21st Century Philadelphia Phillies All-Stars: A Retrospective

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

With the 2019 MLB All-Star Game upon us, it seems appropriate to remember those players who have represented the Philadelphia Phillies since 2000 and look back on how they performed once they got there.

2019 was supposed to be the year that the Philadelphia Phillies returned to prominence and, in the process, sent a large contingent of players to this year’s MLB All-Star Game.

With players like Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Nola, and others, how could they not?

Instead, when the dust settled, we were left with catcher JT Realmuto as the Phillies’ lone representative at the Midsummer Classic, a selection related more to the scarcity of quality players at the position he plays rather than the year he is having, which has been decent but not great to this point.

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What a disappointment.

But what about years past? How well have the Phillies really been showcased at the All-Star Game this century, and how did those players actually do in the games?

Mike Lieberthal had the honor of being the team’s first all-star this century, as he was sent to the 2000 game in Atlanta. It was the second straight (and ultimately final) all-star berth for Lieby, who did have a pretty good first half that year. He went 1-for-2 with a run scored.

In 2001, rookie Jimmy Rollins made it, and he would go on to draw a walk against Troy Percival in his only plate appearance. Jimmy then followed that up by stealing a base off of Jorge Posada. A nice enough debut for Jimmy.

Rollins was voted to the team as a starter in 2002, and this time he acquitted himself well with a sparkling 2-for-2 effort. Also debuting in the starting lineup beside Rollins that day was Scott Rolen, who was amazingly appearing in his only All-Star Game with the Phillies. He went 0-for-3 and was on his way to St. Louis less than three weeks later. Bum.

Most notably, 2002 also marked the infamous game that ended in an 11-inning tie when both leagues ran out of pitchers. For the National League, it was the Phillies’ Vicente Padilla pitching the final two innings before the game was called off by Bud Selig for fear of the pitchers getting injured. This led to MLB’s brilliant idea to make the All-Star Game count for home field advantage in the World Series.

Randy Wolf was the Phils’ only player in the 2003 game, becoming the first Phillies pitcher to take the mound in an All-Star Game since Curt Schilling four years earlier. He struggled a bit in his one inning of work, allowing a run, though he did notch two strikeouts. It would be the lone all-star nod of Wolf’s career.

2004 saw the first all-star selection of Bobby Abreu‘s career, even though he had been one of the best hitters in the game for several seasons already. He struck out in his only trip to the plate. Jim Thome didn’t do any better, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout as well.

Abreu would start the 2005 All-Star Game, and he collected the lone ASG hit of his career in two at-bats. Jimmy Rollins was also back, and he singled in his lone trip to the plate. This would mark the third and final All-Star Game of Rollins’ career, which seems ridiculous in hindsight. But at least Jimmy made the most out of it, reaching base in all four of his career plate appearances as an all-star.

Also making the 2005 team from the Phillies but not appearing in the game was closer Billy Wagner. And that’s just as well because he ended up being widely hated in town.

The Phillies also sent a trio of players in 2006. Chase Utley, making his Midsummer Classic debut, started and went 1-for-2. Another first-timer, Ryan Howard, went 0-for-1. Tom Gordon pitched a scoreless 8th inning for the NL.

Utley was back in the starting lineup the following year, but he went 0-for-2. Center fielder Aaron Rowand was also 0-for-2, while young Cole Hamels fired a scoreless inning.

Again, Utley drew the start in 2008, and he would go 1-for-3 batting out of the 2-hole for the National League. Brad Lidge didn’t look he was going to get into the game, but when he was finally summoned for the bottom of the 15th, he allowed the American League to plate the winning run. But don’t worry, 2008 turned out pretty well for him.

That game was also notable for the New York fans booing Chase Utley when he was introduced, at which point a live microphone caught Chase swearing at them. You know the word, it’s the same one he used at the World Series parade a few months later.

The Phillies would be represented by a quintet of players in 2009, as Utley was joined by Howard, Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez, and Jayson Werth. But the group didn’t fare well, going a combined 1-for-8, with Victorino accounting for the lone hit.

Utley was voted in as the National League’s starter at second base for the fifth straight year in 2010, but he missed the game with an injury. Ryan Howard went 0-for-2 to finish his all-star career hitless at 0-for-4. Roy Halladay pitched 0.2 innings and didn’t allow a run, but he was replaced by some guy named Matt Capps in a move that must have been Charlie Manuel trying to get cute and let all the kids play.

In 2011, Placido Polanco won the voting and was all set to start the game at third base, but an injury kept him out of the game. Victorino was also there after winning MLB’s “final vote” (for the second time in his career), but he did not play.

The Phillies were well-represented on the mound, as Halladay, Hamels and Cliff Lee all made the NL’s 2011 staff. Halladay would start the game and deliver two scoreless innings before giving way to Lee, who allowed one run over 1.2 innings. Hamels did not appear.

Hamels did take the hill, however, in the 2012 All-Star Game, tossing a 1-2-3 inning while working appropriately with his battery mate, Carlos Ruiz. It was Chooch’s only ASG appearance, and he went 0-for-1 at the dish. Jonathan Papelbon nailed down the final out of the game in an 8-0 NL win. It was the only recorded instance of him ever pitching well in a non-save situation. Nice job, Pap.

Cliff Lee pitched an inning in 2013 and gave up one run. Also, and this is a painful chapter to revisit, Domonic Brown was there. Uggggggggggh. He struck out on three pitches in his only at-bat.

It was at this point that the lean times officially began, and the Phillies started to receive the “every team gets an all-star” pity treatment. In 2014, it was Utley. Making his final all-star appearance, Utley doubled and was hit by a pitch (that’s so Utley). The double was the first extra-base hit in an All-Star Game by a Phil since Dave Hollins in 1993, which is almost unbelievable. In the end, Utley finished his all-star career going 3-for-10.

Papelbon was the Phillies’ only “all-star” during the team’s horrendous 2015 season, and he didn’t even pitch. His biggest contribution to the team would come later that year after he was traded and tried to choke out teammate Bryce Harper. Way to go, Pap.

Odubel Herrera went 0-for-1 in 2016, and Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless inning in 2017. Moving on to people that I actually have respect for, Aaron Nola threw a clean inning in his All-Star Game debut in 2018.

And this all leads us to tonight, with JT Realmuto hopefully getting the chance to represent the Phillies in the game. It’s the sixth straight season that the Phillies will have just one all-star, a trend that needs to reverse itself soon. I also would like to see a Phil homer in the Midsummer Classic for the first time in my life, as it hasn’t happened since Mike Schmidt in 1981.

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But even if Realmuto doesn’t do anything of note, just remember to not worry too much about it, because games of actual importance will be back in just a few days.