Best MLB Players to Never Make an All-Star Team
There are few individual honors in sports as cherished as making an All-Star team. It is both affirmation and recognition that your performance is being noticed. While athletes who go on to play in multiple All-Star games may think nothing of getting selected, those players who only get the chance to play in one game never forget the moment they’re told they made the team.
But despite MLB’s efforts to accommodate more players by expanding All-Star rosters, obviously, not everyone can be an All-Star. Deserving players can get left off the team for many different reasons, such as playing for a losing team or simply not having enough name recognition.
Other reasons include playing a crowded position already loaded with All-Stars or simply being a second-half player whose first-half stats don’t warrant a selection.
We’ve sifted through nearly 90 years of All-Star rosters since the first MLB All-Star Game was played in 1933 and picked out the best non-All-Stars in MLB history.
30. Eric Chavez
Position: Third baseman
Career: 17 seasons (1998-2014)
Teams: Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks
Stats: .268 BA, 260 HR, 902 RBI
Bottom Line: Eric Chavez
From 2000-06, Chavez averaged 28 home runs, 94 RBI and won six Gold Gloves at the hot corner. You would think that would warrant consideration for the All-Star Game, but consideration was apparently all Chavez received.
It’s understandable that he lost out to fellow AL third basemen like Cal Ripken Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, but it’s not as easy to fathom him losing out to the likes of Morgan Ensberg and Shea Hillenbrand.
Note: All stats for active players are updated through Aug. 3, 2023.
29. LaTroy Hawkins
Career: 21 seasons (1995-2015)
Teams: Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays
Stats: 1,042 G, 75 W, 127 SV
Bottom Line: LaTroy Hawkins
When you’re a reliever, it’s tough to get an All-Star nod if you’re simply a setup guy and not a closer who racks up saves. But a couple of those types of pitchers usually make their ways onto an All-Star Game roster each year.
However, Hawkins wasn’t one of them, even though he pitched in the 10th most games in MLB history and posted a sub-3.00 ERA during an eight-year stretch from 2002-09.
28. David Peralta
Career: 10 seasons (2014-present)
Teams: Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers
Stats: .281 BA, 117 HR, 524 RBI
Bottom Line: David Peralta
For most players on this list, they fall short in one specific area that kept them from All-Star teams. For example, a player might be a good hitter but can’t field his position or vice versa. That isn’t the case with Peralta, who won a Silver Slugger in 2018 and then a Gold Glove in 2019. Yet, neither of those seasons resulted in an All-Star Game appearance.
Peralta’s .281 career average is the highest among all active players without an All-Star appearance, and he hit .300 in 2020. However, that was also the pandemic-shortened season, and no All-Star Game took place that year.
27. Delino DeShields
Position: Second baseman
Career: 13 seasons (1990-2002)
Teams: Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs
Stats: 1,548 H, 80 HR, 463 SB
Bottom Line: Delino DeShields
Also a candidate for MLB’s All-Name Team, Delino DeShields was one of the best leadoff men of the 1990s. He finished among the top eight in stolen bases 10 times during his career and also used his speed to lead the NL in triples in 1997. While he only hit .268 for his career, DeShields hit at least .290 in five different seasons and also generated a fair amount of walks.
But when you play in the Golden Age of leadoff hitters alongside Rickey Henderson, Craig Biggio, Kenny Lofton and others, you can come up short when it comes to All-Star honors.
26. Tom Candiotti
Career: 16 seasons (1983-84, 1986-99)
Teams: Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics
Stats: 151 W, 3.73 ERA, 1,735 K
Bottom Line: Tom Candiotti
The rare undrafted Big Leaguer, Candiotti got his pro start in Canada before being sold to an MLB team. He established himself in the 1980s as a good player for a bad Cleveland team and is best known for being a knuckleball pitcher. He finally started to get more notoriety with the Dodgers when, from 1992-96, he posted a 3.57 ERA.
That was the fourth-best mark in the NL over that span only behind the Braves’ Hall of Fame trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Those three also combined for 10 All-Star appearances during that stretch, which is 10 more than the Candy Man had his entire career.
25. John Valentin
Career: 11 seasons (1992-2002)
Teams: Boston Red Sox, New York Mets
Stats: .279 BA, 124 HR, 558 RBI
Bottom Line: John Valentin
Perennially underrated by the national media but not by Boston writers, Valentin holds a dubious distinction that’s fitting for this list. In 1995, he posted 8.3 WAR, which led all position players, but did not make the All-Star Game. It is the highest single-season WAR by any offensive player who did not get an invite to the Midsummer Classic that season.
But Valentin was more than just a one-hit wonder, as he was a five-tool player who was elite at shortstop before shifting over and becoming an elite third baseman. The only hardware on his shelf is winning a Silver Slugger award during that 1995 season.
24. Garry Maddox
Career: 15 seasons (1972-86)
Teams: San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies
Stats: .285 BA, 117 HR, 248 SB
Bottom Line: Garry Maddox
Nicknamed the “Secretary of Defense,” Maddox won eight straight Gold Gloves from 1975-82. At 6-foot-3, his lanky legs allowed him to get to balls that others simply couldn’t, and his defense inspired the quote, “Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the other one-third by Garry Maddox.”
Maddox also hit .296 during that stretch and averaged 10 homers and 26 stolen bases per season. However, Maddox also had the unfortunate task of replacing Willie Mays as the Giants’ center fielder, and that may have led to some disdain from All-Star voters.
23. Chris Hoiles
Career: 10 seasons (1989-98)
Teams: Baltimore Orioles
Stats: .262 BA, 151 HR, 449 RBI
Bottom Line: Chris Hoiles
MLB has a somewhat controversial rule in which every team must have at least one player selected to the All-Star Game each year. That rule cost Hoiles a selection in 1993, and to add more salt to the wound, that year’s All-Star Game took place in his home ballpark in Baltimore, Maryland. He was hitting .300 with 18 home runs when it came time for the manager to make his selections, but Cito Gaston was forced to choose Terry Steinbach of the Athletics to comply with MLB’s every team rule.
Steinbach was also hitting .300 at the time but had just seven homers and was playing for a team with a worse record. Hoiles would never be under serious consideration for the game in any other season in his career.
22. John Tudor
Career: 12 seasons (1979-90)
Teams: Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers
Stats: 3.12 ERA, 117-72 (.619 W-L%), 988 K
Bottom Line: John Tudor
Tudor was a good pitcher who had a great season that went unrecognized in 1985. He threw an astounding 10 shutouts, which remains the most by any player since 1969, and Tudor also finished second in wins (21) and ERA (1.93). However, that season also coincided with Doc Gooden’s magical year, as Tudor finished runner-up in Cy Young voting and was completely overlooked in All-Star voting.
Tudor would have some other nice years but nothing close to ’85, as his 10 shutouts that year were more than what he had in his other 11 seasons combined.
21. Juan Pierre
Career: 14 seasons (2000-13)
Teams: Colorado Rockies, Florida/Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies
Stats: .295 BA, 2,217 H, 614 SB
Bottom Line: Juan Pierre
All-Star Games have leadoff hitters, too, but Pierre — one of the most consistent leadoff men of his era — was never invited. His 614 stolen bases are the second-most in MLB history for a player with no All-Star game selections since the game was established in 1933. He hit .300 five times, led the league in stolen bases three times and suited up for all 162 games each year from 2003-07.
But his 18 career home runs are all some people looked at, so Pierre was forced to watch the Midsummer Classic at home.
20. Andrelton Simmons
Career: 11 seasons (2012-22)
Teams: Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, Chicago Cubs
Stats: .263 BA, 70 HR, 72 SB
Bottom Line: Andrelton Simmons
Apparently, All-Star voters really dig the long ball. Thus, Simmons continues to come out on the short end when it comes to the Midsummer Classic because his all-world defense has gone overlooked. He is considered, perhaps, the greatest defensive shortstop of all time, and his metrics even put him above the great Ozzie Smith. However, he’s hit above .281 just once in his career and has never cleared 17 homers or 75 RBI.
Perhaps Simmons can look at Mark Belanger as inspiration, as the longtime Orioles shortstop was also known for his glove — and only his glove. Belanger was a career .228 hitter but was able to make one All-Star team after a dozen years in the majors.
19. Dwayne Murphy
Career: 12 seasons (1978-89)
Teams: Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies
Stats: 1,069 H, 166 HR, 100 SB
Bottom Line: Dwayne Murphy
While putting up impressive stats gives you a good chance at making an All-Star Game, putting up impressive stats on a winning team gives you the best chance of making a Midsummer Classic. The latter is where Murphy fell short as he came along at the wrong time for the Athletics. He joined the team right after its early- to mid-1970s run of three straight World Series championships, and he left the team right before its late 1980s run of three straight World Series appearances.
Murphy played for just one winning team during his decade in Oakland, so his solid numbers went unnoticed.
18. Cesar Geronimo
Career: 15 seasons (1969-83)
Teams: Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals
Stats: 977 H, 51 HR, 82 SB
Bottom Line: Cesar Geronimo
The forgotten man of the Big Red Machine, Geronimo was the defensive stalwart for those great Reds teams in the 1970s. He collected lots of hardware, including four Gold Gloves and two World Series rings but never got the honor of being selected to an All-Star team, making him the only of those iconic Reds to not do so.
Geronimo did have the dubious honor of making history on two occasions as he was the 3,000th strikeout victim of both Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan, to which he joked, “I was just in the right place at the right time.”
17. Travis Hafner
Position: Designated hitter
Career: 12 seasons (2002-13)
Teams: Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees
Stats: .273 BA, 213 HR, 731 RBI
Bottom Line: Travis Hafner
Hafner had a brief run as arguably the game's best D, but has no All-Star recognition to show for it. He averaged 32 homers, 108 RBI and posted a .296 average from 2004-07.
However, this was also a time when the only time a DH was used in the ASG was when the game was set in an AL ballpark. Unfortunately for Hafner, only one of those four years had the ASG in a DH-eligible location, and David Ortiz and Mark Sweeney got the nods. Hafner can always say he received more MVP votes than the likes of Derek Jeter and Jim Thome, but he can't call himself an MLB All-Star.
16. Lenny Harris
Position: Pinch hitter/utility player
Career: 18 seasons (1988-2005)
Teams: Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Florida Marlins
Stats: .269 BA, 1,055 H, 131 SB
Bottom Line: Lenny Harris
It’s a minor role in baseball because there are many games in which it doesn’t even apply, but the pinch-hit role was mastered by Harris. He accumulated 212 pinch hits during his career, which is the most in MLB history.
But before he became a pinch-hit specialist, Harris was an everyday player who had great defensive versatility, as he could play all over the diamond. He played every — literally, every — position on the field and logged at least 200 innings at all positions except catcher and center fielder. He also had some speed for someone only known for his bat; Harris posted double-digit stolen bases seven different seasons.
15. Kevin Kiermaier
Career: 11 seasons (2013-present)
Teams: Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays
Stats: 87 HR, 340 RBI, 123 SB
Bottom Line: Kevin Kiermaier
If there’s one aspect of baseball that doesn’t get enough consideration when it’s time to make All-Star picks it would be defense. That is Kiermaier’s specialty, but unfortunately, it doesn’t make his name appear at the top of many ballots.
Kiermaier is a three-time Gold Glove winner and was also the first centerfielder to win the Platinum Glove award. He doesn’t carry a huge bat but has been serviceable at the plate and on the basepaths, as he’s posted double-digit homers five times and double-digit stolen bases five times.
14. Gene Garber
Career: 19 seasons (1969-70, 1972-88)
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves
Stats: 931 G, 218 SV, 96 W
Bottom Line: Gene Garber
Garber was one of the game's best closers during the 1970s and ’80s but closers — and saves — weren't as appreciated back then as they are now. And Garber wasn't getting one-inning saves like many of today's closers, as he would pitch sometimes up to four innings to lock down a game.
When he retired after the 1988 season, Garber ranked eighth all-time in saves and fifth in games pitched. But all of the players ahead of him on both of those lists received All-Star recognition, unlike Garber.
13. Matt Stairs
Career: 19 seasons (1992-93, 1995-2011)
Teams: Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals
Stats: .262 BA, 265 HR, 899 RBI
Bottom Line: Matt Stairs
Stairs’ career year came in 1999 when he smacked 38 home runs and drove in 102 RBI but was naturally overlooked in a year where multiple guys were hitting 60 home runs. He had several other 20 home-run seasons, but Stairs was primarily known for settling into the role of a specialist off the bench.
As such, his 23 pinch-hit home runs are the most in MLB history, and the knack for hitting clutch homers allowed him to stay in the majors until he was 43 years old. It also led to this great marketing slogan by the Phillies when Stairs played for them: “In Case of Emergency, Use Stairs.”
12. Taffy Wright
Position: Right fielder
Career: 9 seasons (1938-42, 1946-49)
Teams: Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Athletics
Stats: .311 BA, 1,115 H, 38 HR
Bottom Line: Taffy Wright
You see someone with a lifetime .311 average and wonder if he’s in the Hall of Fame, but forget that distinction, as Wright couldn’t even get an All-Star invite. He actually hit .328 thru his first five MLB seasons before military service kept him off the diamond for 3.5 years.
When he returned at 34 years old in 1946, Wright hit just .286, as his skills had declined. But something seems amiss in that he couldn’t nab an All-Star selection during his pre-war career.
11. Orlando Hernandez
Career: 9 seasons (1998-2002, 2004-07)
Teams: New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets
Stats: 90-65 (.581 W-L%), 4.13 ERA, 1,086 K
Bottom Line: Orlando Hernandez
Nicknamed "El Duque", Hernandez was one of the best postseason pitchers of his era. He compiled a 9-3 record and 2.55 ERA across 106 postseason innings, including five World Series.
However, none of that matters when it comes to All-Star voting, and El Duque was merely above average during the regular season. He also didn't benefit from having a lengthy career on his side, as he defected from Cuba in his 30s and made his MLB debut at 32 years old.
10. Tony Phillips
Position: Utility player
Career: 18 seasons (1982-99)
Teams: Oakland Athletics, Detroit Tigers, California/Anaheim Angels, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets
Stats: 2,023 H, 160 HR, 177 SB
Bottom Line: Tony Phillips
A player ahead of his time, Phillips’ game would likely be much more appreciated now than when he played in the 1980s and ’90s. He was an on-base machine who twice led the league in walks at a time when baseball personnel cared more about batting average. He was also a good fielder who played all over the diamond, as he logged over 500 innings at six different positions.
Even in his last season at the age of 40, he was still an all-around player with 15 home runs and 11 stolen bases with an OPS near .800. Perhaps the arrest for buying cocaine he had played a part in him never being an All-Star?
9. Rick Porcello
Career: 12 seasons (2009-20)
Teams: Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets
Stats: 150-125 (.545 W-L%), 4.40 ERA, 1,561 K
Bottom Line: Rick Porcello
During the 2010s, the entire list of pitchers with more wins than Rick Porcello only needs one name to be identified: Scherzer, Verlander, Kershaw, Greinke, Lester, Price. Those six combined for 36 All-Star Game selections during the 2010s, while Porcello never got to attend the Midsummer Classic.
That is despite him winning the 2016 AL Cy Young, as he led the league with 22 wins and a 5.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That Cy Young win, however, was quite controversial because Porcello edged out Justin Verlander quite to the dismay of Verlander’s wife, model Kate Upton.
8. Wes Parker
Position: First baseman
Career: 9 seasons (1964-72)
Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers
Stats: .267 BA, 1,110 H, 64 HR
Bottom Line: Wes Parker
Parker was unlucky in that he played on the same Dodgers teams as Bill Russell, Willie Davis, Maury Wills and three Hall of Fame pitchers. Thus, he was often overlooked despite being one of the biggest factors to the team’s success. He was elite defensively and won six Gold Gloves at first base, while also being an above-average hitter.
His best year at making an All-Star Game came in 1970 when he hit .319, led the NL with 47 doubles, drove in a career-high of 111 runs and finished fifth in MVP voting. Alas, no All-Star Game selection.
7. Eric Karros
Position: First baseman
Career: 14 seasons (1991-2004)
Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics
Stats: .268 BA, 284 HR, 1,027 RBI
Bottom Line: Eric Karros
It's usually players in small markets that get overlooked for All-Star Games, which makes longtime Dodger Eric Karros' omission quite noticeable. He spent 11 years as the Dodgers' first baseman and averaged 25 homers and 89 RBI per year.
Those are solid numbers, and you would think that in at least one of those 11 years, Karros would get selected for the All-Star Game. But the likes of first basemen like Jeff Bagwell, Fred McGriff and Mark McGwire gobbled up those ASG roster spots.
6. Carlos Carrasco
Career: 14 seasons (2009-11, 2013-present)
Teams: Cleveland Indians, New York Mets
Stats: 107-91 (.540 W-L%), 4.01 ERA, 1,559 K
Bottom Line: Carlos Carrasco
The Venezuelan sensation has led the league in wins, won the Roberto Clemente Award and been named AL Comeback Player of the Year. But he's still looking for his first call to the Midsummer Classic after a dozen years in the bigs.
A large part of Carrasco being overlooked for the ASG are the number of high-profile pitching teammates he's had who have gotten nods over him. Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Shane Bieber are just a few of the Cleveland pitchers who have had their numbers called for the All-Star Game over Carrasco.
5. John Denny
Career: 13 seasons (1974-86)
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds
Stats: 123-108 (.532 W-L%), 3.59 ERA, 1,146 K
Bottom Line: John Denny
Since the All-Star Game is at (roughly) the halfway point of the MLB season, everything that happens in the second half of the season doesn’t factor into consideration for the game. And that explains why Denny never made the Midsummer Classic.
The right-handed pitcher had two standout years in his career — in 1976 when he led the NL in ERA and in 1983 when he led the NL in wins on the way to winning the Cy Young. But in ’76, Denny was simply average in the first half of the season, as he posted a 3.28 ERA, only to then post a 1.75 ERA over the second half. The 1983 season followed a similar script as Denny went 6-4 before the All-Star Game and then 13-2 afterwards. All-Star recognition is just hard to come by for guys who start the season slowly.
4. Kyle Hendricks
Career: 10 seasons (2014-present)
Teams: Chicago Cubs
Stats: 3.46 ERA, 91-66 (.580 W-L%), 1,127 K
Bottom Line: Kyle Hendricks
As one of two active pitchers on this list, there’s still a chance that Hendricks could get off this list. But his success thus far hasn’t been rewarded despite him getting Cy Young votes in multiple seasons. He led the NL with a 2.13 ERA during the Cubs’ World Series-winning 2016 season, but Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta were the Cubs’ pitchers to get All-Star nods.
In total, five different Cubs pitchers have made the All-Star Game during Hendricks’ tenure in Chicago. If he’s able to get the honor at some point, then Hendricks will become just the fourth Dartmouth grad to be named an All-Star.
3. Danny Darwin
Career: 21 seasons (1978-98)
Teams: Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants
Stats: 171 W, 1,942 K, 3.84 ERA
Bottom Line: Danny Darwin
Nicknamed “Dr. Death,” Darwin's teams were usually killed during the summer, as he never played in a postseason game. That's despite a magical run from 1989-90 when he went 11-4 in both seasons, finishing third in ERA in '89 and then leading the NL in ERA in '90. He was then just as impressive three years later in 1993 when he led the AL in WHIP and set a career-high in WAR.
Darwin, a native of Texas, spent two-thirds of his career with the Rangers or Astros at a time when neither Texas team was good. Perhaps, if he was willing to leave his home state during his prime, then he would have been rewarded with an All-Star appearance.
2. Kirk Gibson
Career: 17 seasons (1979-95)
Teams: Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates
Stats: 255 HR, 870 RBI, 284 SB
Bottom Line: Kirk Gibson
If anyone on this list deserves an asterisk, it’s Gibson. That’s because he was invited to the All-Star Game twice — 1985, 1988 — but declined each time. Thus, there are no All-Star appearances on his resume, but there is an MVP award in ’88.
That year, Gibby hit .290 with 25 home runs, 76 RBI and 31 stolen bases. But he’s best remembered for what he did in the World Series that year, as an injured Gibson hit a pinch-hit, walk-off homer and limped around the bases to an iconic call by Jack Buck.
1. Tim Salmon
Position: Right fielder
Career: 14 seasons (1992-2004, 2006)
Teams: California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels
Stats: .282 BA, 299 HR, 1,016 RBI
Bottom Line: Tim Salmon
Prior to Mike Trout passing him in 2020, Salmon was the Angels’ all-time leader in home runs (299). That home-run total still is at the top of one list, though, and that’s the most home runs for any player to never make an All-Star Game since the game’s inception in 1933.
Salmon did win AL Rookie of the Year and was top 10 in MVP voting several times. But he was often overshadowed by fellow Angels’ outfielders like Jim Edmonds, Garret Anderson, Darrin Erstad and Vladimir Guerrero, all of whom were All-Stars during Salmon’s tenure.