The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is always to be a star-studded event. The opportunity to see the sport's brightest stars on the field together is always exciting, with so many talented young players emerging as household names. With that in mind, let's look at the 25 players who have made the most Midsummer Classics.
You wouldn't have to look too hard to find baseball purists that still consider Hank Aaron baseball's all-time home run king, but regardless of your stance on Barry Bonds eclipsing him, Aaron's status as a legend in the sport's history is firmly secure. The right-handed slugger appeared in a record 21 all-star contests, won two batting titles, an MVP award, and even three Gold Gloves. He earned a World Series ring with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 and was a near-unanimous selection to Cooperstown in 1982 when he appeared on 406 of the 415 ballots. It's fair to wonder what the nine people that didn't vote for him were thinking.
Willie Mays played during the same era Aaron did and was just as big of a star. The 'Say Hey Kid' is quite possibly the greatest two-way center fielder our sport has ever seen. In a career that spanned 21 years, he finished with a lifetime slash line of .304/.365/.564 and crushed 646 home runs. Mays was the 1951 NL Rookie of the Year, won two MVP awards, took home 12 Gold Gloves, won a batting title, and earned a World Series ring with the Giants in 1954. It's no accident that he was selected to appear in two all-star games, and he was actually named the MVP of the Midsummer Classic on two different occasions.
Stan Musial played for the Cardinals for 22 years and is unquestionably the most accomplished hitter in the franchise's illustrious history. In 3,000 career games, he slashed an absurd .331/.417/.559 with 475 homers, 1,951 RBI, 725 doubles, and 177 triples. He won three MVP awards, an astonishing seven batting titles and qualified for the all-star team in all but one of his full seasons in the big leagues. Musial was an obvious selection for the Hall of Fame in 1969.
Like Musial, Cal Ripken Jr. played in the Major Leagues for more than two decades and spent his entire career with one franchise. Ripken is perhaps most known for his remarkable durability and the 2,632 consecutive games played streak he put together in the 90s. In 21 seasons with the Orioles, Ripken slashed .276/.340/.447 with over 1,000 extra-base hits and 1,695 RBI. He was selected to represent Baltimore in 19 straight all-star games from 1983-2001, was named the MVP of the American League in both '83 and '91 and won AL Rookie of the Year in 1982. He earned eight Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves, and helped the Orioles win the World Series in 1983. He was a shoo-in to Cooperstown in 2007, and today remains the biggest icon in Baltimore Orioles history.
Left-handed swinging Rod Carew played in the big leagues for 19 years and, incredibly was selected to the American League all-star team in each of the first 18 of them. Playing in an era that included some of the best players to ever take the field at the sport's highest level, Carew was just as big of a star as any of them. He won an astonishing seven batting titles in a ten-year span between 1969-1978, slashed a lifetime .328/.393/.429, and earned both a Rookie of the Year and MVP trophy. He was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.
For more than two decades left-handed slugger Carl Yastrzemski was the face of the Boston Red Sox and provided the team with one of the most lethal offensive players in the American League. In 3,308 Major League contests, the Southhampton, NY native slashed .285/.379/.462 with 452 long balls, 1,844 RBI, and 646 doubles. He was the AL MVP in 1967, won three batting titles, a Triple Crown and seven Gold Gloves. Most relevant to this conversation, he was selected to 18 all-star games--the 6th most of all time--and was even the MVP of the event in 1970.
Major League Baseball quite possibly has never seen a better pure hitter than longtime Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams. The San Diego, CA native played 19 seasons with the Red Sox and slashed an unfathomable .344/.482/.634. He won six batting titles, led the league in OBP twelve times, was named the MVP of the American League in both 1946 and 1949, and even won the Triple Crown twice. Williams participated in 17 all-star games, but had he not missed three full seasons while serving in the military he would certainly be even higher on this list.
Today's generation of fans' familiarity with Pete Rose may be limited to the gambling scandal that has kept him out of the Hall of Fame to this day, but let's not forget just what an offensive dynamo he was during his playing career. Rose played in more games and racked up more hits than any player in baseball history, and it should come as no surprise that he was selected to participate in 17 all-star games. Rose's trophy case has to be bursting at the seams, as he was the NL Rookie of the Year, won an MVP award, three batting titles, two Gold Gloves, and a Silver Slugger. He's also the proud owner of three World Series rings, and hopefully, one day he can be invited back into the game's good graces.
Switch-hitting center fielder Mickey Mantle starred for the Yankees for 18 years during the 1950s and 60's and was an enormous part the enormous success the organization enjoyed during that time period. In 2,401 career games the Spavinaw, OK native slashed .298/.421/.557 with 536 homers, 1,509 RBI, 344 doubles, 72 triples, and 153 stolen bases. He won three American League MVP awards, earned a batting title and a Gold Glove, and helped the Yankees win seven World Series championships. Most relevant to this conversation, he was selected to participate in an impressive 16 Midsummer Classics.
Yogi Berra is the proud owner of more World Series rings than anyone else, and his excellence both behind the plate and in the batter's box is a big reason why. In 19 seasons in the big leagues Berra slashed .285/.348/.482 with 358 home runs, 1,430 RBI, and 321 doubles, and he won the AL MVP award three times in a five-year span from '51-'55. He was voted to appear in 15 all-star game contests and was an easy selection to Cooperstown in 1972.
Right-handed swinging Al Kaline is the most recognizable name in the history of the Detroit Tigers organization and one of the most productive offensive players in our sport's history. The Baltimore, MD native spent all 22 of his Major League seasons in Detroit, and slashed a lifetime .297/.376/.480 with 399 home runs, 1,532 RBI, 498 doubles, 75 triples, and 137 stolen bases. He won the batting title in 1955, helped the Tigers win the World Series in 1968, won 10 Gold Gloves, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980. He's also among only 14 players selected to participate in 15 or more all-star games.
Brooks Robinson manned the hot corner for the Orioles for an impressive 23 years, and to this day, he's still considered the greatest defensive third baseman in baseball history. Robinson won a ridiculous 16 Gold Glove awards--the most ever for a position player. But the Little Roc, AR native, was far from a one-dimensional player. In 2,896 games with Baltimore, he slashed .267/.322/.401 with 268 home runs, 1,357 RBI, and 482 doubles. He was the American League MVP in 1964, helped the O's win a pair of World Series titles, and was selected to represent the junior circuit in 15 all-star games.
The Padres selected Tony Gwynn in the 3rd round of the 1981 draft coming out of San Diego State, and the Los Angeles, CA native would go on to become the best draft pick in the franchise's history. In 2,440 career games he slashed .338/.388/.459 with 763 extra-base hits, 1,138 RBI, and 319 stolen bases. He won an unbelievable eight batting titles, won five Gold Gloves and seven Silver Sluggers, and was chosen to participate in the all-star game 15 times. Gwynn was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.
Shortstop Ozzie Smith is arguably the most prevalent example of how much of a difference maker an impact defensive player can be. In 19 big-league seasons the electric glove man won 13 Gold Glove awards, and his work defensively is the primary reason he was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2002. Offensively he did slash a serviceable .262/.337/.328 and win one Silver Slugger, but the primary reason he got to participate in 15 all-star games was just how dynamic he was at position number six on your scorecard.
Warren Spahn took the mound in the big leagues an astounding 750 times, and even now, nearly 60 years after he retired, he's still remembered as one of the best southpaws in the sport's history. During his career Spahn earned 363 victories and pitched to a phenomenal 3.09 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP in 5,243.2 innings. He won the National League Cy Young award in 1957--the same season he helped lead the Braves to a World Series championship---and earned three ERA titles. Spahn was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1957, and the 14 all-star games he participated in are the most ever for a pitcher.
Longtime Reds backstop is considered by many pundits to be the greatest catcher in baseball history, and for nearly two decades Cincinnati was thrilled to have him on their side. In 2,158 Major League games, the Oklahoma City, OK native slashed .267/.342/.476 with 389 home runs, 1,376 RBI, and 381 doubles. He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1968, won the NL MVP award in both '70 and '72, and led the league in RBI three times. Bench helped the Reds win a pair of World Series championships, won an eye-opening 10 Gold Glove awards, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989. Most relevant for this gallery, he was chosen to participate in 14 all-star contests.
Regardless of how you personally feel about the validity of the record, numbers don't lie, and simple math tells you that no hitter in the sport's history crushed more home runs than the 762 Barry Bonds accumulated. In 22 big-league seasons the left-handed slugger slashed .298/.444/.607. He drove in 1,996 runs, doubled 601 times, stole 514 bases, and the 2,558 walks he drew are the most of all-time. Bonds won an astonishing seven National League MVP awards, earned two batting titles, took home twelve Silver Sluggers, and won eight Gold Gloves. He was also voted to participate in 14 all-star games, many of which came long before there was ever any controversy attached to his name.
Outfielder Reggie Jackson earned the nickname 'Mr. October' for his exploits in the postseason, but he was pretty darn good in all of the other months too. Jackson suited up for four different American League teams during his 21-year career and slashed an impressive .262/.356/.490. He crushed 563 home runs, piled up 1,702 RBI, doubled 483 times, and even stole 228 bases. Jackson was the AL MVP in 1973, earned two Silver Sluggers, and most impressively, was a member of five World Series-winning teams. He was selected to represent the American League in 14 all-star games and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.
From Mr. October to Mr. November, tying Jackson's 14 all-star game appearances is longtime Yankees shortstop and captain Derek Jeter. New York's first-round pick from the 1992 draft spent his entire two-decade-long career in the Bronx and slashed a terrific .310/.377/.440 with 870 extra-base hits, 1,311 RBI, and 358 stolen bases. Jeter was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1996, won five Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers, and most importantly, helped New York earn five World Series championships. He was nearly unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame in 2020 as he appeared on 396 of the 397 ballots. I'm sure he'd like an explanation from the lone holdout.
Alex Rodriguez has the same problem Barry Bonds does when it comes to potentially getting voted into the Hall of Fame someday, as voters consistently hold PED-related offenses against players when their names come up on the ballot. The sad part about Rodriguez is that he was so immensely talented on his own that he certainly did not need any artificial help. In 2,784 Major League games he slashed .295/.380/.550 with 696 home runs, 2,086 RBI, 548 doubles, 31 triples, and 329 stolen bases. Rodriguez was named the MVP of the American League three times, won the batting title in 1996, earned 10 Silver Slugger awards, and took home two Gold Gloves. He helped the Yankees win the 2009 World Series, and was a staple in the Midsummer Classic for a long time, representing the American League in the contest on 14 different occasions.
Catcher Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez was a teammate of the aforementioned A-Rod in Texas for two seasons, and collectively the duo gave the Rangers two of the very best players in the sport. In 21 total big-league seasons spent with six different clubs, Rodriguez slashed .296/.334/.464 with 934 extra-base hits and 1,332 RBI. He was the American League MVP in 1999, won a World Series ring with the Marlins in 2003, earned 13 Gold Glove awards and seven Silver Sluggers, and was voted into Cooperstown in 2017. Rodriguez participated in 14 all-star game contests, trailing only Yogi Berra for the most all-time amongst catchers.
Glen Dale, WV native George Brett is easily the most accomplished player in the history of the Kansas City Royals, and the resume he put together over 21 seasons in the big leagues can compete with just about any third baseman that came before or after him. In 2,707 career games Brett slashed .305/.369/.487 with 317 home runs, 1,596 RBI, 665 doubles, 137 triples, and 201 stolen bases. He won three batting titles, earned three Silver Sluggers, won a Gold Glove, and was named the AL MVP in 1980. He was also selected to participate in a franchise record 13 all-star games, which came consecutively from '76-'88. Brett was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
The Yankees have had a plethora of baseball icons throughout their history, but a guy I feel like someone doesn't get nearly the attention he deserves is their longtime center fielder, Joe Dimmagio. The 'Clipper' had his career interrupted by a stint in the U.S. military and ended up playing only 13 seasons in the big leagues--and made the American League all-star team in every one of them. In 1,736 games with the Bronx Bombers, he slashed an astounding .325/.398/.579 with 361 homers, 1,537 RBI, 389 doubles, and 131 triples. He was named the AL MVP three times and won a pair of batting titles, and most importantly helped the Yankees win an incredible nine World Series championships. He was easily ushered into Cooperstown in 1955.
From the first time he stepped onto the field in Seattle as a 19-year-old rookie in 1989, it was clear Ken Griffey Jr. could do things most players just could not do. The game appeared to come so easy for him, and his talent was truly transcendent. Across the 22 years he played in the big leagues, Griffey Jr. slashed .284/.370/.538 with 630 home runs, 1,836 RBI, 524 doubles, 38 triples, and 184 stolen bases. He won the American League MVP award in 1997, led the league in homers four times, earned seven Silver Sluggers and took home an amazing ten Gold Gloves in center field. Griffey Jr. won the Home Run Derby three times and was chosen to play in a baker's dozen all-star games--including the 1992 Midsummer Classic, in which he was named MVP.
The is no debating that Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer in the history of the game, and barring something completely unforeseen, that's a distinction he'll hold until the end of time. In 19 seasons with the Yankees, the Panama-born righty pitched to a phenomenal 2.21 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP, while striking out 1,173 hitters in 1,283.2 innings. Most notably, he notched a Major League record 652 saves--a category he led the Majors in three different times. Rivera was one of the primary reasons the Yankees dynasty of the mid-90's-early-2000s was able to win five World Series titles, and it should come as no surprise that he was selected to participate in 13 all-star game contests. He was unanimously voted into the Hall of Fame in 2019--the first player to ever appear on every single ballot.