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13 worst career All-Star Game performances

Sporting News logo Sporting News 7/9/2015 Ryan Fagan, Sporting News

The All-Star Game provides us with memorable moments every year, no doubt about that, but the midseason spotlight hasn’t been kind to some of the game’s greatest players. 

So let’s look at those unfortunate stars — and we do mean stars; eight of the 13 players on this list are in the Hall of Fame — who probably would have been better off staying home for a few days of rest and relaxation.

Keep in mind that MLB played two All-Star Games every year from 1959-62, so some players have more All-Star Games than All-Star selections, as odd as that sounds.

MORE: 2015 All-Star Game snubs

1. ​Orlando Cepeda, Giants/Cardinals

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All-Star Games: 11, from 1959-67

By the numbers: .037 average (1-for-27), one RBI, one walk

The ugly truth: Cepeda was a true superstar during his first 10 seasons in the majors, when he compiled a .309/.359/.528 slash line and was chosen as an All-Star seven times, but the future Hall of Famer just couldn’t do much of anything in the midseason classic. At least his only hit was a memorable one — his ninth-inning single in the 1964 contest tied the game, 4-4, and the NL won later that inning on a three-run homer by Johnny Callison.

2. Luis Aparicio, White Sox/Orioles/Red Sox

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All-Star Games: 13, from 1958-72

By the numbers: .071 average (2-for-28), one triple, one stolen base, two walks 

The ugly truth: Little Louie, as he was affectionately known, led the AL in stolen bases each of his first nine years in the majors, but rarely had a chance to showcase that speed in the All-Star setting because he had trouble getting on base. In the 1970 contest, the future Hall of Famer batted leadoff and played the entire game, but went 0-for-6 and struck out twice. 

3. Terry Moore, Cardinals

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All-Star Games: four, from 1939-42

By the numbers: .000 average (0-for-10), one RBI, one walk

The ugly truth: Moore isn’t the most well-known Cardinal from that era — some rookie named Stan Musial joined Moore and future Hall of Famer Enos Slaughter in the St. Louis outfield when the 1942 team won the World Series — but he was a fine center fielder for the Cardinals. He didn’t contribute much in the All-Star Game, though. Moore holds the record for the most career All-Star at-bats without a hit.

4. Craig Biggio, Astros

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All-Star Games: seven, from 1991-98

By the numbers: .067 average (1-for-15), one home run, two RBIs

The ugly truth: The man who collected 3,060 regular-season hits managed just one base knock and struck out six times in his 16 All-Star Game plate appearances. That one hit was important, though — his sixth-inning homer in the 1995 contest (his first as a starter) ended the AL’s shutout bid and put the NL on the path to a comeback victory. It’s fitting that the man who finished second all-time in being hit by a pitch was hit by a pitch (by Roger Clemens) in his final All-Star contest. 

5. Roy Campanella, Dodgers

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All-Star Games: eight, from 1949-56

By the numbers: .100 average (2-for-20), one run, three walks

The ugly truth: Campanella was one of the game’s greatest catchers, a three-time NL MVP who was a driving force behind five Dodgers teams that made the World Series (he hit two homers when the club won the 1953 series). But the All-Star Game wasn’t his thing, apparently. He was actually hitless in his first 16 All-Star at-bats before he singled and scored in the eighth inning of the 1953 contest.

6. Roger Maris, Athletics/Yankees

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All-Star Games: seven, from 1959-62

By the numbers: .105 average (2-for-19), two RBIs, three walks

The ugly truth: Maris probably would have just rather taken a couple days off. The four years he was selected to the All-Star team just happened to be the four years baseball held two All-Star Games, and those were rather stressful seasons for him. He won the AL MVP in 1960 and 1961 (he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1961, of course) and the Yankees won the World Series in both of those seasons, too.

7. Ryne Sandberg, Cubs

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All-Star Games: 10, from 1984-93

By the numbers: .115 average (3-for-26), one double, one stolen base

The ugly truth: Sandberg singled in his second All-Star at-bat ever and quickly stole second base, but things got worse from there. The future Hall of Famer struck out a lot in the midseason classic; Sandberg finished with nine strikeouts in 28 plate appearances. In his first 19 PAs covering six games, he struck out eight times. Yikes.

8. Eddie Mathews, Braves

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All-Star Games: 10, from 1953-62

By the numbers: .080 average (2-for-25), two homers, three RBIs, one walk

The ugly truth: Mathews was one of the most consistent power hitters of his generation (he finished with 512 homers in his career), but he was more like Rob Deer in All-Star competition. Hey, at least his only two hits were home runs, right? Make ’em count. Only 27 players have multiple All-Star Game home runs. 

9. Elston Howard, Yankees

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All-Star Games: 12, from 1957-65 

By the numbers: 0-for-9, one walk, one run scored

The ugly truth: Howard, the Yankees’ long-time backstop, went hitless in his 11 plate appearances. That would be bad enough by itself, but he struck out seven times in his nine official at-bats. That’s the worst strikeout ratio for any All-Star with more than three at-bats (Yasiel Puig struck out in all three of his at-bats in 2014). 

10. Joey Votto, Reds

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All-Star Games: Four, from 2010-13

By the numbers: .000 average (0-for-9), zero walks, zero runs, three strikeouts

The ugly truth: Votto’s having a good season but he didn’t make the All-Star cut. That’s too bad, because it would have been fitting for him to get his first All-Star hit in his home ballpark. In those four All-Star seasons, Votto compiled a .317/.434/.544 slash line, but failed to reach first base safely in nine plate appearances at the showcase contest.

11. Jose Canseco, A’s/Rangers/Devil Rays

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All-Star Games: Six, from 1986-99

By the numbers: .000 average (0-for-8), one stolen base, one walk

The ugly truth: Canseco only actually played in two of the six All-Star Games he was selected for, going 0-for-4 in the 1988 game and again in the 1990 game (he drew his walk in that one). In 1989 he was voted in as a starter despite not playing at all in the first half of the season and wanted to play, but the A’s thought otherwise and he was replaced.

12. Ozzie Smith, Cardinals/Padres

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All-Star Games: 15, from 1981-96

By the numbers: .148 average (4-for-27), two stolen bases, two caught stealing

The ugly truth: The Wizard of Oz turned in many memorable defensive plays during his annual trip to the All-Star Game — no surprise there — but he didn’t make much of an impact at the plate. His lone extra-base hit, a double, came off Juan Guzman in third inning of the 1992 game, with the NL already behind 6-0.

13. Mickey Mantle, Yankees

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All-Star Games: 16, from 1952-68

By the numbers: .233 (10-for-43), two homers, four RBIs, nine walks

The ugly truth: Mantle takes the final spot on this list because he owns the record for most All-Star Game strikeouts. And, sure, that’s partially because he played in so many games (he’s tied for fifth with 52 plate appearances), but he also struck out at a higher rate in All-Star Games than he did during the regular season or in the World Series.

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