22 July 2013

Most Consecutive Seasons Having Only One All-Star

Did this research tonight after wondering if the current Astros have a chance to break the record for most consecutive seasons sending the bare minimum amount of players to the All-Star game. Apparently not -- or at least, not any time soon:

Longest Consecutive Streak of Having Only One All-Star 
(per team, minimum 5 years)

Brewers: 10 (89-98)
Mariners: 10 (77-86)*
Twins: 10 (78-87)
Senators/Rangers: 10 (61-68)* +
Padres: 9 (68-77)*
Tigers: 9 (95-03)
Royals: 9 (04-12)
Expos: 9 (69-77)*
Devil Rays: 8 (00-07)
Blue Jays: 7 (77-83)*
Mets: 7 (62-67)* +
Pirates: 7 (49-55)**
Orioles: 6 (06-11)
Phillies: 6 (68-73)
White Sox: 5 (76-80)
Athletics: 5 (05-09)
Reds: 5 (05-09)

+There were two All-Star games in 1961/62 and the Senators sent one player to each in both years. The Mets were formed a year later in 1962 and sent one man (Richie Ashburn) to each game in that year.

*Streak begins in expansion year
**Particularly amazing considering there were only like 8 teams in the National League at the time

Some things to take away... 

First, expansion teams have tended to struggle in catching up to the rest of the pack, though none of the four most recent additions -- the (Devil) Rays, Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Marlins -- sport long streaks from their outset. This is because the D'Backs stumbled onto Randy Johnson in 1999, the Devil Rays managed to snag Jose Canseco the same year, the Rockies sported the mid-90s Blake Street Bombers, and the Marlins managed two all-stars (Bobby Bonilla, Brian Harvey) in their first season. Expansion was probably an easier racket in 1993 than it was in 1961.

Second, it's much harder to sport a ton of All-Stars these days than it was in, say, 1940. This is because there are 15 teams in each league today as opposed to 8 back then. As I mentioned above, this makes the Pirates' 1949-55 stretch of All-Star singularity quite impressive (or depressive -- whatever). The National League only featured eight teams during that seven year period but the Pirates were so bad (or unpopular -- probably both) that they only sent one man to the Midsummer Classic in each of those seasons. 

I should make a note that All-Star squads in 1949 sported only 25 roster spots per league. In 2013, the American League named 41 All-Stars, though six of those were injury replacements. 
Thirty-five All-Stars for a 15-team league equals 2.33 All-Stars per team. 
Twenty-five all-stars for an 8-team league equals 3.12 All-Stars per team. 
Even 41 All-Stars, if we count the injured parties, comes out to 2.73 All-Stars per team. 

Basically, the 1949-1955 Pirates, who (surprise, surprise, Pirates fans) never put up a winning season, really sucked.

One final housekeeping note: there are plenty of teams like the Nats/Expos and Twins that had multiple 5-year stretches of only one all-star. I didn't want to clutter up my list though so I just took each franchise's longest.

Big Rob will have a post tomorrow.




  1. If memory serves, and that is a big if, the Dodgers infield of Garvey, Lopez, Russell, and Cey started an all-star game. I believe Reggie Smith also made that team as a Dodger.

  2. Doesn't look like Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey ever all made the team. You're probably thinking of 1978, where Russell was the only member of that fivesome to not go.


  3. it was 1980 but I was wrong. Cey didn't make the team.

    National League[edit]

    Elected Starters




    All-Star Games

    C Johnny Bench Reds 13
    1B Steve Garvey Dodgers 7
    2B Davey Lopes Dodgers 3
    3B Ken Reitz Cardinals 1
    SS Bill Russell Dodgers 3
    OF Dave Kingman Cubs 3
    OF Dave Parker Pirates 3
    OF Reggie Smith Dodgers 7