When the 2012 MLB All-Star Game begins on Tuesday, July 10, fans of the Chicago Cubs will be waiting for their team's two participants to contribute for the National League squad. First baseman Bryan LaHair and shortstop Starlin Castro were both selected to play in Kansas City, surprising many who believed the Cubs did not deserve more than the mandatory one representative. As a Cubs fan, I am hoping that LaHair and Castro play well in the game and show fans around the country that Chicago does have some good young players to rebuild around.
Cubs players have had some impact in recent All-Star Games. Below is a look at the team's players who have been chosen as All-Stars over the past five seasons, along with a summary of each player's performance.
Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano
Soriano hit a two-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning to cut the American League's lead to one run. The National League fell short, though, losing the game 5-4. Lee had one hit in two at-bats and also walked once.
The Cubs were one of the top teams in baseball during 2007-08 and were rewarded with eight All-Star selections for the 2008 contest. Soto and Fukudome both started the game, but each went 0-for-2 at the plate. Ramirez had one plate appearance and reached base on a walk, but probably could have played more since the game took 15 innings to complete. Although the American League won 4-3, Zambrano, Dempster and Marmol combined to throw four scoreless frames, with Dempster striking out three hitters in his one inning. Soriano and Wood did not play in the game.
Lilly did not pitch in the game, which the American League won 4-3.
Byrd was a key player in the 2010 game. With two outs in the seventh inning, he had an 0-2 count before drawing a walk against pitcher Phil Hughes to load the bases. The next batter, Brian McCann, hit a three-run double to help the NL win 3-1. Later, in the bottom of the ninth inning, Byrd made a great defensive play, throwing out David Ortiz at second base on a fly ball that dropped right in front of him. It was the National League's first win since 1996.
The National League claimed the victory for the second straight year, winning 5-1. However, Castro was 0-for-1 with a strike out as the Cubs' lone representative.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.