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Fun Cards: 1988 American League All-Star Pitchers

Sweet Music

Sweet Music

“Sweet Music” Frank Viola was 14-2 at the All-Star break in 1988, making him the easy choice to start the game for the American League. He pitched two innings and earned the victory.

Clemens

Clemens

“The Rocket” Roger Clemens was next up for the AL, and retired all three batters he faced.

Gubicza

Gubicza

Mark Gubicza was the first American League pitcher to enter the game that didn’t have a cool nickname. He was also the first (and only) to let the National League score; Vince Coleman came home on a wild pitch in the 4th.

Stieb

Stieb

Should Dave Stieb be in the Hall of Fame? I think not, but there are a lot of Stieb stumpers out there. He appeared in seven ASGs in his career, but only tallied 176 victories over 16 seasons.

Russell

Russell

Jeff Russell was the “player to be named later” in the 1985 Reds-Rangers trade that saw Buddy Bell come to Cincinnati.

Cleveland Jones

Cleveland Jones

Doug Jones had a breakout season in 1988; it was the first of five seasons in which he saved at least 30 games, and his first of five All-Star Games.

Plesac

Plesac

When I started collecting baseball cards, Dan Plesac seemed to be in every discount store box set. He had a solid 18-year career, but nothing that would have warranted his inclusion in so many “Young Superstar” and “Hottest Players”-type sets.

Eckersley

Eckersley

Dennis Eckersley was the only Hall of Fame pitcher on the American League roster. Of course, Clemens would have been enshrined long ago if he hadn’t derailed his chances by getting caught using performance enhancers.

Reardon

Reardon

Two pitchers were on the American League roster but didn’t get into the game. The first is the manager’s own closer, Jeff Reardon. I wonder if players get mad when they don’t get to play, or if the experience of being there is enough.

Alexander

Alexander

Doyle Alexander started his big league career in 1971 and was named an All-Star for the first time in 1988. He did not get an opportunity to take the mound.

The best Blue Jays outside of Cooperstown

When I think of the Blue Jays, I think of their awesome 1980s uniforms in contrast to their boring duds worn today. There are some players that immediately come to mind as well, such as Dave Stieb, Jimmy Key, and Tony Fernandez. It was no surprise that those players were among the ones selected to the Blue Jays’ All-Time NON-HOF by position team on baseball-fever.com.

Among the players on my ballot, I believe McGriff and Alomar should be in the Hall of Fame already, and Alomar will almost certainly get the call in January. McGriff, on the other hand, will have some more campaigning to do.

My picks:
C: Darrin Fletcher
1B: Fred McGriff
2B: Roberto Alomar
SS: Tony Fernandez
3B: Kelly Gruber
LF: George Bell
CF: Devon White
RF: Joe Carter
sub1: John Olerud
sub2: Jesse Barfield
LHP: Jimmy Key
SP: Dave Stieb
SP: Juan Guzman
RP: Tom Henke
sub3: Cliff Johnson

The top picks of the BBF think tank:
C: Ernie Whitt
1B: Fred McGriff
2B: Roberto Alomar
SS: Tony Fernandez
3B: Kelly Gruber
LF: George Bell
CF: Devon White
RF: Jesse Barfield
LHP: Jimmy Key
P: Dave Stieb
P: Pat Hentgen
P: Doyle Alexander
RP: Tom Henke
sub1: John Olerud
sub2: Joe Carter

This is a pretty formidable team if you ask me. There are a lot of really good but not great players that passed through Toronto, and there was agreement on several of the positions. Alomar, Fernandez, Stieb and Key were all unanimous selections, while Henke was named on all but one ballot.

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