October 19, 2021

Man Fine

The Fine Art Of Education

Alabama Roots: 50 MLB All-Star Game players

Two former Alabama high school standouts will be with baseball’s best on Tuesday night for the 91st MLB All-Star Game.

With his eighth all-star season, Chicago Cubs reliever Craig Kimbrel ranks behind only Hank Aaron and Willie Mays among players with Alabama baseball roots.

For Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, this year’s all-star assignment is his first, making him the 50th player from an Alabama high school or college or, from a bygone era of baseball, from the state’s industrial leagues or sandlots to be chosen for the MLB All-Star Game, which was played for the first time in 1933.

Anderson prepped at Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa. Kimbrel went to Lee High School in Huntsville before pitching at Wallace State in Hanceville.

Anderson will play for the American League. Kimbrel will play for the National League.

The MLB All-Star Game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CDT Tuesday at Coors Field in Denver. FOX will televise the game.

The 50 players picked for the MLB All-Star Game with Alabama baseball roots include:

Hank Aaron, Central High School in Mobile: 21 All-Star seasons

The outfielder was selected for the All-Star Game every season from 1955 through 1975 and went to 25 All-Star games, playing in 24. From 1959 through 1962, two All-Star games were played each season, primarily to raise money for the players’ pension fund. Aaron did double All-Star duty in those seasons. Aaron represented the Milwaukee Braves in his first 11 All-Star seasons, the Atlanta Braves in the next nine and the Milwaukee Brewers in the final one. He started 17 games. In contrast to his Hall of Fame career, the Mobile native batted .194 with two home runs in 72 All-Star Game plate appearances.

Willie Mays, Fairfield Industrial High School: 20 All-Star seasons

The outfielder was selected for the All-Star Game every season from 1954 through 1973, including both All-Star Games in 1959 through 1962 to give him a total of 24 games in 20 seasons. Mays represented the New York Giants in his first four All-Star seasons, the San Francisco Giants in the next 14 and the New York Mets in the final two. He started 18 games and was the MVP of the 1962 and 1968 contests. Mays is the All-Star career leader in runs with 20, hits with 23, total bases with 40, triples with three, stolen bases with six and singles with 15.

Craig Kimbrel, Lee High School in Huntsville, Wallace State: Eight All-Star seasons

The pitcher has been selected for the All-Star Game in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2021. Kimbrel represented the Atlanta Braves in his first four All-Star games, the Boston Red Sox in the next three and will represent the Chicago Cubs this year. Kimbrel was the winning pitcher in the 2017 All-Star Game when he worked a scoreless bottom of the ninth before the American League scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th.

Early Wynn, Geneva County High School: Seven All-Star seasons

The pitcher was selected for the All-Star Game in 1947, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960, including both All-Star Games in those final two years. Wynn represented the Washington Senators in his first All-Star season, the Cleveland Indians in the next three and the Chicago White Sox in the final three. He started for the American League in 1959′s first All-Star Game and was the winning pitcher in the 1958 All-Star Game.

Willie McCovey, Central High School in Mobile: Six All-Star seasons

The first baseman was selected for the All-Star Game in 1963, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971. McCovey represented the San Francisco Giants. He started four games. McCovey, batting cleanup for the National League, hit two home runs and was the MVP of the 1969 contest.

Billy Williams, Mobile County Training School: Six All-Star seasons

The outfielder was selected for the All-Star Game in 1962, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1972 and 1973. Williams represented the Chicago Cubs. He started two games, hit .273 in his All-Star career and homered in the 1964 game.

Luis Gonzalez, South Alabama: Five All-Star seasons

The outfielder was selected for the All-Star Game in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005. Gonzalez represented the Arizona Diamondbacks. He started one game. Gonzalez had four hits, including two doubles, in seven All-Star at-bats.

Jimmy Key, Butler High School in Huntsville: Five All-Star seasons

The pitcher was selected for the All-Star Game in 1985, 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1997. Key represented the Toronto Blue Jays in the first two games, the New York Yankees in the next two and the Baltimore Orioles in the last one. Key was the winning pitcher in 1991 and the starting pitcher in 1994 for the American League.

Amos Otis, Williamson High School in Mobile: Five All-Star seasons

The outfielder was selected for the All-Star Game in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1976. Otis represented the Kansas City Royals. He started one game.

Jorge Posada, Calhoun Community College: Five All-Star seasons

The catcher was selected for the All-Star Game in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2007. Posada represented the New York Yankees. He started two games.

Frank Thomas, Auburn: Five All-Star seasons

The first baseman was selected for the All-Star Game in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997. Thomas represented the Chicago White Sox. He started two games. In six All-Star plate appearances, Thomas had four hits, including a home run, and one walk.

Dixie Walker, Birmingham industrial leagues: Five All-Star seasons

The outfielder was selected for the All-Star Game in 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946 and 1947. Walker represented the Brooklyn Dodgers. He started three games.

Ben Chapman, Phillips High School in Birmingham: Four All-Star seasons

The outfielder was selected for the All-Star Game in 1933, 1934, 1935 and 1936. Chapman represented the New York Yankees in the first three games and the Washington Senators in the final one. He started one game.

Tim Hudson, Glenwood School in Smiths Station, Auburn: Four All-Star seasons

The pitcher was selected for the All-Star Game in 2000, 2004, 2010 and 2014. Hudson represented the Oakland Athletics in the first two games, the Atlanta Braves in the third and the San Francisco Giants in the final one.

Rip Sewell, Alabama Military Institute in Anniston: Four All-Star seasons

The pitcher was selected for the All-Star Game in 1943, 1944, 1945 and 1946. The Decatur native represented the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sewell famously gave up a home run to Ted Williams on his eephus pitch in the 1946 All-Star Game.

Josh Donaldson, Faith Academy in Mobile, Auburn: Three All-Star seasons

The third baseman has been selected for the All-Star Game in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Donaldson represented the Oakland Athletics in the first game and the Toronto Blue Jays in the past two. He has started two games.

Lee May, Parker High School in Birmingham: Three All-Star seasons

The first baseman was selected for the All-Star Game in 1969, 1971 and 1972. May represented the Cincinnati Reds in the first two games and the Houston Astros in the final one. He started one game.

Jake Peavy, St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile: Three All-Star seasons

The pitcher was selected for the All-Star Game in 2005, 2007 and 2012. He represented the San Diego Padres in the first two games and the Chicago White Sox in the final one. He started on the mound for the National League in the 2007 All-Star Game.

Tommie Agee, Mobile County Training School: Two All-Star seasons

The outfielder was selected for the All-Star Game in 1966 and 1967. Agee represented the Chicago White Sox.

Frank Bolling, McGill Institute in Mobile, Spring Hill College: Two All-Star seasons

The second baseman was selected for the All-Star Game in 1961 and 1962, including both games both years. Bolling represented the Milwaukee Braves. He started two games.

Clay Carroll, Chilton County High School: Two All-Star seasons

The relief pitcher was selected for the All-Star Game in 1971 and 1972. Carroll represented the Cincinnati Reds.

Frank Lary, Tuscaloosa County High School, Alabama: Two All-Star seasons

Lary was selected for the All-Star Game in 1960 and 1961, including both games in 1960. Lary represented the Detroit Tigers.

Carlos May, Parker High School in Birmingham: Two All-Star seasons

The outfielder was selected for the All-Star Game in 1969 and 1972. He represented the Chicago White Sox. Both years that May was on the American League team, his brother Lee May was on the National League team.

Don Mincher, Butler High School in Huntsville: Two All-Star seasons

The first baseman was selected for the All-Star Game in 1967 and 1969. Mincher represented the California Angels in the first game and the Seattle Pilots in the second.

Satchel Paige, Mobile native: Two All-Star seasons

The pitcher was selected for the All-Star Game in 1952 and 1953. Paige represented the St. Louis Browns. Perhaps the biggest star in the history of the Negro Leagues, Paige pitched an inning in the 1953 All-Star Game at the age of 47.

Virgil Trucks, Tarrant City High School: Two All-Star seasons

The pitcher was selected for the All-Star Game in 1949 and 1954. Trucks represented the Detroit Tigers in the first game and the Chicago White Sox in the second. He was the winning pitcher for the American League in the 1949 All-Star Game despite giving up two runs in two innings, and he earned a save (awarded retroactively, since the statistic didn’t exist at the time) in the 1954 All-Star Game by closing the American League’s 11-9 victory with scoreless ninth.

Bob Veale, Holy Family High School in Birmingham: Two All-Star seasons

The pitcher was selected for the All-Star Game in 1965 and 1966. Veale represented the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Leon Wagner, Tuskegee: Two All-Star seasons

The outfielder was selected for the All-Star Game in 1962 and 1963, including both games in 1962. Wagner represented the Los Angeles Angels. He started three games and earned the MVP Award for the second game in 1962 when he had three hits, including a two-run homer, in the American League’s 9-4 victory.

Harry Walker, Birmingham industrial leagues: Two All-Star seasons

The outfielder was selected for the All-Star Game in 1943 and 1947. He represented the St. Louis Cardinals in the first and the Philadelphia Phillies in the second. He started two games. Walker and his brother, Dixie Walker, batted first and second, respectively, for the National League in the 1947 All-Star Game.

One-season All-Stars

Players with Alabama roots who have been selected for the All-Star Game in one season include:

· Pitcher Doyle Alexander (Woodlawn High School in Birmingham) represented the Detroit Tigers at the 1988 game.

· Shortstop Tim Anderson (Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa) will represent the Chicago White Sox in the 2021 game.

· Catcher Alex Avila (Alabama) represented the Detroit Tigers at the 2011 game as a starter.

· Pitcher Jeff Brantley (Berry High School) represented the San Francisco Giants at the 1990 game.

· Pitcher Britt Burns (Huffman High School) represented the Chicago White Sox at the 1981 game.

· Outfielder David Dahl (Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham) represented the Colorado Rockies at the 2019 game. He singled and scored in his only plate appearance.

· Third baseman Jim Davenport (Thompson High School in Alabaster) represented the San Francisco Giants at both 1962 All-Star games. He singled in his only All-Star Game at-bat.

· Pitcher Sammy Ellis (Ensley High School in Birmingham) represented the Cincinnati Reds at the 1965 game.

· Outfielder Lou Finney (Five Points High School) represented the Boston Red Sox at the 1940 game. He was walked by Carl Hubbell in his only All-Star plate appearance.

· Third baseman David Freese (South Alabama) represented the St. Louis Cardinals at the 2012 game.

· Outfielder Oris Hockett (Auburn) represented the Cleveland Indians at the 1944 game. Hockett went to Auburn on a football scholarship, but he stayed only one year on the Plains.

· Outfielder Bo Jackson (McAdory High School, Auburn) represented the Kansas City Royals at the 1989 game as a starter. He won the MVP Award for the contest when he led off for the American League with a home run.

· Outfielder Lance Johnson (South Alabama) represented the New York Mets at the 1996 game as a starter. Johnson had three hits, including a double, in four trips to the plate and also stole a base in the 1996 All-Star Game.

· Outfielder Cleon Jones (Mobile County Training School, Alabama A&M) represented the New York Mets at the 1969 game as a starter. Jones had two hits and two runs in his only All-Star appearance.

· Pitcher Todd Jones (Jacksonville State) represented the Detroit Tigers at the 2000 game. Jones retired all three batters he faced, including striking out Andruw Jones, in his only All-Star appearance.

· Pitcher Jon Lieber (South Alabama) represented the Chicago Cubs at the 2001 game.

· Outfielder Heinie Manush (Tuscumbia) represented the Washington Senators at the 1934 game as a starter. A member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Manush played most of his career before the All-Star Game started in 1933.

· Second baseman Billy Moran (Russell County High School) represented the Los Angeles Angels at both 1962 All-Star games as a starter.

· Pitcher Gregg Olson (Auburn) represented the Baltimore Orioles at the 1990 game.

· Pitcher David Robertson (Paul W. Bryant High School in Cottondale, Alabama) represented the New York Yankees at the 2011 game.

· Pitcher Sergio Romo (North Alabama) represented the San Francisco Giants at the 2013 game.

· Catcher Luke Sewell (Wetumpka High School, Alabama) represented the Chicago White Sox at the 1937 game.

Other Alabama All-Star natives

Shortstop Ozzie Smith is a native of Mobile and was an All-Star in 15 seasons. But he played high school and college baseball in California. He’s the top example of the 14 All-Stars who were born in Alabama but moved out of the state during their childhoods. Other Alabama All-Star natives who grew their baseball roots in other states include Bruce Benedict, Matt Cain, George Foster, Monte Irvin, Corey Kluber, Hersh Martin, Ken McBride, Terry Moore, Alex Rios, Don Sutton, Andre Thornton, Willie Wilson and Rudy York.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.