Last summer, I wrote about some of the more obscure MLB All-Stars that came out of the 2010s. With the All-Star Game just three weeks away, now is a good time to take a look back even further into the past 20 years and reminisce about some more players who we forgot were All-Stars. Since every team needs a representative at the game, some of these players were the lone rep for an underperforming team, while others were one of many their squad sent. Some may argue this brings less meaning to the game, but it gives some unknown players a chance to shine in the national spotlight.
Obscure MLB All-Stars: 2001-2019
Joe Mays, RHP, MIN –– 2001
Joe Mays had a pretty unremarkable big-league career. He pitched to a 48-70 record with a 5.05 ERA/4.88 FIP (94 ERA+) while averaging just 4.6 K/9 across seven seasons. In 2001 though, Mays had a career year. At the All-Star Break, he was pitching to an 11-5 record with a 3.02 ERA and 1.112 WHIP in 122.1 innings. He would continue to pitch well in the second half, finishing the season with a 17-13 record, a 3.16 ERA/4.27 FIP (143 ERA+, which was best in the AL), and a 1.151 WHIP in 233.2 innings. This was Mays’ lone All-Star nod, as he was out of the majors by 2006 when he was 30 years old.
Mike Remlinger, LHP, ATL –– 2002
The 2002 Braves were a juggernaut, winning 101 games en route to their 11th straight division title. They sent four players to the All-Star Game –– Andruw Jones, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, and Mike Remlinger. At age 36, Remlinger had the best year of his career while serving as one of Smoltz’s set-up men. In the first half, Remlinger was 6-0 with a 1.48 ERA, 0.961 WHIP, and 46 strikeouts in 42.2 innings (9.7 K/9). He would continue to pitch well in the second half, finishing the year with a 1.99 ERA/2.79 FIP and 69 strikeouts in 68 innings (9.1 K/9). He would finish his career with a 3.90 ERA/4.23 FIP across 639 appearances, retiring after the 2006 season.
Robert Fick, OF, DET –– 2002
The 2002 Tigers were the exact opposite of what the Braves were. Detroit lost 106 games, ranking dead-last in the AL in runs scored and 11th in ERA.
Robert Fick was a journeyman outfielder who hit a modest .258/.328/.405 (95 OPS+) with 69 homers across 10 big-league seasons. He hit pretty well in the first half of the 2002 season though, batting .290/.352/.479 with 11 homers and 40 RBIs in 341 plate appearances. In the All-Star Game, Fick singled off Robb Nen and scored the game-tying run in the eighth inning. In the second half though, Fick hit just .245/.304/.378 with six homers and 23 RBIs. He only played one more full season in the majors and out of MLB by the end of the 2007 season.
Lance Carter, RHP, TB –– 2003
The 2003 Devil Rays lost 99 games and didn’t have much to get excited about pitching or hitting-wise. Lance Carter was the team’s closer, and he wasn’t even pitching that well at the All-Star Break. He sported a 4.05 ERA and 1.243 WHIP with 30 strikeouts and 15 saves in 46.2 innings (5.8 K/9), numbers that are average at best. Carter would finish the year with 26 saves and a 4.33 ERA/4.69 FIP in 79 innings. He would never again assume the closer’s role and in 2006, he was traded along with his successor, Danys Baez, to the Dodgers. Carter struggled so badly in 2006 that the Dodgers sent the former All-Star to Triple-A, and he would never appear in the majors again.
Ken Harvey, 1B, KC –– 2004
Ken Harvey was a fifth-round pick by the Royals in 1999 and he broke into the majors in 2001. In 2004, Harvey seemed to make some strides on a Royals team that went on to lose 104 games. In the first half, Harvey hit .305/.353/.452 with 10 homers, 13 doubles, and 34 RBIs in 317 plate appearances. He fell off badly in the second half though, hitting just .256/.311/.366 with three homers and 21 RBIs. Harvey actually finished the year as a below-average player with -0.2 rWAR and just a 96 OPS+. He only appeared in 12 games in 2005 and never played in MLB after that season.
Matt Clement, RHP, BOS –– 2005
Ahead of the 2005 season, Matt Clement signed a three-year contract with the reigning World Series champion Red Sox. Clement had never been much more than an average big-league pitcher, but his performance in the first half of 2005 earned him a spot in the All-Star Game. He had a 10-2 record with a 3.85 ERA, a 1.265 WHIP, and 97 strikeouts in 117 innings (7.5 K/9). In the second half though, Clement struggled to 5.72 ERA in 74 innings. His struggles continued in 2006 as he pitched to a 6.61 ERA in 65.1 innings. Clement never appeared in the majors after the 2006 season and was out of baseball by 2008 at the age of 33.
Justin Duchscherer, RHP, OAK –– 2005 and 2008
Justin Duchscherer is the only two-time All-Star on this list. After bouncing around a few organizations, Duchscherer began to excel as a reliever for the A’s. In the first half of the 2005 season, he had a 1.49 ERA and a 1.014 WHIP with four saves and 46 strikeouts in 48.1 innings (8.6 K/9). He continued to pitch well in the second half and had another strong season in 2006, serving primarily as a setup man for Huston Street.
After an injury-plagued 2007 season, the A’s moved Duchscherer into the starting rotation. He was Oakland’s best pitcher in the first half of the 2008 season, going 10-5 with a 1.82 ERA and a 0.865 WHIP with 66 strikeouts in 108.2 innings (5.5 K/9). Unfortunately, Duchscherer only made six starts in the second half, pitching to a 4.91 ERA in 33 innings. Duchscherer missed the entirety of the 2009 season due to injuries and depression and only made five starts in 2010 before injuries ultimately ended his MLB career.
Mark Redman, LHP, KC –– 2006
We have another player from a 100-plus loss Royals team here. Redman had a career ERA of 4.85 (93 ERA+) and wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire in 2006. He had a subpar 5.27 ERA and a 1.451 WHIP in 82 innings in the first half, but with the Royals having no players worthy of a selection, Redman was sent to Pittsburgh for the festivities. Redman also only had 32 strikeouts against 32 walks through that point in the season (3.5 K/9). He would pitch even worse in the second half, pitching to an ugly 6.14 ERA and a 1.718 WHIP in 85 innings.
George Sherrill, LHP, BAL –– 2008
The Orioles acquired Sherrill in the 2007-08 offseason in the infamous Erik Bedard trade. This is mainly remembered for bringing Adam Jones and Chris Tillman to Charm City. Much like Redman and Carter, Sherrill wasn’t pitching that well in the first half, but the Orioles needed a representative for the game. He had a 4.08 ERA and a 1.412 WHIP with 28 saves and 43 strikeouts in 39.2 innings at the All-Star Break. Sherrill had a disastrous second half, only recording three more saves and pitching to a horrendous 6.59 ERA. He would retire after the 2012 season, owning a career ERA of 3.77 and 56 saves.
Kevin Correia, RHP, PIT –– 2011
Correia and Joel Hanrahan were the two Pirates that were sent to Phoenix for the All-Star Game in 2011. After a hot start to the season, Correia cooled off considerably and by the time of the Midsummer Classic, his ERA was up to 4.01. His numbers were even worse after the All-Star Break, as he struggled to a 7.23 ERA in the second half before missing the entire month of September. Correia retired after the 2015 season with a career ERA of 4.62 (86 ERA+) across 13 seasons.
Brandon League, RHP, SEA –– 2011
Brandon League was one of the few bright spots for a Seattle team that lost 95 games. He was lights-out in the first half, saving 23 games with a 1.27 ERA and a 0.792 WHIP in 35.1 innings. His numbers dipped in the second half though as he struggled to a 4.85 ERA and a 1.462 WHIP with just 14 strikeouts in 26 innings (4.8 K/9). League pitched well in 2012, but he struggled after signing a three-year contract with the Dodgers before the 2013 season. He would throw his last MLB pitch in 2014 before succumbing to shoulder injuries.
Brett Cecil, LHP, TOR –– 2013
After a few years of struggling as a starter, Brett Cecil broke out as a reliever in 2013. He had a 1.94 ERA and a 0.971 WHIP with 55 strikeouts in 46.1 innings in the first half (10.7 K/9). Much like the rest of this list though, Cecil’s performance in the second half took a nosedive. He only had a 5.65 ERA in 14.1 innings and had to miss time with injuries. After a few more solid seasons, Cecil signed a four-year contract with the Cardinals, but he underperformed and only pitched in two seasons for St. Louis.
Derek Norris, C, OAK –– 2014
The 2014 A’s got off to a rip-roaring start, owning the best record in MLB at the All-Star Break at 59-36. Derek Norris was one of seven players Oakland sent to Minnesota for that year’s Midsummer Classic. He hit a strong .294/.402/.477 with eight homers, 12 doubles, and 37 RBIs in 235 plate appearances in the first half. Norris began to see his playing time diminish in the second half though and he hit just .245/.314/.324 as Oakland’s division lead slipped away to the Angels. That offseason, the A’s traded Norris to the Padres and he last played in the majors in 2017.
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