But… I was assured this was a new phenomenon caused by greedy baseball players making tens of millions of dollars per year. Surely no one turned down All-Star appearances 25 years ago.
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, who ranks right up there with Tim Salmon among the best players to never go to an All-Star Game, told MLB.com that he twice turned down the chance to go the Midsummer Classic as a reserve.
In 1985, he went so far as to decline the invite from his own manager, Sparky Anderson. The Tigers won the World Series in 1984, giving Anderson the chance to pick the squad’s reserves.
Gibson again had the chance to go in 1988 when he was with the Dodgers, but he turned down Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, saying he “was kind of missing home.”
He went on to win the NL MVP award that season after hitting .290 with 25 homers and 76 RBI.
It was one of four seasons in which Gibson was named on MVP ballots. He finished in the top 10 of his league in OPS on four occasions and in homers three times, but not once in 17 years did he go to the All-Star Game. He finally did make his first All-Star appearance last night as one of the coaches for the NL team.