These changes also have not addressed the major problem facing the All-Star Game-that it is a relic from another era and no longer meets the needs of fans or players. In an era of interleague play and widespread access to televised baseball in one form or another, the logic underlying an All-Star Game is not evident. Fans wishing to see how a great American League pitcher like Justin Verlander or Mariano Rivera fares against a National League star like Bryce Harper or Buster Posey no longer have to wait until the All-Star Game and hope for that matchup. Since the advent of interleague play, hose matchups may occur during the regular season when the Yankees play the Giants or the Tigers play the Nationals. The fans may have to wait a year or two for a specific matchup, but the regular season now has a great deal of interleague play.
Carew, Boggs and Gwynn were the three great singles hitters of the last 60+ years. Obviously, they did more than hit singles, but that is the term used for players who, like them, don’t hit a lot of home runs. The reason there are so few players who meet this criteria is that some who we may think of as great singles hitter leadoff types, like Rickey Henderson, hit for more power than is sometimes remembered. Others, such as Lou Brock, did not produce enough offensive value to be great offensive players, while others, such as Jackie Robinson, had careers that were too short to accumulate enough plate appearances.
In all elections, whether for awards, political office or All Star Games, the election system has a big impact. This will continue to be the case for the baseball Hall of Fame and it will add another dimension to an already complex and sometimes irrational process over the next few year
Wilker has written an extraordinarily honest book about growing up and forging adult lives and adult relationships which, while not really about baseball, still made me feel like I was back at an almost empty Candlestick Park watching the Giants lose, playing ball in the Presidio, reading yet another baseball magazine or book and, yes, buying a pack of baseball cards and giving the gum to my brother.
George Brett, Willie McCovey and Eddie Murray were three of the game’s all-time greats. Bill James ranked Brett as the 30th greatest player ever, followed by Murray as the 61st and McCovey in the 68th spot. James awards Murray 437 career win shares, followed by Brett at 432 and McCovey at 408. James’ ranking makes sense and recognizes Brett’s additional value as a third baseman, rather than a first baseman like the other two. If, however, we just focus on offensive production, the debate raises some interesting questions not only about peak versus career figures, but about how valuable different kinds of peaks are.
The problem with the All Star Game is not that it is meaningless, it is that it isn’t baseball. More accurately the All Star Game is not a baseball game. The All Star Game is a fun mid-season break. The Future’s Game, fan fests and the like can be great events. Even home run derbies have some value as pure spectacle, but the game itself isn’t really a baseball game.