in the playoffs that year. Its clearly the Phil’s hitters.And Ryan Howard was terrible because he was the last one to strike out on a strike, when that one should really have been strike 2, as the previous one was WAY outside.

  11. spudchukar - Jan 31, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    What this shows more than anything is how awful WAR and UZR stats are, and how they are even worse historically. So when you take lousy, subjective stats, and then multiply their inaccuracy by comparing them historically you end up with meaningless statistical support for most any premise.

    Matt, it is a fun exercise, but despite your caveat ending your post, one troubling notion arises. In a sense, you are suggesting one-time all-stars do not have a place by your ridicule. Sorry, but be it all-star selections or Cy Young winners, or MVPs, choosing career performances for yearly awards sucks. Save it for the HOF.

    Awards are supposed to be recognition for achievement, in a previously decided time period, and I am glad many of the above were so honored. Sure haveome may eked in, but I

    • spudchukar - Jan 31, 2012 at 10:36 PM

      (Cont.) Sure some may have eked in but I am glad they were chosen.
      Two of my favorites are mentioned above. One Gino Cimoli, mostly cause he has the coolest name in the history of baseball, a centerfielder who covered a lot of ground, had a very was an excellent baserunner, and hit okay, especially in the era in which he played. He didn’t have much power, and was soon replaced by the Curt Flood’s and Willie Davis’ of the time. He passed this Spring, and I lamented that.

      Similarly Kenny Reitz, had a undistinguished career, but was an outstanding third baseman. We all know Golden Gloves are influenced by offense. Reitz, was a good fastball hitter, but never could manage the breaking stuff. He was also slow on the base paths, which made his excellent third base play an enigma. He had a great first step, the best hands I ever saw in a third
      baseman, including Brooks Robinson, and an average, but very accurate arm and quick release. He was the best defender at his position for years, but didn’t get the recognition cause he wasn’t
      the hitter Schmitt and other were.

      Glad these guys got the thrill of a lifetime, and earned their way on to one all-star game. Not many of us can say that.

  12. pastabelly - Jan 31, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    Trying to figure out why Scott Cooper is not on this list and he was a 2-time all star.

  13. astrosfan75956 - Jan 31, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Bagwells best season for WAR is 8.9 moronic commentor.

    • cur68 - Feb 1, 2012 at 12:21 AM

      Actually ricofoy isn’t being moronic. He’s talking about defensive WAR and you are talking about offensive WAR: 2 different stats. At worst he’s not getting that dWAR isn’t a very good measure of defensive ability, but I suspect he’ll be apprized of that going forward. Might want to read his comment before throwin’ out the “moronic” label, mmmkay?

  14. butchhuskey - Feb 1, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    Jason Varitek, 2008. ‘Nuff said.

  15. hittfamily - Feb 1, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    All very good points.

    The only real question is, who came up with this idea that you all decided to leach off of.

  16. stex52 - Feb 1, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    But how did those guys do in their respective All-Star games? I’m too lazy to look it up. If the process is a bit suspect but they went on to have a hot game, I see no reason to say they were a bad choice.

    • spudchukar - Feb 1, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      What really matters is how did they perform in the first half of the season. Regardless, of their collective career numbers, an outstanding first half should be rewarded with an All-Star invite.

      • stex52 - Feb 1, 2012 at 2:19 PM

        Spud, I know what you say is as it should be, but the whole All-Star thing is kind of lost on me. Choices are too arbitrary and the whole team concept is missing. So I just take the position that if a guy can justify a bogus selection by having a career night, that is okay with me.

  17. The Baseball Idiot - Feb 1, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    The All-Star game is a yearly event. Basing this on career results doesn’t really seem to make sense.

    Post their WAR for the years they made it, and I’ll bet some of them were deserving of the honor.

  18. peter8172 - Feb 1, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    How about Baseball Players that should have NEVER been elected to The Baseball Hall Of Fame. I’ll start of with 3 player……..Phil Rizzuto of the New York Yankees, who only hit 38 Home Runs in his career. Was it because he was teammates were with TRUE Hall Of Famers like Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Manager Casey Stengel ?? Player No.2, Bill Mazeroski of the Pittsburgh Pirates, what in hell did he do, hit a walk off Home Run in the bottom of the ninth to win the World Series for the Pirates in 1960 ?? Player No.3, Ozzie Smith of the St. Louis Cardinals. O.K. I agree that he was an amazing defensive second baseman, but what did he do offensively. Let’s do this, GET RID of Bud Seling as MLB Commisioner and do the following. Put Pete Rose into the Hall Of Fame (4256 career hits, that’s a pro-rate of 20 consecutive seasons of 213 hits). And have the Veterans Committee put “Shoeless” Joe Jackson be inducted as well (He had the 4th most proficient career batting average in history at .356). And what’s the deal with Bert Blyleven finally after 14 years of eligibility is inducted. Kind of late if you we’re to ask me. and most sadly, Ron Santo of the Chicago Cubs who will be inducted this year, couldn’t The Veterans Committee inducted him before he died

    • unlost1 - Feb 1, 2012 at 5:15 PM


  19. unlost1 - Feb 1, 2012 at 5:14 PM


  20. takavl - Feb 2, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    Uh, people…am I missing something?

    From Wikipedia:

    “Dan Uggla of the Florida Marlins set an All-Star Game record by committing the most errors (3). He is the first MLB player ever to have 3 strikeouts, 3 errors, and ground into a double play in a single game. This includes any regular season, postseason, and All-Star Games.”


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