Growing up, I couldn’t wait for the All Star Game. It was a chance for me to see all of the best players I would only see once or twice per season. Since the advent of instant highlights and additional channels, some of that novelty has worn off. I also am not a fan of the game determining World Series home field advantage. That being said, it is without question the premier All Star game in sports. With that in mind, here is a look at some former All Stars that deserve some more recognition.
Greg Luzinski-“The Bull” was a four-time All Star who was a vital member of five playoff teams with the Phillies and one with the White Sox. He finished second in the 1975 MVP race when he led the league in RBI’s with 120. His best year came in 1977 with 39 home runs, 130 RBI’s and a .309 batting average. After winning the World Series with Philadelphia in 1980, he moved to Chicago where in 1983, he helped the Sox win their first ever American League West title. He retired after the 1984 season with career numbers of 307 homers, 1,128 runs driven in and a .276 batting average.
Richie Zisk–This two-time All Star’s appearances came in 1977 with the White Sox and in 1978 with Texas. His start to the ’78 season and as a member of the Rangers was a memorable one as he launched a game ending home run off of Rich Gossage who was making his first appearance as a Yankee. Ironically, not only did Zisk and Gossage share the same agent, Jerry Kapstein, but they were also traded for each other prior to the 1977 season with Zisk going to Chicago and Goose going to Pittsburgh. The Outfielder/DH’s best season was with the Sox when he batted .290 with 30 homers and 101 runs batted in. His last three seasons were productive ones with Seattle and after the 1983 season he retired with 207 home runs, 792 RBI’s and a .287 average.
Al Oliver–“Scoop” was one of the best players of his era, a career spanning 18 seasons and six teams. At age 24, he was the starting Center Fielder for the 1971 World Champion Pirates, a team that featured Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell who flanked him in the outfield. Oliver was a seven-time All Star who sported a superb .303 lifetime batting average. His best season was in 1982 when he led the National League in batting (.331), RBI’s (109), hits (204), doubles (43) and total bases (317). His outstanding playing days finished after the 1985 season in which his lifetime numbers included 219 home runs and 1,326 runs batted in while appearing in 2,368 games. Oliver is definitely one of the most underrated players of the last 40 years.
There are plenty of other former All Stars who often get overlooked. These three guys I saw play while growing up and immediately came to mind when the idea for this post was formed.
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