No walk down all-star memory lane would be complete for a franchise with such a sorry history as the Phillies wihout a passing acknowledgement of those courageous souls who represented the Phillies at the all-star game by going stag. Narrowed down to the truly lean years - during which lone Phillies who were starters were excluded, since 1933 these players let the rest of the team rest in a whopping 24 different all-star games.
Some truly noteworthy eras stand out. First: 1937-1944, an 8-year skein during which, and with the one exception of 1940 (when, granted, three Phillies went, but none started) the Phillies sent one non-starter every year. Second: 1968-1973, a 6-year stretch of solo non-starting pitchers. Third: 1959-1963, a five-year span during which six Phillies went to the All-Star Game. Fourth: 1996-2001, a six-year period during which eight Phillies went, three of them in 1999, and only two position players: Mike Lieberthal (twice) and Jimmy Rollins.
But which were the most pitiful representatives, the proverbial last kids on the all-star sandlot? Well, we need a scale - let's call it an all-star system - in which we can qualify the performances thusly:
Ricky Bo's All-Star Phillies Rating Scale
* -Did not appear on field because he did not demonstrate the proper mental preparation or respect from his teammates or manager to warrant playing time.
** - Appeared on field but failed to do the little things that could have made it so much more than it was.
*** - Appeared on field and kept everything simple, and handled each situation as it came to him.
**** - Appeared on field and played the game the right way by doing those little things that most fans don't notice or understand and don't show up in the numbers or the box score or your little fantasy leagues.
***** - Appeared on field and contributed to the team's success by being a complete player.
In the interest of both time and our collective modern memory, I'll limit the analysis to all-stars since 1968. Whose baseball soliloquy rang out the clearest on the national midsummer stage and proved his Fightin' Phils mettle? Why, don't scratch your head wondering - have we got a shampoo for you if you are, though - the answers after the jump!
1968 - Woody Fryman, lhp: NL 1, AL 0. Fryman never made it into the game, earning him *, a.k.a. the Ricky Boo.
1969 - Grant Jackson, lhp: NL 9, AL 3. Jackson likewise never made it in. * for you!
1970 - Joe Hoerner, lhp: NL 5, AL 4 (12). Hoerner also did not emerge from the dugout or bullpen after pregame introductions. Given the extra-inning affair, Hoerner's pathos barely merited the *. And if he was in the bullpen, he probably didn't see the Rose-Fosse collision.
1971 - Rick Wise, rhp: AL 6, NL 4. Wise continued the string of *, no-need-to-shower-after-the- game Phillies appearances. I'm telling you, there was no need to go back to 1937 here. This franchise was truly butt-awful.
1972 - Steve Carlton, lhp: NL 4, AL 3 (10). The Phillies would need a bona fide Hall of Famer to end this pathetic string. In the midst of his unfathomable Cy Young season, Carlton faced three batters in the sixth. He began by walking Rod Carew, but getting Bobby Murcer to ground into a double play. Reggie Jackson also grounded out. ***** for Lefty! Huzzah!
1973 - Wayne Twitchell, rhp: NL 7, AL 1. Twitchell followed Carlton by also pitching a scoreless sixth. He gave up a double to John Mayberry, though, so needed four batters to do it. Nonetheless: ****
1991 - John Kruk, 1b: AL 4, NL 2. Behind Will Clark and Eddie Murray, the Krukker did not see the bright lights. *
1996 - Ricky Bottalico, rhp: NL 6, AL 0. Bottalico pitched a scoreless 5th inning in front of his hometown. He might have faced the minimum number of batters, but for Ken Caminiti's throwing error on Brady Anderson's grounder. Clearly, the NL manager should have left Chipper Jones in at third, but well, the guy left a lot to be desired. But for being a hometown hero and for preserving the shutout by overcoming his teammates' mistakes without being rattled or showing them up, no better reward than *****!
1997 - Curt Schilling, rhp: AL 3, NL 1. Schilling pitched eventful-yet-scoreless third and fourth innings for the NL, striking out Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey, Jr., stranding Brady Anderson, who hit a 1-out double, He allowed a single to Edgar Martinez in the fourth, who was caught stealing, and struck out Paul O'Neill to end the inning. A **** kinda night.
1998 - Curt Schilling, rhp: AL 13, NL 8. You would have thought an adventure like the year before would have merited more red-light treatment for Schilling, but alas, Tom Glavine and Ugeth Urbina were pounded into steroidal dust as our man Schill opened up a big bottle of Pine-Sol. *
2000 - Mike Lieberthal, c: AL 6, NL 3. Lieberthal may have had the most stunning solo Phillie all-star performance of all. After coming into the game and fouling out in the sixth, he led off the bottom of the 9th with a single that Nomar Garciaparra misplayed, and advanced to second. After a Brian Giles groundout, Steve Finley knocked him home to purty up the scoreboard a bit. And he did allow Matt Lawton to steal a base on him, though. ***
2003 - Randy Wolf, lhp: AL 7, NL 6. Altogether fitting that our look at the Phillies all-star lone wolves should conclude with Randy Wolf, whose 2003 appearance was the last time that the Phils were represented by one player, let alone a non-starter. Wolf gave up the first run of the game in the third when Ichiro Suzuki walked, and then Wolf threw a wild pitch to advance him to second. With two outs, Carlos Delgado singled Ichiro home. Wolf's NL teammates got him off the hook prior to Eric Gagne's eighth inning implosion gave the AL the win. **