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.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.