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10 Fact Tuesday: All-Star Edition

I got an idea to write a piece I’m calling 10 Fact Tuesday and with the All-Star Game being played tonight it was only fitting to make this piece all about Cardinals All-Star history.

Fact 1: No Cardinals has ever won individual honors over the All-Star break.

Despite 314 All-Stars and 10 Home Run Derby participants, no Cardinal has ever won the Game’s MVP award or the Derby trophy. The Cardinals have been victims of bad luck when it comes to All-Star Game MVP whether it be the NL losing (Albert Pujols in 2004), the award not existing until 1962 (Ken Boyer in 1956), or both (Joe Medwick in 1937). The only Cardinal to ever make the final round was Albert Pujols in 2003 when he lost to Garrett Anderson (ironically on the Angels) 9 homers to 8. The Cardinals are one of four franchises to never win either award; the Astros, Blue Jays, and Rockies the other three.

Fact 2: The Cardinals last homer in an ASG was 42 years ago.

In the 1974 Game, Reggie Smith, who had a 162 OPS+ at the break, came on to pinch-hit in the bottom of the 7th. Catfish Hunter was beginning his second inning when his first pitch of the inning was crushed over the right field fence for a no-doubt homer. Since then no Cardinal has homered in an All-Star Game. Smith’s homer was one of 13 in Cardinals All-Star history, 6 by MLB record holder Stan Musial. None of the 5 players in MLB history with a multi-homer game were on the Cardinals.

Fact 3: This year is the first time no Cardinal was in the starting lineup since 2007.

Yes, 2007 was that awful year the Cardinals had a sub-500 season. Pujols had his lowest MVP finish of any season in St. Louis but his 1st half OPS+ was still 148. That was a good 30-40 points below his norm but still great enough to back up Prince Fielder who hit 50 homers to lead the majors and win the Hank Aaron Award in 2007. Pujols’ 2nd half OPS+ rose 30 points. Like Seung-Hwan Oh this year, Jason Isringhausen and Ryan Franklin’s great 1st halves were omitted from the NL roster due to a loaded 2007 bullpen including Trevor Hoffman, Jose Valverde, and Billy Wagner.

Fact 4: Aledmys Diaz has a chance to become 1 of 5 Cardinals to bat 1.000 in the ASG.

Assuming Diaz gets an at-bat tonight, he’ll have a chance to join Garry Templeton, Tim McCarver, Eddie Kazak, and Jhonny Peralta as the only players to hit a thousand in their Cardinals All-Star career. A small sample size, obviously, McCarver had 3 plate appearances, Kazak and Peralta both have 2 PAs, and Garry Templeton had just one All-Star Game plate appearance while with the Cards.

Fact 5: Aledmys Diaz is already in a group of just 5 Cardinals All-Stars.

Diaz is one of 5 Cardinals to make the All-Star team as a rookie, joining Lance Lynn in 2012, Pujols in 2001, pitcher Luis Arroyo in 1955, and the aforementioned Kazak in 1949. Lynn and Arroyo didn’t pitch, and Pujols walked in his lone plate appearance (while playing third and second base). Kazak, the only Cardinal rookie to ever start, went 2-2 with an RBI single in the 3rd. Pujols is the only one of the five to win Rookie of the Year.

Fact 6: I promise, this is the last Aledmys Diaz fact.

Diaz is the first Cardinal to make the All-Star team despite not being with the Cardinals on Opening Day in 65 years. Diaz broke camp this year headed to Memphis but was called up after one game when Tommy Pham went on the DL with a strained rib cage muscle. The last Cardinal, Wally Westlake, began the 1951 season in the majors but with the Pittsburgh Pirates. On June 15th of that year, Westlake was traded to the Cardinals in 7-player deal with Joe Garagiola and Howie Pollet headlining Pittsburgh’s return. Westlake, who at the 1951 Break had 18 homers and a 135 OPS+, came into the game as a defensive replacement for Stan Musial in the 9th inning where he didn’t bat in his only career All-Star appearance. The NL won the 1951 game 8-3 and the Cardinals finished with the 3rd best record in the National League that year.

Fact 7: Of the Cardinals last 16 All-Star position players, only 2 (both times Yadier Molina) increased their OPS in the 2nd half.

This may be the one fact actually relevant to the 2016 Cards, particularly Carpenter and Diaz. While it’s no surprise that All-Star production has time and time again leveled off, the midseason regression of some past Cardinals is shockingly dramatic. Yadier Molina’s first-half and second-half batting averages differed by 61 points in 2013. Carlos Beltran’s OPS+ fell from 153 in the first half of 2012 to essentially league average (103) in the second half. Allen Craig’s first half slugging percentage dropped roughly 150 points after the 2012 All-Star Game. And with both Diaz and Carpenter (when he returns), who have been the catalysts for the Cardinals offense, likely to regress in the 2nd half, the Cardinals could stand to add an extra bat if they plan to contend (an outfielder?).

Fact 8: Cardinals pitchers haven’t fared well as the NL’s starter.

In 11 All-Star Game starts, Cardinals pitchers have a 7.77 ERA, a 1.56 WHIP, and only 15 strikeouts in 24.1 innings. Chris Carpenter is the only Cardinal to start the Game and win the Cy Young Award in the same year, but Mort Cooper (who won NL MVP in 1942) likely would have won the Cy Young (first awarded in 1956). The most recent Cardinal to be the NL’s starting pitcher was Adam Wainwright in 2014 when he surrendered a controversial double to Derek Jeter (on a grooved pitch) in Jeter’s final All-Star Game.

Fact 9: Cardinals pitchers have received nine decisions in the ASG.

Dizzy Dean (1936), Steve Carlton (1969), and Rick Wise (1973) are the 3 winning pitchers; while Bill Hallahan (the inaugural Game in 1933), Bill Walker (1935), Dizzy Dean (1937), Mort Cooper (1942), Cooper again (1943), and most recently Pat Neshek (in 2014) have been losing pitchers. Cooper is the only pitcher to lose two straight All-Star Games, and the fourth to have back-to-back decisions, joining Lefty Gomez (4 straight from 1935-1938), Bruce Sutter with the Cubs (1978-1979), and Don Drysdale (1967-1968). 3 Cardinals have recorded saves: Lindy McDaniel in 1960, Bob Gibson in 1965, and Bruce Sutter when he came to St. Louis in 1981.

Fact 10: To absolutely no surprise, the majority of Cardinal All-Stars are homegrown talents.

Of the 129 Cardinals to start for the NL, 81 made their Major League debut with the Cardinals. Remove Ozzie Smith alone and the nearly 63% rises about 6%.

Thank you for reading. If you’re interested in finding more of my Cardinals commentary (if you want to call it that), interactions, and other shenanigans you can follow me on Twitter @Tyler_Opinion. Go Cards!