Stats show how much All-Star Game has changed
BY JOHN GROCHOWSKI For Sun-Times Media
American League's Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers watches his hit during the MLB All-Star baseball Home Run Derby, on Monday, July 15, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
In the All-Star Game on Tuesday, you might or might not see the starting pitchers come out for a second inning. You’re extremely unlikely to see them come out for a third.
The last All-Star starter to
go three innings was Greg Maddux, who allowed one run in the 1994 game, which the National League eventually won 8-7 in 10 innings.
The three-inning All-Star starter has gone the way of Wrigley Field without lights and single-admission doubleheaders on Sundays and holidays. It’s a change in playing conditions that makes one number unlikely to be challenged any time soon: Don Drysdale’s 191/3 innings pitched in All-Star Games.
Drysdale pitched in eight All-Star Games and was on the roster for a ninth. He went three innings five times — twice in 1959, when two games were played, then in 1962, 1964 and 1968. The next pitchers in line also played when it was common for the starter to go three innings. Jim Bunning had three three-inning stints among his 18 innings in the 1950s and 1960s. Juan Marichal also had three three-inning outings in his 18 innings in the 1960s. And in the 1930s, before the rule limiting pitchers to three innings was put into place, Lefty Gomez compiled his 18 innings by going six innings once and three innings four times.
Only two pitchers whose careers extended into the 2000s are among the top 20, with Roger Clemens tied for eighth with Mel Harder and Tom Seaver at 13 innings and Randy Johnson tied for 15th with Whitey Ford at 12. Johnson never had a three-inning All-Star stint, but Clemens did (1986).
Among active pitchers, the leader is Roy Halladay, who’s in a four-way tie for 29th place at
82/3 innings. At 36 and plagued by injuries the last two seasons, he is unlikely to move very far up the list. Then again, in an era of one- or two-inning starts, no one is likely to challenge Drysdale.
Some other All-Star numbers to ponder:
† The all-time leader in plate appearances is Willie Mays with 82 as part of 24 All-Star teams, including 19 as a starter. The only player in the top 10 whose career extended into the 2000s is sixth-place Cal Ripken with 52 plate appearances in 19 games, 17 as a starter. Among active players, Ichiro Suzuki (10 games, nine starts) and Derek Jeter (13 games, eight starts) have 28 plate appearances.
† Among players with 20 or more plate appearances, Fred Lynn and Steve Garvey are the OPS leaders. Lynn, with nine All-Star appearances in the 1970s and 1980s, had a 1.264 OPS, hitting .300 with a .364 on-base percentage and .900 slugging percentage fueled by four home runs in 22 plate appearances. Garvey, who made 10 All-Star appearances in the 1970s and 1980s, had two homers while hitting .393/.433/.821 for a 1.255 OPS in 30 plate appearances. In regular-season play, Lynn’s career OPS was .845, and Garvey’s was .775.
There are no players on the rosters Tuesday with 20 or more plate appearances, but Carlos Beltran and David Wright have 16 each, and both have a 1.038 OPS. David Ortiz has a 1.000 OPS in 16 plate appearances.