On the eve of the 2012 All-Star game in Kansas City, where the Pirates will be represented by Andrew McCutchen and Joel Hanrahan, each making their second appearance, I decided to take a look back at how some of the team’s All-Star players have done in the mid-season classic.
I consider Honus Wagner to be the greatest player in team history, but he was retired well before the first official All-Star game was played in 1933. That year the Pirates were represented by two other great players in team history, Paul Waner and Pie Traynor. Neither played got much time that game. Traynor pinch-hit in the seventh inning and hit a double off Hall of Fame pitcher, Lefty Grove. Waner saw even less action, going into RF for the bottom of the eighth. He didn’t have a chance in the field that inning and the AL won without needing to bat in the bottom of the ninth.
In 1934, the Pirates added a third AS to the mix, shortstop Arky Vaughan made the team. Pie Traynor became the first player to start the game in team history. Traynor went 2-5 with an RBI, while Waner and Vaughan each went 0-2.
Vaughan became the first shortstop in team history to start the AS game in 1935, going 1-3 with a walk. Waner made his third straight game, going 0-1 as a pinch-hitter.
In 1936, Vaughan and first baseman Gus Suhr made the team as reserves, but neither played. The 1937 game had a couple firsts for the Pirates. Cy Blanton became the first Pirates pitcher to make the team, while Paul Waner got his first start, the first outfielder to start the game for Pittsburgh. Waner batted lead-off, going 0-5 and Vaughan batted third, going 2-5. Blanton struck out the only batter he faced, Joe DiMaggio.
Vaughan made his fifth straight game in 1938, and he was joined by two first-timers. Lloyd Waner made the team, as well as relief pitcher, Mace Brown. Only Brown played, throwing three innings with one run allowed for the save.
In 1939-40 Vaughan started the game and was the only Pirates representative in the game. He extended his streak to eight straight games in 1941, where he was joined by third baseman Bob Elliott and the Pirates first catcher to make the team, Al Lopez. Elliot would be the team’s only rep in 1942.
The 1943 game had three first-timers and the Pirates first starter at first base, Elbie Fletcher. Pitcher Rip Sewell and outfielder Vince DiMaggio each made their first appearance.
Forbes Field hosted the 1944 game and saw the Pirates send four players to the game for the first time, including one real interesting inclusion. Elliott got the start, while Sewell and DiMaggio each returned to the mid-season classic. They were joined by Frankie Zak, a rookie shortstop who had played in just 44 of the team’s 75 games. He would end up with 186 plate appearances and didn’t bat in the last thirty games despite being healthy the whole time.
There was no game in 1945 due to the war. The next year Sewell was selected for the third time and Frankie Gustine became the third Pirates third baseman to make the team. The next year, Gustine started the game and was the team’s only rep.
Two new names joined the Pirates AS list in 1948, veteran pitcher Elmer Riddle made his only career AS appearance, while a young slugger named Ralph Kiner made his first of five straight AS teams for the Pirates. In fact, from 1949-52, Kiner was the Pirates only rep in the game, starting the game the first two years. Ralph would homer in the 1949 game, then repeat the feat in 1950 and 1951.
With Kiner traded away during the 1953 season, pitcher Murry Dickson became the team’s AS rep that year. The next two years, outfielder Frank Thomas was the only Pirates player in the game.
Pitcher Bob Friend made the team in 1956, where he was joined by Don Long, who started at first base. It was the first time in eight years that the Pirates had two players in the game. The next year, only catcher Hank Foiles made the roster.
The 1958 game had a few more firsts. Frank Thomas made the team as a third baseman, the first player to make it at two different positions for the Pirates. Bill Mazeroski made his first game, becoming the first second baseman for Pittsburgh to make the team. Bob Skinner started in the outfield, giving the Pirates three starters for the first time. Bob Friend also made the team.
The 1959 game was at Forbes Field again. Pittsburgh was well represented at the game, although none of them were starters. Mazeroski was joined by three first-timers for Pittsburgh, catcher Smoky Burgess(his 3rd overall appearance), shortstop Dick Groat and pitcher ElRoy Face. There was actually two games played at this time, one in July and one in August and each player represented the NL in both games.
Not only did the Pirates win the World Series in 1960, they dominated the NL AS roster. Burgess, Face, Friend, Skinner and Groat were joined by pitcher Vernon Law and the Great One, Roberto Clemente played his first game. Friend, Skinner and Mazeroski started the first game in 1960, while just two days later, they played game two with Law as the starting pitcher instead.
Clemente and Burgess started both games in 1961, while Face also made the team along with first-timer, Dick Stuart. The 1962 season was the last time they played two games and Clemente, Mazeroski and Groat started each game.
In 1964, another familiar name joined the roster for the first time, Willie Stargell. The same three players made the team in 1965 and 1966, Clemente, Stargell and pitcher Bob Veale. Mazeroski returned to the game in 1967, where he was joined by Clemente and Maz’s double play partner, Gene Alley. The 1968 Pirates reps were Alley and Matty Alou, probably not the first guesses of most people.
Clemente returned to the game in 1969, his first of four straight games, a streak ended by his passing. The 1971-72 games each had a couple new names. Dock Ellis and Manny Sanguillen played their first game in 1971, while Steve Blass and Al Oliver made the team the following year.
From 1973-75, Pittsburgh had a new name thrown into the All-Star game each year and all were pitchers. In order they were Dave Giusti, Ken Brett and Jerry Reuss. The 1974 game was played at Three Rivers.
The 1977 NL team had three new names, Dave Parker, Goose Gossage and John Candelaria. The next year, Willie Stargell made his last AS appearance.
From 1980-82, we had a ton of first-time Pirates in the game. Jim Bibby, Kent Tekulve, Phil Garner, Bill Madlock, Mike Easler, Tony Pena and Jason Thompson. The mid-80’s added Rick Rhoden, Rick Reuschel to the list, while Andy Van Slyke, Bobby Bonilla and Bob Walk made the 1988 team. Barry Bonds made the team in 1990 for the first time. In 1994, Three Rivers hosted the game and saw Carlos Garcia represent the Pirates.
PNC Park hosted the 2006 game when Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez made the team. Other notables over the last twenty years include Jay Bell in 1993, Jason Kendall in 1996,1998,2000, Brian Giles in 2000-01 and Jack Wilson in 2004.
Willie Stargell played in seven games, going 2-10 at the plate with a homer. Both hits came during the 1965 game.
Roberto Clemente hit .323 in the 14 games he played, hitting one homer and driving in four runs. He collected three hits in the first game played in 1962.
Dave Parker went 3-11 with a homer during the 1981 game.
Bill Mazeroski went 2-16 in the seven games he played. Three times he was selected but did not play.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.