Each team's All-Star you forgot about

June 26th, 2021

The very notion of an All-Star implies stardom, but not every All-Star was a star outside the season in which he was selected to the Midsummer Classic. There are always some players who put together a great season out of the blue to be named an All-Star but are not known for being star players throughout the rest of their careers.

For the purposes of this exercise, we are only going back to 1998, which is when the league expanded to the 30 teams we have today.

Here's a look at an All-Star from each team that you may have forgotten about:

American League East

Blue Jays: John Buck, C, 2010

Buck had an eventful career, as he played for seven teams in 11 seasons and was included in three blockbuster trades -- the three-team Carlos Beltrán trade in June 2004, the 12-player Marlins-Blue Jays extravaganza in November ’12 and the R.A. Dickey deal the following month. On the field, however, Buck rarely rose above replacement level, with 2010 being the exception. That year, Buck set career highs in nearly every major offensive category, including homers (20), doubles (25), RBIs (66), average (.281) and OPS (.802). He replaced the injured Victor Martinez on the AL roster, making his only All-Star team. -- Thomas Harrigan

Orioles: Ty Wigginton, 1B/2B/3B, 2010

A journeyman utility infielder who played for eight teams over 12 seasons in the Majors, Wigginton signed a two-year deal with the Orioles before the 2009 season. In the second year of that contract, the 32-year-old got off to a hot start and was chosen as the Orioles’ lone All-Star representative. He saw action as a defensive replacement at third base in the top of the seventh inning, but he was lifted for pinch-hitter Nick Swisher in the bottom of the frame. -- Harrigan

Rays: Jose Canseco, DH, 1999

Canseco was more than six years removed from his last All-Star selection when he signed with Tampa Bay prior to the 1999 season, but he still had some power left in his bat. The former AL MVP hit 46 homers with the Blue Jays in 1998, and he followed it up by recording a league-leading 31 dingers with a .982 OPS in the first half of ‘99. He was elected by the fans to start the All-Star Game at DH for the AL, but he underwent back surgery just days prior to the Midsummer Classic at Fenway Park. The franchise wouldn’t have its first All-Star Game starter until 2010, when David Price, Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford all did it. -- Harrigan

Red Sox: Mark Loretta, 2B, 2006

With Dustin Pedroia still a year away from assuming the starting second-base job in Boston, the Red Sox acquired Loretta from the Padres in a trade prior to the 2006 season. Red Sox Nation showed up at the ballot box for the veteran infielder, who was elected to start the All-Star Game at second base on the AL side. After hitting .285 with five homers, 33 doubles and 59 RBIs over 155 games that season, Loretta left the Red Sox as a free agent to sign with the Astros, and the Pedroia era began in 2007. -- Harrigan

Yankees: Javier Vazquez, RHP, 2004

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman just couldn’t quit Vazquez, making not one but two ill-fated trades for the right-hander, six years apart. Each of Vazquez’s stints with the team lasted one year, and he had a collective 5.09 ERA during his time in pinstripes. Vazquez also infamously surrendered a grand slam to Johnny Damon in Game 7 of the 2004 AL Championship Series as the Red Sox completed their historic comeback from a three-games-to-none deficit. What you might not remember is the fact that Vazquez pitched well in the first half of 2004 and was selected to the All-Star team by Yankees manager Joe Torre as an injury replacement for Oakland's Tim Hudson. It was the first and only All-Star selection of Vazquez’s career, and he went on to post a 6.92 ERA after the break. -- Harrigan

AL Central

Cleveland: Ronnie Belliard, 2B, 2004

Belliard spent just two and a half seasons in Cleveland after signing as a free agent in Dec. 2003, but he did make that time count, including his All-Star appearance in ‘04, the only one of his career. He had a very strong first half, hitting .304 with an .801 OPS through the All-Star break. He joined teammates Matt Lawton, Victor Martinez, CC Sabathia and Jake Westbrook on the AL squad. He got one plate appearance in the game as a sub, striking out against Ben Sheets. In his final 68 games of the season, he hit .254, finishing at .282 for the season. At the Trade Deadline in ‘06, Cleveland traded him to the Cardinals, ending his tenure with the club. -- Sarah Langs

Royals: Jermaine Dye, RF, 2000

The main reason Dye is the pick here is because he is most commonly associated with the White Sox, the team with which he won the World Series in 2005 and made numerous highlight-reel-worthy catches. And he was an All-Star there, too, in ‘06. But before he was with the White Sox, he was an Athletic, and before that, he was a Royal (and before that he was a Brave). The Royals acquired Dye via trade in March 1997 from the Braves, and he remained on the team until July 2001, when the Royals traded him to the Rockies, who flipped him to the A’s the same day. After finishing sixth for NL Rookie of the Year in ‘96 with Atlanta, Dye really began to come into his own in ‘00 with the Royals, hitting .319 at the All-Star break with a 1.008 OPS. He started the Midsummer Classic for the AL in right field, notching a walk against Al Leiter in his second plate appearance and scoring on a Derek Jeter single. He ended that year at .321, the highest batting average of his career, and won his first and only Gold Glove Award. -- Langs

Tigers: Damion Easley, 2B, 1998

Easley had a 17-year career for six different teams, but the Tigers were the club he spent the most time with, by both seasons (six and a half) and games played (841). In ‘98, he put together the best season of his career in which he played at least 100 games. He hit .292 in the first half with a .529 slugging percentage and 19 homers and was the Tigers’ representative. He pinch-hit in the fourth against Tom Glavine and hit a single, coming around to score later in the inning on a Juan Gonzalez sac fly. He cooled off a bit after the break and hit .271 for the year, but ended up with a career-best 27 homers and won the AL Silver Slugger Award at second base. -- Langs

Twins: A.J. Pierzynski, C, 2002

Pierzynski is most commonly associated with the White Sox, a team he spent eight years with, including the World Series-winning 2005 campaign. But he started his career with the Twins, who drafted him in the third round of the 1994 MLB Draft. After good showings in small samples in 1998-01, Pierzynski really put it together in ‘02, and was hitting .320 at the break with a .504 slugging percentage. He made it to the All-Star Game and ended the year with a .300 average, his second-best in any year he played at least 50 games in his career. He’d go on to be an All-Star again in 2006 with the White Sox, after a November 2003 trade to the Giants and subsequent signing with the White Sox entering ‘05. -- Langs

White Sox: Carl Everett, RF, 2003

Everett was a two-time All-Star, first making it in 2000 with the Red Sox. Part of why he’s here is an oddity -- he almost wasn’t an All-Star for the White Sox, because he was traded to the team in early July that year, so his selection was based off a first half where he played 74 games for the Rangers, then another 11 with the White Sox before the game itself. Everett hit .274 in his 74 games with the Rangers, then was traded on July 1 to the White Sox. He finished the first half at .270, then hit .311 in 62 second-half games with Chicago. He was a free agent after the season and signed with the Expos, but he found his way back to the White Sox in a July trade in 2004. -- Langs

AL West

Angels: Héctor Santiago, LHP, 2015

Santiago arrived in Anaheim in a three-team trade prior to 2014, but he was actually demoted to the bullpen for a brief moment in his first season out west. Then came the ‘15 campaign, when Santiago busted out for career-best marks in innings, strikeouts and WHIP and finished the first half with a 2.33 ERA. The southpaw struggled mightily down the stretch (5.47 second-half ERA), however, and wound up leading the AL with 29 homers allowed by season’s end.

Santiago never posted an ERA below 4.41 while pitching for five different teams across 2016-19, but -- after sitting out the ‘20 campaign and then literally filling out a résumé for all 30 MLB clubs -- he’s back with the Mariners in ‘21. -- Matt Kelly

Astros: Miguel Tejada, SS, 2008-09

Yes, Tejada made back-to-back All-Star Games in his only two years with Houston, but he was closer to an average big leaguer by this stage of his career (1.9 Baseball Reference WAR each season, combined 101 OPS+) than the superstar AL MVP form he showed with Oakland. Tejada actually led the Majors in double plays grounded into in each of these two Astros campaigns, and struggled to -15 defensive runs saved at shortstop in 2009. -- Kelly

Athletics: Ryan Cook, RHP, 2012

Cook had just arrived in Oakland in December 2011 via trade from Arizona with just 12 forgettable big league games (7.04 ERA) under his belt. Then, he became a lights-out bullpen ace. Cook’s ERA stood at 1.41 (albeit with a high-wire-act 39/21 strikeout-to-walk ratio) at the midsummer break, and he pitched a perfect seventh inning (striking out Bryce Harper and David Wright!) as the A’s representative at the All-Star Game. 

Cook finished 2012 with a sterling 2.09 ERA across 73 1/3 innings and backed it up with a 2.54 ERA the following year, but then injuries took hold. He was traded to Boston in ‘15, didn’t make the Mariners’ big league club in ‘16 and underwent Tommy John surgery in ‘17. He’d make just 19 appearances for Seattle in ‘18. Nippon Professional Baseball fans might recognize him from the ‘19 Yomiuri Giants. -- Kelly

Mariners: Shigetoshi Hasegawa, RHP, 2003

Hasegawa was a celebrated pitcher and teammate of Ichiro Suzuki on the Orix Blue Wave in Japan, debuting stateside with the Angels in 1997. He joined the Mariners in 2002 and became a first-time All-Star the following year at age 34 thanks to a shiny 0.77 ERA. Hasegawa actually proved more valuable to Seattle in the second half when he converted 11 of 12 save opportunities filling in for injured closer Kazuhiro Sasaki. The wheels fell off a bit across Hasegawa’s last two big league seasons in 2004-05 (4.68 ERA), but he’s since become a successful baseball television personality in Japan. -- Kelly

Rangers: Jeff Zimmerman, RHP, 1999

How’s this for a backstory leading directly to an All-Star season: Zimmerman pitched for the Montpellier Barracudas in France and then later took time off from baseball to earn his MBA before returning with the independent Winnipeg Goldeyes in 1997.

"I wasn't making a whole lot of money,” Zimmerman told ESPN of his summer in France, “so I had to either spend it on meat or wine, and I went with the wine. I lived on cabernet and baguettes."

Zimmerman made his big league debut with Texas as a 26-year-old rookie and was absolutely lights out, winning each of his first eight decisions out of the bullpen with a microscopic 0.86 ERA and .315 opponents’ OPS. That was enough to earn him his one and only All-Star appearance. 

Zimmerman later assumed the Rangers’ closer role during the 2001 season, but that wound up being his last campaign in the Majors thanks to three major elbow surgeries -- including two Tommy John procedures. He attempted a comeback with the ‘09 Mariners, but didn’t rise above the Arizona League. -- Kelly

National League East

Braves: Walt Weiss, SS, 1998

Weiss was most recently the Rockies' manager. A much longer time ago, he was the AL Rookie of the Year for the A's in 1988 and a World Series champ with them in '89. But then there was his one career All-Star year in Atlanta, a whole decade later. Weiss was 34 when he signed with the Braves in 1998, and he was far from a big star on that team -- Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Javy Lopez and Andres Galarraga all slugged over 30 home runs that year. But Weiss -- who hit zero home runs -- was an All-Star nonetheless for the NL East champs. -- David Adler

Marlins: Henderson Alvarez III, RHP, 2014

Alvarez had one shining moment for the Marlins, his no-hitter on the final day of the 2013 season. That's probably the one thing you think about when it comes to his career. But he actually followed up that no-hitter with an All-Star season the next year, when he posted a 2.65 ERA in 30 starts and even got some Cy Young Award votes. Injuries forced him out of the league only a few years later. -- Adler

Mets: Francisco Rodriguez, RP, 2009

K-Rod was not popular among Mets fans, many of whom booed him during his time in Flushing and look back at the closer as a bust of a signing to this day. The Mets signed Rodriguez to a big contract coming off his 62-save season with the Angels in 2008. On the mound, he never looked as dominant as Mets fans wanted him to be; off the mound, he was arrested at Citi Field following an altercation with his girlfriend's father after a loss in 2010. That hastened his departure from New York -- the Mets shipped him to the Brewers in 2011. But before all that, K-Rod was, in fact, an All-Star in his first season with the Mets. He collected 23 saves in the first half and pitched a scoreless ninth inning in the All-Star Game. -- Adler

Nationals: Cristian Guzman, SS, 2008

The shortstop for the cellar-dwelling Nationals teams of the franchise's early years in Washington, Guzman was no longer the speedster he was as a young player with the Twins. But someone on the 102-loss '08 Nats had to make the All-Star Game, and that someone was Guzman -- who, to his credit, did have a good year, batting .316 and getting the first hit in the history of Nationals Park. Of course, after Guzman, the next two position players the Nationals sent to an All-Star Game were … Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper. -- Adler

Phillies: Domonic Brown, LF, 2013

Domonic Brown was an All-Star? Yes, he really was. Once a top prospect for the Phillies, Brown had already struggled through injury and poor performance in his first few years in the Majors by the time he entered his age-25 season in 2013. But in the first half, he showed Philadelphia a flash of his potential, slugging 23 home runs on his way to being named an NL All-Star reserve. He struck out in his only plate appearance in the All-Star Game, and unfortunately, his hot start didn't last. Brown only played two more big league seasons after 2013. -- Adler

NL Central

Brewers: Danny Kolb, RP, 2004

Kolb had a 4.36 ERA in 290 career relief appearances, but his 2003-04 seasons in Milwaukee were the glory days. The righty racked up 60 of his 73 career saves in those two years, with a 2.55 ERA, despite a mere 5.5 strikeouts-per-nine rate. (He did get lots of ground balls). In the 2004 All-Star Game in Houston, he retired Ichiro Suzuki, Vladimir Guerrero and Manny Ramirez in a scoreless inning. -- Andrew Simon

Cardinals: Aledmys Díaz, SS, 2016

Díaz wasn’t the Cardinals’ Opening Day shortstop in 2016, but as a rookie he quickly became the team’s regular there. That’s what happens when you bat .402 through your first 28 career games. That was enough to propel Díaz to the All-Star Game, but his numbers plummeted in 2017 and he was shipped to Toronto, then Houston. -- Simon

Cubs: Bryan LaHair, 1B, 2012

He just might be the ultimate out-of-nowhere All-Star. A Mariners 39th-round Draft pick, LaHair slugged in the Minors but entered 2012 as a 29-year-old with only 219 MLB plate appearances. Winning the first base job on a Cubs team that lost 101 games, LaHair started hot and reached the All-Star Game with an .883 OPS and 14 homers. But it didn’t last, especially with a guy named Anthony Rizzo arriving in Chicago. LaHair didn’t play in the Majors again after 2012. -- Simon

Pirates: Evan Meek, RP, 2010

The 2010 Bucs went 57-105, but somebody had to represent them at the All-Star Game in Anaheim. That was Meek and his 1.11 first-half ERA in a non-closing role. Although he didn’t get to pitch, just being there was an accomplishment for Meek, who had been released, traded and taken in the Rule 5 Draft prior to that point. The righty pitched in only 59 more big league games after that season. -- Simon

Reds: Arthur Rhodes, RP, 2010

Rhodes had a long and distinguished career as a reliever, but 14 of his 20 seasons were with the Mariners and Orioles. His only two seasons in Cincinnati came at ages 39-40, and it was in the latter year that Rhodes made his only All-Star team. The lefty hung on for one more year after that, with Texas and St. Louis, winning a ring with the Cardinals. -- Simon

NL West

D-backs: Damian Miller, C, 2002

Miller had an 11-year MLB career behind the plate for five different teams, and this was the only season in which he was an All-Star. While his numbers at the plate that year don’t exactly look worthy of an All-Star selection -- he hit .249/.340/.434 (95 OPS+) -- the final totals are a bit misleading because after a World Series championship season with Arizona in ’01, he had a strong first half in which he posted an .824 OPS with nine homers. -- Manny Randhawa

Dodgers: Hung-Chih Kuo, LHP, 2010

Kuo was a reliever for the Dodgers his entire seven-season MLB career from 2005-11. In ’10, the left-hander had a spectacular campaign, posting a 1.20 ERA over 56 appearances for Los Angeles. That was his only All-Star appearance -- outside of that year, he had a career ERA of 4.38. -- Randhawa

Giants: Melky Cabrera, OF, 2012

Cabrera is mostly remembered for his time with the Yankees, whom he helped win the 2009 World Series. He became a journeyman after that, playing for seven different teams over the next 10 seasons. One of those clubs was the Giants, for whom he was an All-Star in 2012, the year they won the second of three World Series titles in five years. Cabrera had a tremendous first half that year, slashing .353/.391/.519 with eight homers and 10 steals before being selected to his first and only All-Star team. He then won the All-Star Game MVP Award after going 2-for-3 with a two-run homer in an 8-0 NL win at Kauffman Stadium. He was suspended for 50 games in August for violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. -- Randhawa

Padres: Rondell White, OF, 2003

White is remembered most as a member of the Expos in the 1990s -- he belted 101 homers and stole 88 bases for Montreal from 1993-2000. But ironically, he was never selected as an All-Star during that time despite posting an .827 OPS. He was with the Padres for less than a full season in 2003, when he earned the only All-Star selection of his career. He had an .804 OPS with 16 homers at the All-Star break that year. He was traded to the Royals in August, and while he only had six second-half homers, he hit .313/.362/.508 the rest of the way that year. -- Randhawa

Rockies: Jason Marquis, RHP, 2009

Marquis enjoyed a long MLB career, pitching for nine teams over 15 seasons. But in all that time, he was only an All-Star once, and of all places, it came while he pitched in Colorado, the most hitter-friendly environment in the Majors. In his only season with the Rockies, the veteran right-hander posted a 4.04 ERA (116 ERA+) in 33 starts, helping Colorado reach the postseason for the third time in franchise history. His first half that season was even better, with a 3.65 ERA in 18 starts. Interestingly, Marquis was better at Coors Field that year than on the road, posting a 3.92 ERA at home and a 4.16 mark in away starts. -- Randhawa