By my count, Mets have been starters in the All-Star Game 31 times over the years. David Wright’s expected start tonight would make 32. I haven’t found a previous list of these, so I’ve counted them myself — it’s entirely possible I missed somebody or mis-counted, so anyone willing to check my work is encouraged to do so. A list of all NL All-Star starters is here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/allstar/NLS-lineups.shtml
. This is a list of the actual starting lineups, and thus does not include those who were elected by fans to start but because of injury or other reasons were not actually in the game’s starting lineup.
In the 1960s, only two Mets started an All-Star Game: Ron Hunt in 1964 and Cleon Jones in 1969. The list was not much longer in the 1970s, with Tom Seaver starting in the 1970 All-Star Game, Bud Harrelson in 1971 and Dave (“Kong”) Kingman starting in right field in the 1976 game. After that the All-Star start well ran dry for the Mets until the until the ascendance of the great Mets teams under Davey Johnson in the mid-1980s. Darryl Strawberry was the starting right-fielder for the NL All-Stars all five seasons from 1984 through 1988. Only Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente have started in right for the NL All-Stars more often than Darryl. Gary Carter joined Darryl as an All-Star starter in 1986, 1987 and 1988. In 1986, Darryl and the Kid were also accompanied by Dwight Gooden as the NL’s starting pitcher and Keith Hernandez as the starter at first. That made 1986, not surprisingly, the Mets’ biggest year to date for All-Star starters, with four of the nine NL starters coming from the Mets. In 1988, Strawberry and Carter were again joined Doc Gooden as the NL starting pitcher. Seaver’s start in 1970 and Gooden’s two starts in 1986 and 1988 have been the only All-Star starts by Mets pitchers to date.
After 1988, the Mets fortunes began to decline from their mid-80s peak, and the All-Star starts, as might be expected, declined as well. Howard Johnson was the All-Star starting third baseman in 1989, after which the Mets had no All-Star starters until Lance Johnson started in center field in 1996. The arrival of Mike Piazza in 1998 restored starting All-Star glamour to the Mets, and Mike represented the Mets as the starting catcher for the NL six times: 1998 and 1999, 2001 and 2002, and 2004 and 2005. Only in 2005 did Mike have a Met for company in the All-Star starting lineup, when Carlos Beltran started in left field for the NL. Beltran made it back among the All-Star starters, now in his normal spot in center field, in 2006 and 2007, joined both years by David Wright and one other Met. In 2006, Carlos and David were accompanied by Paul Lo Duca among the NL starters, and in 2007 the third Met starter was Jose Reyes. No starters for the Mets last season, but David Wright’s third starting appearance is in the offing tonight.
All told, Mike Piazza has the most All-Star starts as a Met with six, Darryl Strawberry is second with 5, and Carlos Beltran, Gary Carter and, if he starts as planned tonight, David Wright are next with three each. Doc Gooden with his two All-Star starts is the only other Met with more than one appearance as a Met in an All-Star starting lineup. It’s interesting that the greatest Met of all, Tom Seaver, was the starting pitcher in the All-Star game only once.
From a positional point of view, a Met has started the All-Star Game at catcher 10 different times and in right field six times. Wright’s planned start tonight will make four Mets All-Star starts at third base, and there have been three Met All-Star starts on the mound and in center field. There have been two Met All-Star starts at shortstop, and one each at first base and second base. Odd that the only two All-Star starts for the Mets on the right side of the infield have been Keith Hernandez back in 1986 and, at second base, Ron Hunt all the way back in 1964.