Friday May 26

Institutions of the Game

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While the game doesn’t lend itself to individual stardom that say the NBA does, there are certain players from every generation that just exude all-star through and through.  The list of players who have been named to fifteen or more All-Star games is one of the most exclusive in all of sports, more so than the 3000 hit club, the 500 home run club, or the perfect game club.  While the election process is by no means an exact science, to be an All-Star year in and year out for that long takes more than just raw talent, more than just being the best player at your position in your league.  It’s a blend of consistency and durability combined with popularity and iconicism.  Playing in a big market like New York or Boston doesn’t hurt your chances either.  These players are institutions of the game.  The question is, is it getting harder to be that larger than life superstar in the currently constituted major leagues?  For one, the league has gotten progressively larger, making one’s ability to stick out and lock down All-Star spots far more difficult.  It's been eleven years since a player with fifteen or more All-Star games to his credit played in the big leagues (Ripken and Gwynn).  However, closing in are three long serving Yankees.  Will they be next to join this exclusive club?  A look at the 15+ club, and at which current players have hopes of one day joining those ranks.

MLB Players with 15+ All-Star Games To Their Credit
Hank Aaron 1954-1976   (25)
Willie Mays 1951-1973   (24)
Stan Musial 1941-1963   (24)
Mickey Mantle 1951-1968   (20) 
Cal Ripken 1981-2001   (19)
Ted Williams 1939-1960   (19) 
Rod Carew 1967-1985   (18)
Carl Yastrzemski 1961-1983   (18)  
Yogi Berra 1946-1965   (18) 
Al Kaline 1953-1974   (18)
Brooks Robinson 1955-1977   (18)
Pete Rose 1963-1986   (17)
Warren Spahn 1942-1965  (17)
Tony Gwynn 1982-2001   (15)
Ozzie Smith 1978-1996   (15)
Roberto Clemente 1955-1972 (15)
Nellie Fox 1947-1965 (15)

Next in Line?:
Alex Rodriguez 1994-2012  (14)
Derek Jeter 1995-2012   (13)
Mariano Rivera  1995-2012 (12)
Ichiro Suzuki 2001-2012  (10)
Albert Pujols 2001-2012   (9)   

Note: The first All-Star game was not played until 1933, which is why you won't see the likes of Babe Ruth or Cy Young in this club.

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