This was originally published on July 4, 2007, but, along with all of the content from Mr. Irrelevant’s first three years, it was lost when AOL Journals folded. Here it is again, because a) I like it and b) I’ll be referencing it any day now …
The other day I stumped for O’s All-Stars and planned a similar post for the Nats. Dmitri Young was their only decent candidate, and, because every team gets at least one player in the game, Da Meathook made his second All-Star team on Sunday. The selection isn’t that glaring considering Young has been insanely hot, but what would’ve been funny is if the Nats had traded him to a contender in need of 1B/DH help. Under that circumstance, the NL would’ve had to include a guy like Jesus Colome (decent middle relief) or Chad Cordero (six blown saves) in the sport’s midseason showcase.
It’s for this type of player, the middling All-Star who league-wide fans couldn’t care less about, that I formulated Da Meathook All-Stars. These are guys who had no business being there if not for the one-player/team rule, and there’s also room for poor roster choices made by managers and overzealous fans. Really, it’s a way of honoring personal favorite Dmitri Dell Young with, like Reggie Cleveland before him, an All-Star team all his own.
Now, before getting started, let’s lay out a few ground rules:
1. This only encapsulates the 2000-’06 All-Star teams. Let’s call them the 21st Century Meathook All-Stars. Hopefully ’90s, ’80s, etc. editions are to follow. (Ed. note: They did not.)
2. I’m sure someone else has already done something like this far better than I. Just yesterday, for instance, FanHouse’s Matt Watson posted Robert Fick Rulers, which are token All-Stars (Young included) not deserving of a spot in this year’s game.
3. There’s no way in hell that this list is comprehensive. Help me out on the research tip by telling me where I messed up.
Without further adieu, allow me to introduce the inaugural class of Meathook All-Stars …
10. Aaron Boone ’03, Reds 3B — I can’t believe this guy was ever an All-Star, despite the fact he had 16 HR at the break. Since then, or at least since the ’03 ALCS, the game hasn’t been kind to the brothers Boone. And while we’re on the subject of undeserving Cincinnati 3B All-Stars, shout out to Chris Sabo!
9. Tony Clark ’01, Tigers 1B — Tony the Tiger was pretty good for a few years there. This was not one of those years. And did you know he’s still playing?
8. Scott Podsednik ’05, White Sox CF — The dude had 44 steals at the break, which is nice, but he was also hitting under .300 with no power. Literally, he had 0 HR. And he wasn’t the only ChiSox player on the roster. He was the fourth.
7. Mark Loretta ’06, Red Sox 2B — Loretta was a good player and All-Star … when he hit .335 for San Diego in ’04. Last year in Boston, however, the guy carried a .738 OPS into the break yet was voted into the starting lineup by Red Sox Nation.
6. Shea Hillenbrand ’05, Blue Jays 1B/3B/DH — His numbers at the break — .302, 9 and 42 — were All-Star-worthy … for a middle infielder. Roy Halladay was hurt, though, and Toronto had to send someone to represent. Bonus points to Hillenbrand for being a two-time Meathook All-Star as he made the ’02 team as well with similar numbers.
5. David Eckstein ’06, Cardinals SS — That he has now been chosen for two All-Star games (’05 too) is what fuels sites like Fire Joe Morgan (ed. note: RIP!).
4. Ted Lilly ’04, Blue Jays SP — Check out these at-the-break numbers: 7-6 with a 4.27 ERA. Better than league average, but still.
3. James Baldwin ’00, White Sox SP — Despite an excellent win-loss record (14-7) in that full season, Baldwin was never any good. His best single-season ERA was 4.42. He also wasn’t in fine films such as Backdraft or The Usual Suspects like other brothers Baldwin.
2. Robert Fick ’02, Tigers RF — It’s always darkest before the dawn. Such is the case with Detroit baseball in the first half of this decade before their ’06-07 renaissance. Look no further than Mssr. Fick, who has never had any business participating in an All-Star game, unless maybe he was a better high school baller than his pro career would indicate.
1. Brian Fuentes ’06, Rockies closer — A closer with a 3.89 ERA at the break is not a good closer. Furthermore, Fuentes’ lifetime ERA is 3.68, yet he’s now a three-time All-Star. You’d think a player like this, playing for a team like Colorado, would define the term “token,” but teammate Matt Holliday (rightfully) made it in both ’06 and ’07. I bet Chris Young is (rightfully) pissed off right now.
Honorable mentions: Rondell White ’03, Jose Lopez ’06, Ronnie Belliard ’04, Jose Hernandez ’02 and Charles Johnson ’01.
Update: An anonymous emailer tips me off to a glaring omission … Mike Redman ’06, Royals SP. Dude had a 5.27 ERA at the break. That’s just sad. Also, in the comments, Pat Lackey suggests Mike Williams ’03, Pirates closer, who had an insane 6.44 ERA. My only excuse for omitting these sure-shot Meathook All-Stars is that neither performed in his midsummer classic (and for good reason!), so they didn’t show up in Baseball Reference’s All-Star database. Mr. Irrelevant regrets the error.