The Royals will not have any major All-Star snubs as they send a franchise record seven players to the All-Star Game. But the Midsummer Classic has not always been so kind to the Royals franchise, with deserving players often getting shut out of the festivities. Here are just a few examples of Royals All-Star snubs over the years.
6. Jermaine Dye, 1999
Jermaine Dye had largely been a bust since the Royals acquired him in a trade for Michael Tucker before the 1997 season, but in 1999 he finally broke through with a career-best season. He began to show the kind of power the Royals had always envisioned in him, and was even hitting for average and playing terrific defense. Dye tried to solidify his case by going 13-for-30 with six home runs in the first week of July to lift his overall numbers to .302/.356/.534 with 17 HR 66 RBI. However, in the end he was passed over and the only Royals representative would be pitcher Jose Rosado.
This season was at the peak of the silly ball era, so Dye's numbers really don't look that eye-popping when compared to some of the other candidates that season. The American League outfielders chosen as reserves for the game - B.J. Surhoff, Bernie Williams, Shawn Green - all posted an OPS over .900. However, what was curious was the decision to carry four designated hitters for the game - Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco, Harold Baines, and John Jaha. Carrying one less immobile slugger and adding future Gold Glover Jermaine Dye to the crop of outfielders would have rewarded one of the better young players in the game.
``Outfielders are the toughest ones. There are so many outfielders you can choose. With the outfield, you can go on and on and on. ``I had to leave off a Jermaine Dye, who's having a terrific year.''
-American League All-Star manage Joe Torre
5. Darrell Porter, 1977
Darrell had just been acquired by the Royals in a trade from Milwaukee, who he had once appeared as an All-Star before. But his career really took off in Kansas City, and under manager Whitey Herzog he flourished, hitting .293/.374/.504 9 HR 39 RBI in the first half of his inaugural season in Kansas City. Nonetheless, American League manager Billy Martin elected to take three Yankees as reserves to join the two Yankee starters, while selecting zero Royals as reserves, despite Kansas City having the third-best record in the league at the break, better than the Yankees.
Martin took his own Thurman Munson as a reserve catcher, a defensible choice, but he also took 21-year old catcher Butch Wynegar of the Twins. Wynegar had finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 1976, and was considered a good defender. A July surge where he hit .397 in the 18 games leading up to the All-Star break brought his overall numbers to .290/.368/.417, still a good deal behind Porter's numbers. But the Twins had been hyping Wynegar up as the future of the franchise, and even though he wasn't the team's only rep, Wynegar got the call over Porter.
4. Danny Tartabull, 1988
This was back in the days of the 28-man All-Star roster, so these days, there is little doubt Tartabull would make the American League club with today's bloated rosters. Complicating matters were the fact the roster carried two light-hitting second baseman in California's Johnny Ray and Seattle's Harold Reynolds to be their team reps. Accrodingly, the 1988 American League roster had just two reserve outfielders - Boston's Mike Greenwell and Minnesota's Kirby Puckett, not enough room for Tartabull and his line of .276/.377/.507 with 13 HR 46 RBI. Had Tartabull made it, he would have joined teammates George Brett, Mark Gubicza, and Kurt Stillwell, giving the Royals their most representatives since 1982.
"The way things are going, I can't see why I shouldn't be there. I understand a lot of guys in the American League, especially at my position, are having good years. And I'm not going to throw a tantrum if I don't make the team. But if I have a good season, I'll go home and consider myself an All-Star regardless of what anyone else says."
3. Dennis Leonard, 1976
Dennis Leonard was a three-time 20-game winner, but amazingly never was named an All-Star. Some of that was because he was usually a second-half pitcher - his career post-All-Star break ERA was 3.49 compared to 3.88 before the break. But in 1976, Leonard had himself a terrific first half, going 9-3 with a 2.88 ERA. He tossed a 1-0 complete game victory over Detroit and All-Star starer Mark "The Bird" Fidrych in his last outing before the break to punctuate his first half.
Some of the pitching roster spots were filled by team representatives like Cleveland's Dave LaRoche and Chicago's Goose Gossage. However Boston's 36-year old Luis Tiant was selected, despite a less than impressive 11-8 record and a 2.92 ERA with just 60 strikeouts in 138 innings going into the break.
Leonard would go on to lead the league in wins the next season, getting Cy Young votes each of the next two seasons, but he would never get to participate in the Midsummer Classic.
"I sorta enjoy the days off. The only thing that bothered me was that I was told I probably would be on the All-Star team. So Whitey [Royals manager Whitey Herzog] set me back so I'd be ready. I told some friends and my family I was going to be on the All-Star team. So it was sorta embarrassing when I wasn't."
2. Bret Saberhagen, 1985
In 1985, Bret Saberhagen was 21-year old with an electric fastball and pinpoint command. He was in his second year, a year in which he would win the Cy Young Award and World Series MVP. In other words, he was exactly the kind of player Major League Baseball should have been highlighting at the All-Star Game that summer in Minneapolis. Instead, Saberhagen took his 10-4 record and 2.78 ERA and stayed home for a few days.
Oakland's Jay Howell and California's Donnie Moore took up team representative spots on the American League squad, leaving fewer open spots. Manager Sparky Anderson elected to take his own pitcher, Dan Petry, one of three Tigers pitchers on the staff. Petry carried an unimpressive 10-7 record with a 3.29 ERA in the first half, and had dropped four of his five starts before the break, but Anderson wanted to reward Petry for winning 37 games the previous two seasons without being named an All-Star.
1. Kevin Appier, 1992
Appier really came into his own in 1992, and by mid-season was among the top five in the league in wins, ERA, strikeouts, and opponents batting average. He brought a record of 10-3 with a 2.33 ERA into the break. The Sporting News listed him as one of the top five Cy Young candidates in the league at mid-season. The Royals were scuffling that season, well under .500, and Appier seemed like a logical pick to be the team's lone representative.
But Appier did not seem to have a champion for him in manager Hal McRae. American League All-Star manager Tom Kelly warned that anyone scheduled to pitch the Sunday before the All-Star Game would not likely be chosen. Despite this, McRae went ahead and scheduled Appier to pitch that Sunday. McRae also refused to lobby for his pitcher, arguing the stats should stand on their own. In the end, Kelly selected Royals closer Jeff Montgomery - also having a terrific season with a 1.60 ERA and 21 saves - to his first All-Star Game.
"Appier deserves to go. He's among the leaders in lots of categories," McRae said. "He should be an All-Star. But I'm not going to lobby for anybody."
Bret Saberhagen, 1989: 8-4, 2.61 ERA 127 IP 100 K
Chili Davis, 1997: .298/.411/.500 13 HR 48 RBI
Mike MacFarlane, 1993: .283/.363/.512 11 HR 41 RBI
Kevin Appier, 1997: 6-7 2.80 ERA 138 IP 116 K
David DeJesus, 2010: .326/.395/.460 5 HR 36 RBI
Wade Davis, 2014: 1.13 ERA 39 2/3 IP 62 K