9 players whose first All-Star start was worth the lengthy wait

July 3rd, 2024

Read our story on the balloting format, which includes two phases of fan voting to determine the All-Star starters.

One of the biggest surprises of the 2024 season continues to be the ascent of Padres outfielder , and when the winners of the 2024 All-Star Game fan vote were announced on Wednesday, we found out that the 11-year veteran won't just be playing in his first All-Star Game in 2024 -- he'll be starting it.

When he takes the field on July 16, Profar will become just the 18th player in AL/NL history to play at least 11 seasons before starting in their first Midsummer Classic. Granted, eight of the previous 16 were headliners of the 1920s who obviously didn't have an earlier opportunity to play in the AL/NL All-Star Game, which was established in 1933. Here are those players along with how many big league seasons they logged prior to getting into the game:

1933 Babe Ruth, 20 seasons
1933 Jimmy Dykes, 16
1933 Frankie Frisch, 15
1934 Travis Jackson, 13
1934 Heinie Manush, 12
1933 Lou Gehrig, 11
1933 Bill Terry, 11
1933 Jimmie Wilson, 11

That leaves nine others who debuted after 1933 and spent at least 11 seasons in the Majors before being honored as a starter in their first All-Star Game.

Who are they? Glad you asked.

, 14 seasons
2009 All-Star with Philadelphia Phillies

Ibanez debuted with the Mariners in 1996, but he didn't become a full-time player until his seventh season, 2002 with the Royals. It would take him another seven years to become an All-Star even though he averaged a 118 OPS+ from 2002-08. He joined the world-champion Phillies ahead of the '09 campaign and earned his starting nod by ranking among the NL's top five in homers (22), extra-base hits (42) and OPS (1.016) at the All-Star break. The 37-year-old ended the year with a career-best 34 dingers and kept slugging right on into his 40s. His 29 dingers in 2013 -- his third stint with the Mariners -- are tied with Ted Williams for the most by a player in their age-41 season.

, 13 seasons
2018 All-Star with Atlanta Braves

Markakis finished 11 seasons with at least 160 hits. Only five other players have logged more such seasons since 2000: Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Ichiro Suzuki, Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter. The lefty swinger and three-time Gold Glover enjoyed a long, consistently productive career in the Majors, but one with very few superstar peaks. That often left him on the outside looking in when it came to All-Star voting.

But Markakis' first half in 2018 was too good to be denied. The Georgia native starred for the Braves, ranking among the top 10 in the NL in average (.323, second), on-base percentage (.389, sixth) and total bases (181, ninth). That was enough to get him voted in by the fans as an All-Star starter. The 34-year-old Markakis concluded the year with a 116 OPS+ and the only Silver Slugger of his 15-season career.

, 12 seasons
1998 All-Star with Atlanta Braves

When will we next see an All-Star season like the one Weiss put together in 1998? The 1988 AL Rookie of the Year entered the All-Star break a decade later with zero home runs and only 18 RBIs. On the plus side, he did have a .312 average, and his .425 on-base percentage trailed only Mark McGwire, John Olerud and Barry Bonds among NL hitters with at least 250 plate appearances. Weiss went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in his only All-Star Game, the first hosted at hitter-friendly Coors Field.

But let's get back to Weiss' homer total -- or lack of one -- because he finished his All-Star season with no homers. Such a feat was more common in previous years; Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith was an All-Star in five of his seven homerless seasons. But since 2000, only White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik (2005) and Rangers infielder Elvis Andrus (2010) capped All-Star seasons with zero long balls.

, 11 seasons
2024 All-Star with San Diego Padres

Profar, as a shortstop in the Rangers' system, was widely considered the best prospect in all of baseball about 11 years ago. It's been a long and winding road of bad breaks and unrealized potential since then, a journey that reached a low point not too long ago when he was cut by the Rockies in August 2023. So it's nothing short of remarkable that the now 31-year-old, who came into the 2024 season with a career .239/.322/.383 line, will be starting his first All-Star Game in Texas in just a couple of weeks. Through the end of play Tuesday, July 2, Profar had appeared in all 87 games for the Padres, hitting .311 (T-5th in MLB) with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs.

Dave Henderson, 11 seasons
1991 All-Star with Oakland A's

Henderson had already left his mark on some of the sport's biggest games by the time he made his first and only All-Star appearance. In 1986 with the Red Sox, he produced one of the most memorable postseason home runs in MLB history. He then helped the A's claim three consecutive pennants from 1988-90 and went deep twice in Game 3 of the 1989 World Series en route to a sweep of the Giants. He posted numbers worthy of All-Star inclusion in '88 and '90, but he was more than deserving in 1991 as he ended the first half inside the AL's top 10 in OPS (.929, fifth), homers (18, tied for sixth), runs (54, eighth) and extra-base hits (36, eighth).

, 11 seasons
1968 All-Star with Washington Senators

From Hendu to Hondo. Howard actually had a handful of cool nicknames, including "The Washington Monument" and "The Capitol Punisher." Standing 6-foot-7 and with 500-foot blasts as part of his legend, they are apt monikers for a player who twice led the American League with 44 home runs. He first accomplished that in '68. It is known as "The Year of the Pitcher" as run production plummeted league-wide, but it didn't seem to affect the 31-year-old Howard. He instead went on an incredible power binge that May, launching 10 homers over a span of just 20 at-bats. His 25 homers during the first half of that season remain a Washington Senators/Texas Rangers franchise record, and his 44 dingers overall were eight more than anyone else.

, 11 seasons
1960 All-Star with Milwaukee Braves

It looked like Adcock's best days might have been behind him by 1960. A fearsome slugger for the bulk of his career, Adcock suffered serious right leg and ankle injuries in 1957 that left him in constant pain and led to him becoming a platoon player for the next couple of seasons. But in '60, he regained his full-time role with the Braves, slashed .313/.365/.527 with 13 homers before the break and started both of the season's All-Star Games. He never made it back to the Midsummer Classic, but by the time Adcock retired following the 1966 season, his 336 dingers were tied for 20th-most in AL/NL history.

Eddie Joost, 11 seasons
1949 All-Star with Philadelphia Athletics

Joost's first 10 years in the big leagues were interrupted by two more full seasons in the Minors and one year spent working in a meat-packing plant to aid America's efforts in World War II. He wasn't a special hitter -- he had a mundane .239 career average and a .366 slugging percentage -- but Joost recorded a .361 career on-base percentage thanks to his special ability to draw walks. He tallied more than 100 walks each season from 1947-52 with the Athletics and none more so than his 149 free passes in '49. He bolstered his All-Star case that year with 18 homers before the break.

Batting directly behind Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio in the game, Joost drew a walk and scored in the first inning before driving home Williams on a fourth-inning single as part of the AL's 11-7 triumph.

Phil Cavarretta, 11 seasons
1944 All-Star with Chicago Cubs

Cavarretta was Chicago through and through. He was born and raised in the Windy City and then played 22 MLB seasons -- 20 with the Cubs followed by two with the White Sox. He made his debut at Wrigley Field -- located about three miles from his childhood home -- in September 1934. Cavarretta celebrated his 18th birthday only about two months prior, making him one of the youngest Cubs in franchise history.

Ten years later, he earned his first of four consecutive All-Star Game selections. He put himself in the history books in '44 as he went 2-for-2 with a single, a triple and three walks in a 7-1 NL victory. Cavarretta is one of only four players to reach base five times in an All-Star Game. The other three are Hall of Famers Charlie Gehringer (1934), Ted Williams (1946) and Carl Yastrzemski (1967).