Athletics Nation is proud to bring you the All-Star coverage you crave. We will honor past and present stars in a two-day extravaganza that won't end until the final out of Tuesday's Midsummer Classic.
Today we look back at the most notable Oakland A's who have appeared in the All-Star Game.
We'll follow that up with a Home Run Derby thread featuring the American League's Nelson Cruz, Brandon Inge, Joe Mauer, and former "A" Carlos Pena, who leads the junior circuit with 24 round-trippers. The National League sends a fearsome foursome of Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Howard, and Albert Pujos, the Major's premier slugger with 32 homeruns at the Break, and a genuine threat to win the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
Tomorrow we will review some A's highlights in past midseason contests, and then at 5pm PST, you are cordially invited to participate in the All-Star Game thread. Busch Stadium is home to this year's event.
No less than 59 Oakland Athletics have been named to the All-Star team since 1968, the A's first season in the East Bay. This includes 12 men who represented the A's as manager and/or coach (Dave Duncan is the only Athletic to appear as both player and coach).
As manager of the 1972 World Champion A's, Dick Williams was appointed to lead the American League squad in 1973 (he also served as a coach for the '72 All-Stars). Williams managed the team once more in '74, but as a representative of the California Angels (he had quit the A's following the '73 Series). Alvin Dark, who took the A's to a third straight title in 1974, earned the honor of managing the next season's All-Star team, and brought along coach Wes Stock.
The All-Star clubs are typically managed by the previous World Series participants. One exception to that rule came in 1982 when Billy Martin was asked to lead the American Leaguers in 1982. Bob Lemon, who would have gotten the job, was fired by the Yankees 14 games into the '82 season, and never worked another big-league dugout. Art Fowler and Jackie Moore coached alongside Martin, with the latter serving in the same capacity for the 1984 team.
A second A's dynasty in the late ‘80's meant more managerial and coaching assignments for the Green-and-Gold. After pairing up with fellow A's coach Rene Lachemann for the 1987 All-Star Game (held in Oakland), Tony La Russa took the lead role for three straight season beginning in 1989. La Russa made sure to surround himself with A's coaches: Dave Duncan (1989-91), Art Kusnyer (‘89), Dave McKay ('90), Lachemann and Tommie Reynolds ('91). Art Howe (coach, 1998) was the last A's manager or coach to earn an All-Star invite.
There have been 47 Oakland A's players whose first-half performances over the years have allowed them to join the American League's elite at the All-Star Game. Those players have combined for 99 appearances (though not all of them saw actual playing time), including 30 starting assignments.
No player has represented the A's more times than Mark McGwire, who was selected to nine gatherings of baseball's greatest players. Reggie Jackson and Rickey Henderson made six trips each to the July event, followed by Bert Campaneris and Jose Canseco (5).
There are 27 A's who have been selected to just one All-Star Game, including this year's honoree Andrew Bailey. Other current A's to make the team are Justin Duchscherer (2006, '08) and Jason Giambi (2000-01).
Surprisingly, Dave Stewart, the A's ace from 1987-92, appeared in only one Midsummer Classic (1989), and Eric Chavez has never been.
Proof of Oakland's pitching prowess is in the 22 moundsmen who have been selected a total of 40 times to the All-Star Game. Six pitchers - Vida Blue (1971 and ‘75), Jim Hunter ('73), Stewart ('89), Bob Welch ('90), Mark Mulder ('04), and Dan Haren ('07) - have earned starting spots, while two others have recorded saves - Dennis Eckersley (1988, '90, and '91) and Keith Foulke (2003).
A's hurlers have hardly been lights out in these games; in 36 innings, they have allowed 25 earned runs, a 6.25 ERA.
Oakland hitters have done little to earn high praise: 25 hits in 103 at-bats, a .243 average. Only Reggie Jackson (1971) and Terry Steinbach (1988) have homered for the A's in an All-Star Game. More on their performances in tomorrow's write-up.
Post-season success for the A's has often translated to All-Star appearances; such is the luxury of having their manager influence the selection of non-starters. Oakland sent six players each season from 1972-74, and a record seven A's were chosen to attend the 1975 All-Star Game, including five starters. Reggie Jackson was voted by the fans to start in four consecutive classics (1972-75).
The A's had five representatives each year from 1988-91. Mark McGwire joined Jackson has the only "A" to earn at least three straight All-Star starts (1988-90), as voted by the fans. More recently the A's have had three years where multiple players have been named: 2000 (Giambi, Hudson, Isringhausen), '02 (Tejada, Zito), '03 (Foulke, Hernandez, Mulder, Zito), and '04 (Hudson, Mulder).
Alas, this marks the fifth consecutive season that the A's have had one lone representative, and they have all been pitchers. Ramon Hernandez is the last position player chosen (catcher, 2003).