Team's All-Star Game record is rarely discussed
By Matthew Taylor
Sure, Ichiro hit the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history on Tuesday, but did you see the Brian Roberts walk that started the rally?
It's a stretch for even the most dedicated Birds fan to brag on the O's after the 2007 All-Star Game ... even if Roberts did earn the AL's only base on balls and set the table for Ichiro ... but if you want to talk All-Star history, well, that's a different story. Prepare to pound your Orange and Black chest, my Bird-loving friend.
Browsing through the All-Star stats at BaseballReference.com reveals that O's players have won the All-Star Game MVP award most often in Major League history, a total of six times altogether: Brooks Robinson in 1966, Frank Robinson in 1971, Cal Ripken in 1991 & 2001, Roberto Alomar in 1998, and Miguel Tejada in 2005. Three teams are tied for second behind the Orioles with five MVP awards: the Giants, Reds, and Dodgers.
The O's might have had company in the All-Star record book had Barry Bonds put on more of a show this year for the local fans in San Francisco. Instead, the Birds stand alone.
Interestingly enough, three Orioles have been named the All-Star MVP during the team's current run of losing seasons - Alomar in '98, Ripken in '01, and Tejada in '05 - which speaks to the game's role as a showcase of individual talent.
MLB's showcase of team ability doesn't happen until October, and, needless to say, no Oriole has taken home the MVP hardware from those games in quite some time.
After all, there's no "O" in team.
Update (7/12/07): Wayward O has posed an interesting question in response to this posting (see "Comments" below).
It turns out that Cal is the only player to earn the All-Star MVP award in two different decades. The other repeat winners are Willie Mays ('63 & '68), Steve Garvey ('74 & '78), and Gary Carter ('81 & '84).
Ken Griffey, Jr., and his father earned the All-Star MVP in two different decades, Senior in 1980 and Junior in 1992. Bobby Bonds earned the award in 1973, but - Are we beating up on Barry too much? - his son still hasn't won the All-Star MVP.