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.
The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.
With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.
Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.