Hershiser Only Dodger Going to All-Star Game : Gibson Asks for a Break, Gets It; Ray Is Lone Angel
Lobbying for rest and rehabilitation over appointment to the National League All-Star team, Dodger outfielder Kirk Gibson got his wish Thursday when pitcher Orel Hershiser became the only member of the West Division leaders to be selected for Tuesday’s game in Cincinnati.
The Angels will be represented only by second baseman Johnny Ray on the American League team, since Manager Tom Kelly of the Minnesota Twins chose his own catcher, Tim Laudner, over Bob Boone, a sentimental possibility who also boasted solid statistics.
With fans having elected the starters, National League President Bart Giamatti and Manager Whitey Herzog of the St. Louis Cardinals completed their 28-man squad Thursday by selecting nine pitchers, seven infielders, three outfielders and a catcher. The Chicago Cubs, third in the National League East, will have six players on the team. Herzog’s Cardinals, fifth in the East, will have four, as will the New York Mets, who lead the East.
Kelly and American League President Bobby Brown selected 10 pitchers, eight infielders, two outfielders and a catcher. They chose an extra infielder because the listed starting shortstop, Alan Trammell of the Detroit Tigers, is on the disabled list with an elbow injury and will not play Tuesday. Kelly’s Twins, second in the West, and the Oakland Athletics, first in the West, both placed five players on the American League team.
Gibson, the Dodger catalyst who is batting .298 with 15 homers and 46 runs batted in, was among the selections Herzog submitted to the league office, according to the manager, but Gibson said he preferred having the time off and apparently asked Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda to speak with Herzog on his behalf.
“Kirk told me that his leg has been bothering him,” Lasorda said. “He’s been running, but not 100%. He said he wanted to have the time off to get treatment. I talked to Whitey. I think he would have been selected if he had felt his leg was 100%.”
Gibson will spend the three-day break in his hometown of Lapeer, Mich. He rejected interview requests Thursday and released the following statement through the Dodgers’ public relations office:
“I feel that each player selected to the All-Star team deserved that honor. Personally, I am focused on the success of our team this year. That has been and will continue to be my goal.”
Gibson has never appeared in an All-Star game. Sparky Anderson, his manager with the Detroit Tigers and the American League manager in 1985, submitted his name that year, too, but Gibson declined, establishing his pattern.
“There are people who like being stars, so let them shine,” he had told Vern Plagenhoef of the Booth newspaper chain Wednesday.
Herzog selected Willie McGee of the Cardinals, Andy Van Slyke of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Rafael Palmeiro of the Cubs as the outfield reserves behind starters Darryl Strawberry of the Mets, Andre Dawson of the Cubs and Vince Coleman of the Cardinals.
Asked if he were upset that only one Dodger had been selected, Lasorda said that John Shelby, Steve Sax and Mike Marshall were worthy of consideration, in addition to Gibson, but that it is a no-win proposition for the All-Star managers, who are forced to pick at least one player from every team and are bound to slight someone.
“I’ve managed three of those things and I know how tough it is,” Lasorda said, adding that he would not disenfranchise the fans and that, in fact, the best idea might be to let them pick the entire team, relieving managers of the inevitable repurcussions.
Said Hershiser, when asked if he was surprised to be the Dodgers only representative:
“On one hand it’s a slap in the face to a team that’s in first place and has been in first place for more days than any other team. On the other hand it’s a compliment in that no one player is having an unbelievably brilliant year and everybody is chipping in.
“You would think we’d be better represented, but it shows a team effort, and if a guy like John Shelby hadn’t been injured for a while, his statistics might be so good they would have had to pick him.”
Hershiser, who has a 13-3 record, said he was flattered to have been picked for a second time but that he has to make sure he keeps his “game face on” for Sunday’s start against the Pirates, deeming it more important than Tuesday’s All-Star game. The Sunday start will prevent Hershiser from starting Tuesday, but he said that he could be available for an inning since it is his normal day to throw.
“It depends on how I come out of Sunday’s start,” he said. “In any event I would be overlooking my responsibility to the Dodgers by pitching more than an inning because they want me to start again Friday.”
Of Herzog’s nine All-Star pitchers, Hershiser, Greg Maddux of the Cubs and David Cone of the Mets are all starting Sunday. Herzog said he will probably start Dwight Gooden of the Mets in Tuesday’s game.
His other pitchers include Bob Knepper of the Houston Astros, Danny Jackson of the Cincinnati Reds, Kevin Gross of the Philadelphia Phillies, Mark Davis of the San Diego Padres and Todd Worrell of the Cardinals.
Rick Reuschel of the San Francisco Giants declined his appointment because he is getting married during the All-Star break.
Behind a starting infield of Will Clark of the Giants, Ryne Sandberg of the Cubs, Ozzie Smith of the Cardinals and Bobby Bonilla of the Pirates, Herzog selected Barry Larkin and Chris Sabo of the Reds, Shawon Dunston and Vance Law of the Cubs, Gerald Perry of the Atlanta Braves, Robby Thompson of the Giants and Andres Galarraga of the Montreal Expos.
The Phillies’ Lance Parrish was selected as the backup catcher to Gary Carter of the Mets.
Boone’s candidacy in the American League was hurt by the fans’ selection of Terry Steinbach of the Athletics, a .214 hitter, as the starting catcher. Laudner is hitting .279 with 9 homers and 30 RBIs.
“He had the best numbers,” Kelly said of the backup candidates.
Boone is hitting .271 with 3 homers and 21 RBIs after going 1 for 4 in the Angels’ 7-1 win over Cleveland Thursday night. He has batted .451 in raising his average from .198 June 12.
Angel Manager Cookie Rojas said he had talked with Kelly about Boone’s credentials the last time he was in Minnesota and felt the 40-year-old Boone should have made it because of his contributions to baseball--he will catch his 2,000th game next week---and the way he raised his average.
“Kelly wanted to get his own guy on the team, but why not three catchers?” Rojas said. “His catcher (Laudner) is not going to catch 2,000 games, I guarantee you that. Boone deserves to be there.”
Boone said he wasn’t shattered, that he didn’t go into the season thinking about the All-Star game.
He cited the difficulties in selecting an All-Star team and said of Kelly’s choice of Laudner that “you want to make the guys on your own team happy before making other guys happy. I’ve always had a great time when I played in it, but I’ve always had a great time when I didn’t. It’s not like you’ve got to sit in a cell for three days. Laudner is having a real good year. I would feel worse if I got selected and he had been left off.”
Ray, batting .298 after going 1 for 4 Thursday night, took his first selection stoically. He said he wasn’t expecting it, adding that during the many years when fans seldom voted for Pittsburgh players he became immune to the process.
“There were some years I thought that I should have made it and didn’t,” he said. “After a while, you don’t expect things, know what I mean.”
Paul Molitor of the Milwaukee Brewers still start ahead of Ray at second base. Kelly also selected second baseman Harold Reynolds of the Seattle Mariners. He chose shortstops Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles and Ozzie Guillen of the Chicago White Sox, one of whom will replace Trammell in the starting lineup.
First basemen George Brett of the Kansas City Royals and Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees were selected as backups to Mark McGwire of the Athletics, and Gary Gaetti of the Twins and Carney Lansford of the Athletics were selected as reserves to third baseman Wade Boggs of the Boston Red Sox.
The addition of an extra infielder and 10th pitcher deprived the Cleveland Indians’ Joe Carter of selection and prompted the Angels’ Brian Downing to say:
“That’s nearly unbelievable. It’s not like (Carter is) a three-month flash. He’s done it for years. He can do everything. It seems strange to pick only five outfielders. That’s where your thunder is. That’s hard to figure out. That’s where Carter should be. I’m sorry, that’s a tough one.”
Mike Greenwell of the Boston Red Sox and Kirby Puckett of the Twins were selected as the reserves behind starters Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson of the Yankees and Jose Canseco of the Athletics.
The American League pitchers are Frank Viola and Jeff Reardon of the Twins, Roger Clemens of the Red Sox, Dennis Eckersley of the Athletics, Doyle Alexander of the Tigers, Mark Gubicza of the Royals, Dave Stieb of the Toronto Blue Jays, Jeff Russell of the Texas Rangers, Doug Jones of the Indians and Dan Plesac of the Brewers.