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Each team's finest All-Star Game performance

MLB.com @williamfleitch

When a player has a terrific All-Star Game, he is doing it for himself, and etching his own name among the legends of sports' most storied and beloved showcases. But he is, of course, doing it for more than just himself: He's doing it for the team whose jersey he's wearing, and the millions of fans of that team. He's giving that team, and all who love that team, a moment on the national stage, with the whole baseball world watching.

Thus, this week, we look at the best individual performances in an All-Star Game for all 30 Major League Baseball franchises. Not every team can make the World Series. But every team can get a player in the All-Star Game. And every team, for one night, can have a player at the center of the baseball universe.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Joe Carter, 1992
The Blue Jays have never had an All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, and only one player who ever even had more than one hit in a game: Carter, in San Diego, the year before he'd make certain his place in baseball history was really secure.

Orioles: Cal Ripken Jr., 2001
Orioles players may have put up more impressive stat lines in All-Star Game history -- the O's have had a total of six All-Star Game MVPs, including Ripken twice -- but like there's any other pick than this one.

When a player has a terrific All-Star Game, he is doing it for himself, and etching his own name among the legends of sports' most storied and beloved showcases. But he is, of course, doing it for more than just himself: He's doing it for the team whose jersey he's wearing, and the millions of fans of that team. He's giving that team, and all who love that team, a moment on the national stage, with the whole baseball world watching.

Thus, this week, we look at the best individual performances in an All-Star Game for all 30 Major League Baseball franchises. Not every team can make the World Series. But every team can get a player in the All-Star Game. And every team, for one night, can have a player at the center of the baseball universe.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Joe Carter, 1992
The Blue Jays have never had an All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, and only one player who ever even had more than one hit in a game: Carter, in San Diego, the year before he'd make certain his place in baseball history was really secure.

Orioles: Cal Ripken Jr., 2001
Orioles players may have put up more impressive stat lines in All-Star Game history -- the O's have had a total of six All-Star Game MVPs, including Ripken twice -- but like there's any other pick than this one.

Video: 2001: Cal's perfect script

Rays: Carl Crawford, 2009
Back before Crawford was Carl Crawford's Contract, he was the Rays' speedster, and he earned MVP honors at the 2009 game in St. Louis, a sleepy contest that was somehow over in 2 1/2 hours.

Red Sox: Pedro Martinez, 1999
The most electrifying pitcher of a generation, taking on the best hitters in his sport during a historic offensive period in the game's history, doing it in front of his home crowd, with the entire world watching. Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, Hall of Famers or should-be Hall of Famers all: Whiff. Whiff. Whiff. Whiff. Whiff. Let's give some love to Matt Williams -- the one guy who hit the ball off Pedro that night (he reached on an error). When you think of Pedro Martinez forever, this will be the night you think of.

Video: 1999 ASG: Pedro Martinez K's five in two innings

Yankees: Derek Jeter, 2000
This was Jeter's first All-Star Game start -- which is sort of crazy? -- and he had three hits to earn MVP honors. Three months later, he would become the first player to win All-Star Game MVP and World Series MVP in the same year. That's so impressive that it beats out Babe Ruth, who not only hit the first homer in All-Star Game history but was, you know, Babe Ruth.

 

Video: 2000 ASG: Derek Jeter goes a perfect 3-for-3

AL CENTRAL
Indians: Al Rosen, 1954
Rosen went 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs and scored the winning run in an 11-9 American League win.

Royals: Bo Jackson, 1989
Jackson only played 698 MLB games: 694 regular season, a three-game sweep in the 1993 AL Championship Series against Toronto and this All-Star Game in Anaheim. This is the one you remember, the one where he hit a massive 448-foot homer as the leadoff man, with President Reagan in the broadcast booth with Vin Scully. Jackson also stole a base later in the game and, for all we know, scored a touchdown.

Video: 1989 ASG: Bo Jackson hits leadoff homer in first

Tigers: Denny McLain, 1966
The Tigers are another storied franchise that has never had an All-Star Game MVP, but you can't do much better than McLain did in 1966, throwing three perfect innings in a game the AL would still lose.

Twins: Kirby Puckett, 1993
Puckett homered in the second inning and had an RBI double in the fifth at Camden Yards in a game that's probably more famous for Orioles fans booing Cito Gaston for not putting in Mike Mussina in the ninth inning. They even started throwing things on the field. That's a lot of passion for an All-Star Game!

Video: 1993 ASG: Puckett gets two hits, wins All-Star MVP

White Sox: Al Simmons, 1934
Apologies to Magglio Ordonez's 2001 All-Star Game, but Simmons had three hits, two doubles and scored three runs in a lineup that had Ruth, Gehrig and Foxx in it.

AL WEST
Angels: Mike Trout, 2014
Take your pick from either of his All-Star Game MVP awards. The All-Star Game remains, sort of depressingly, the one time every year that Trout has this sort of national showcase.

Video: 2014 ASG: Trout goes 2-for-3, collects two RBIs

Astros: Nolan Ryan, 1985
The Astros are still waiting for their true breakout All-Star Game performer -- this could be the year; they'll have plenty of opportunities -- so we'll go with Ryan's three scoreless innings at the Metrodome. Batters faced included George Brett, Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray, Dave Winfield, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Cecil Cooper and Rickey Henderson -- 1985 really was the best.

Athletics: Terry Steinbach, 1988
This wasn't the most exciting game, but Steinbach was responsible for both of the AL's runs in a 2-1 win, so he had to be the MVP pick.

Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki, 2007
Of course it's Ichiro. This was the year he hit the inside-the-park homer -- still the only one in All-Star Game history -- at AT&T Park. We still think Ichiro can be sneaked into this year's All-Star Game if he's wearing his mustache disguise.

Video: 2007 ASG: Ichiro hits an inside-the-park home run

Rangers: Michael Young, 2006
Young won the MVP Award in a rather dull All-Star Game -- in the gorgeous setting of PNC Park in Pittsburgh -- so that edges him out over Alfonso Soriano, who had a homer and three RBIs back in 2004.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Fred McGriff, 1994
The year 1994 will be a cursed number in baseball history forever, but at least the All-Star Game was fun: McGriff hit a game-tying two-run homer off Lee Smith in the bottom of the ninth in Pittsburgh, and Moises Alou would score Tony Gwynn with a walk-off double in the 10th.

Marlins: Jeff Conine, 1995
Mr. Marlin only got one at-bat in Arlington, but it was a big one: A tiebreaking pinch-hit homer off Steve Ontiveros in the top of the eighth, giving the NL their ultimate 3-2 margin of victory.

Video: 1995 ASG: Jeff Conine awarded All-Star Game MVP

Mets: Tom Seaver, 1970
The Mets have never had a particularly noteworthy All-Star Game moment, but Seaver's three scoreless innings, giving up just one hit and striking out four, at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati remains impressive nearly 50 years later. His strikeout victims: Luis Aparicio, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew and Frank Howard.

Nationals: Tim Raines, 1987
For what it's worth, all Nationals should wear Expos uniforms in the All-Star Game. Raines is the ultimate "always be ready" All-Star Game story: He came in as a defensive replacement, had three hits including a triple and also (of course) grabbed a stolen base.

Phillies: Johnny Callison, 1964
Callison played 16 seasons in the Majors, but 1964 was his best season, hitting 31 homers and finishing second in NL MVP Award voting. His big All-Star Game moment, which earned him the second All-Star Game MVP Award, was a walk-off three-run homer at Shea Stadium off Dick Radatz, scoring Johnny Edwards and Curt Flood to give the NL a 7-4 win.

NL CENTRAL
Brewers: Prince Fielder, 2011
Fielder's three-run homer at Chase Field remains the only Brewers homer in All-Star Game history.

Video: Must C Clips: Fielder puts the NL on top

Cardinals: Stan Musial, 1949
Musial appeared in the All-Star Game 24 times, tying Willie Mays for the second most. But his best year was 1949, when he had three hits, including a homer, in an 11-7 NL loss at Ebbets Field.

Cubs: Ernie Banks, 1960
The Cubs have never had an All-Star Game MVP, but if they'd have given out the MVP Award in Kansas City, Banks would have gotten it for his homer and six total bases. Fittingly for Banks, this was one of the years when they played two All-Star Games.

Pirates: Arky Vaughn, 1941
Vaughn hit two homers in a game that the NL would lose, thanks to Ted Williams' three-run homer in the ninth inning for the AL. Vaughn only had six homers all season.

Reds: Pete Rose, 1970
Other Reds players had better individual games -- Joe Morgan, Dave Concepcion, Ken Griffey Jr., George Foster and Tony Perez all won MVP Awards -- but c'mon, like the Ray Fosse play wasn't going to be the pick.

Video: 1970 All-Star Game: Rose knocks over Fosse to score

NL WEST
D
-backs: Damian Miller, 2002
No D-backs player has homered in an All-Star Game, but Miller had two doubles in the infamous tie game in Milwaukee.

Dodgers: Fernando Valenzuela, 1986
Five years after Fernandomania, Valenzuela was brilliant at the Astrodome, throwing three innings in relief of Dwight Gooden and giving up just one hit. He struck out Don Mattingly, Cal Ripken, Jesse Barfield, Lou Whitaker and ... Teddy Higuera.

Giants: Carl Hubbell, 1934
Hubbell might not have looked as impressive with his screwball as Pedro Martinez would 65 years later, but who knows: Video's a funny thing. What we do know is that he struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin, in order. That'll work.

Video: 1934: Carl Hubbell strikes out five in a row

Padres: LaMarr Hoyt, 1985
Hoyt pitched eight seasons, won an AL Cy Young Award and won the All-Star Game MVP Award in his one appearance. That's efficiency.

Rockies: Aaron Cook, 2008
It's a nice touch that the best performance by a Rockie in an All-Star Game came from a pitcher. At Yankee Stadium in 2008, in a game that went 15 innings, Cook threw three scoreless frames -- 42 pitches from a reliever in an All-Star Game! -- to keep the NL afloat until Brad Lidge lost the game in the 15th.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.