Each week, Big League Stew stat doctor Alex Remington will bring you a few baseball numbers you need to know. This week's crop focuses on stats related to the Midsummer Classic.
The number of home runs hit in the 80 All-Star Games that have been played. Stan Musial hit a record six home runs during his All-Star career. The active leader is Alfonso Soriano(notes) with three, while Andruw Jones(notes) has two. No other active player has more than one.
The number of All-Star appearances by Stan Musial, a record he shares with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. Along with Mays, Musial is probably the greatest All-Star hitter in history, leading or tied for the most games played, most home runs and most total bases (40). He also has the second-most PA (72), second-most runs scored (11), second-most hits (20), second-most RBI (10), and fourth-most walks (seven). But Musial's .317 average pales in comparison to that of Detroit Tiger Charlie Gehringer, who appeared in six All-Star Games and went 10-20 with nine walks and two stolen bases, batting a cool .500.
The record for most All-Star starts by a pitcher, shared by Don Drysdale, Robin Roberts and Lefty Gomez, who was the American League starter for five of the first six Midsummer Classics ever played, from 1933-1938. (Lefty Gomez's streak was coincidentally interrupted by Lefty Grove.) No active pitcher has started more than one. Among recently retired pitchers, Randy Johnson(notes) started four, while Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux(notes) each started three.
The number of consecutive All-Star Games the American League has won, from 2003 to 2009 and counting. However, the 2002 game ended in a tie, so of the games that have been completed, the American League has a 12-game winning streak. That's the longest undefeated spell in history, just past the National League's 11-game streak from 1972 to 1982. Overall, the American League has won 19 of the last 24 contests, though it's yet to match the National League's dominance from 1950 to 1982, when the Senior Circuit took 31 out of 37 games played.
Who pitched the most innings in the All-Star Game without giving up an earned run? You probably guessed it — Mel Harder. "Chief" Harder was one of the Indians' best pitchers before Bob Feller. He was an All-Star from 1934-1937 and spent his entire career with the Indians, won over 200 games for them, and later coached and managed for the team. This is one record that I hope stands forever, so that every summer I'll have an excuse to write about Mel Harder, and say his name over and over. (OK, I might be satisfied if his record were tied by Doug Fister.)
The career OPS of the inexplicably popular Yadier Molina(notes), who outpolled fellow All-Star Brian McCann(notes) by nearly 200,000 votes despite hitting .229 this year with good, but not sensational, defense. McCann was still selected to his fifth All-Star game, despite never once having been voted in by the fans, and remains the best offensive catcher in the NL. Molina had a fine season last year, which may explain the Cardinal fans' ballot-stuffing; he makes his second straight All-Star team after a legitimately good season last year in which he won a Gold Glove and had the fifth-highest catcher OPS in the league.