Astute Phillies fans are prone to bring up the wealth of failures the team has produced, the has-beens and never-weres that litter the team’s history.
But even though they were failures overall, there were times when those failures actually shone brightly as all-stars. And then there were times when our favorite stars were overvalued and made the all-star team for what seemed like no reason.
So as the Phillies get ready to send what appears to be an undeserving all-star to Miami in July, take a trip back and remember when we had these very curious Phillies all-star choices through the last 25 years:
Chase Utley (2014): Lest we forget, Phillies fans used to pack Citizens Bank Park. In the mid-2000s, it became South Philly’s place to be for hot summer fun. And just before that train completely jumped the track, the fans that packed CBP in 2014 voted Chase Utley to the all-star game. By Utley’s standards, it had been a somewhat mild first half (.293/.349/.445, 8 HR), but it was a tribute to Utley for his years of dedicated Phillies service.
Dominic Brown (2013): Dominic Brown, the untouchable prospect in every trade discussion the team had in its 2007-11 run, had one good stretch in his career. It just so happened that this seven-week time period, the short-lived “Dom Brown Era,” happened to come in 2013 from late April to early June – the heart of all-star balloting and selection. It was an all-star-caliber run for sure in those 42 games: 17 HR, 41 RBI and a 1.061 OPS. It’s not as if these were dinks and dunks, either, as his .327 average lined up nicely with a .313 BABIP. After June 9, though, he was anything but an all-star, slowly morphing into the frustrating, all-or-nothing player we remember, with an OBP of .317 through the next 77 games. He never even came close to making another all-star game, and after two more seasons in Philadelphia – with .285 and .284 OBP in each respective year – he hasn’t again seen the majors.
Tyler Green (1995): Tyler Green is part of a long line of high-draft pick failures that dot recent Phillies history. But in the first half of 1995 he looked all of the No. 8 pick in the 1991 draft that he was. His vaunted knuckle-curve was on full display to an 8-4 record with a 2.81 ERA and an all-star appearance. Both those numbers were classic examples of why wins and ERA don’t tell the story of a pitcher, as he walked 41 batters in just 96 innings. That caught up with him in the second half, as he went 0-5 with a 10.68 ERA, walking an astonishing 25 batters and giving up 77 hits in about 45 innings – good enough for a WHIP of 2.284 before hitting the disabled list and missing all of 1996. He played just two more years in the majors and never once looked as good as he did in the first half of 1995 – even if that first half wasn’t really that good anyway.
Mariano Duncan (1994): Duncan was an integral part of the National League Championship team of 1993. Without him, it’s debatable as to whether the Phillies win the East, let alone make the World Series. There. That’s out of the way. Now … what the heck were we doing voting him into the 1994 All-Star Game? He only triple-slashed .265/.310/.402 for the first half, so it’s not as if he was lighting the world on fire. And we voted him in? Over Hall of Freaking Famer Craig Biggio? Umm, sorry baseball. Our bad.
Who are we missing?