The Royals have had a plethora of great All-Star moments the last few years. This is to look at those All-Stars who were less than deserving in the lean times.
It’s that time of year again. The time of year where you step outside and it feels like a sauna in Kansas City. A time of fireworks, barbecue, and recreation old-person softball.
It’s also the time when the best players in baseball come together to play an exhibition game called the All-Star Game. As a child, I always looked forward to the All-Star Game to watch the lone Royal playing in the game pitch or hit. Who can forget when Jermaine Dye was elected to start in 2000? Those who make the All-Star Game will forever have the label of All-Star. However, there have been a few who made it by default.
The Royals have also had some bad years. From 1990-2012, the Royals sent more than one player to the All-Star Game only twice (2000 and 2003). It is a Major League rule that every team must have representation to the game, even if they don’t deserve that. The Royals tested that rule more than once.
What follows is a list of the five worst Royals All-Stars in team history. First, let’s start with the Dishonorable Mention.
Dishonorable Mention: Ellie Rodriguez was the Royals first All-Star. He also was less than deserving, batting .260 with 2 home runs, 14 RBI, and 3 stolen bases for a WAR of 0.7. Jeff Montgomery was three-time All-Star and a Royals Hall of Famer, having retired with the Royals record for saves in a career (which still stands). However, his 1996 All-Star nomination was not deserving. He had an ERA of 4.20 and a 1-6 record with only 18 saves.
#5: Alcides Escobar, SS, 2015 (.290, 2 HR, 33 RBI, 5 SB)
You can make a case that Escobar doesn’t deserve to be on this list. He was elected by the fans in 2015. However, he provided very little pop and he didn’t steal a lot of base. He did win a Gold Glove in 2015, though and was vital to the Royals winning the World Series that year (he was the ALCS MVP and led off the World Series with an inside-the-park home run). However, his 0.6 WAR was low enough to make this list. He was also one of seven Royals to make the All-Star Game, with four being elected to start. Escobar did finish the game with one hit in two at-bats
#4: Mike MacDougal, CP, 2003 (3-3, 2.59 ERA, 24 SV)
This was a case of an exceptional first-half followed by a disaster of a second-half. The Royals were in the middle of their best season in roughly a decade and held a seven-game lead in the division at the All-Star break. MacDougal had pitched very well in the first-half, even garnering attention for Rookie of the Year. However, he only finished with 27 total saves. He was one of two Royals players to make the All-Star Game that season. He faded down the stretch along with the Royals, as they finished 83-79 and third place in the division. MacDougal did not pitch in the game.
#3: Cookie Rojas, 2B, 1974 (.289, 6 HR, 42 RBI, 6 SB)
Rojas is a Royals Hall-of-Famer and a great second baseman. He was a four-time All-Star and was one of their first superstars. However, his 1974 nomination was a curious decision. Rojas didn’t hit for a lot of power (though he does have one of the five All-Star game home runs for the Royals) and he didn’t steal a lot of bases. His WAR in 1974 was 0.3. He was one of three Royals to make the All-Star Game that year and this was his final All-Star Game appearance. He did not appear in the game.
#2: Mark Redman, SP, 2006 (6-4, 5.27 ERA)
This was the Royals hitting rock-bottom. They were in the middle of their third straight 100 loss season and their fourth in five years, they didn’t have any household names, and they had to have a representative. Enter Mark Redman, who had won a World Series in Florida, however, was a mediocre pitcher, at best, throughout his career. He won five games in June and, apparently, that was enough for White Sox manager, Ozzie Guillen, to add him to the roster. His second-half was about as good as his first-half (which doesn’t say much when your ERA is north of 5.00). As a Royals fan, it was embarrassing to see our guy among the best players in the game and really called into question the one representative per team rule. Mark did not appear in the game.
#1: Ken Harvey, 1B, 2004 (.305, 10 HR, 34 RBI, 1 SB)
Oh boy. Who can forget Ken Harvey? Harvey was a HUGE (his size forced that in all caps) liability defensively and he didn’t have that a person his size should have had. However, the Royals were in the middle of a very disappointing season and had just traded away their only All-Star, Carlos Beltran. Mike Sweeney, the Royals only other star, was injured. In stepped Ken Harvey, who is better known for getting stuck in the tarp at The K than being an All-Star. Harvey was so bad that he only played 12 games for the 2005 Royals (who lost 106 games) and finished in Independent League baseball with the Kansas City T-Bones. He is still the only Royals player to ever make the All-Star Game and have a WAR below 0.0 (-0.3). Harvey did appear in the game. He struck out in his only at-bat.
That’s my list. Agree or disagree, let us all agree that we’ve come a long way from the days of Ken Harvey and Mark Redman. Also, don’t forget to #VoteMoose and enjoy this summer’s All-Star Game and the second-half of the season.
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