Watch out, Derek: Final All-Star Games haven't always been memorable for baseball's greats

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew
Willie Mays and Hank Aaron in 1973 (Getty Images)

Willie Mays and Hank Aaron

Willie Mays and Hank Aaron in 1973 (Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS — Derek Jeter has appeared in an even dozen All-Star Games over his career, going 11-for-25 with a home run, five runs, three RBI and one MVP award (Atlanta, 2000) over that time. 

Jeter has one more shot at adding to that impressive line Tuesday night at Target Field and there's no doubt a lot of people would like to see the New York Yankees' shortstop go out like Cal Ripken did in 2001.

Here's the thing, though: Big on-field moments like the one Ripken had at Seattle's Safeco Field — hitting a homer off Chan Ho Park— haven't been very common for the game's greats as they've played their final Midsummer Classics. Over the years, an aging All-Star has been far more likely to go out with a throwaway pinch-hit opportunity in the late innings than a memorable game-changing hit. 

Jeter will get a rare benefit in that he's slated to start the game and will probably receive more than the one plate appearance fading stars usually get. But what he does with those at-bats remains to be seen. 

Let's take a look at the final All-Star Games for some of the game's biggest stars:

Hank Aaron (County Stadium, 1975): 0-for-1

Hank Aaron
Hank Aaron

Hammerin' Hank made 24 All-Star appearances but his only one for the American League came in his final contest. An appreciative hometown crowd at County Stadium gave Aaron a big ovation when he served as pinch-hitter for Vida Blue in the second inning. He lined out again Jerry Reuss.

Willie Mays (Kauffman Stadium, 1973): 0-for-1, K
Mays also appeared in 24 All-Star games but his only All-Star at-bat in a Mets uniform was indicative of his tenure with the team. The 42-year-old Mays pinch-hit for Willie Stargell in the eighth inning and looked disappointed when he struck out against Sparky Lyle.

Willie Mays
Willie Mays

 Stan Musial (Municipal Stadium, 1963): 0-for-1
The first member of th 24-time club, Musial got his last at-bat on a pinch-hit opportunity for Ed Bailey in the fifth. The St. Louis Cardinals' great lined out to right against Jim Bunning.

Joe DiMaggio (Briggs Stadium, 1951): DNP
A leg injury sustained by the Yankee Clipper a few days before the game kept him off the field for his final All-Star Game.

Pete Rose (Metrodome, 1985): 0-for-1
Though he'd play 72 games in 1986, Charlie Hustle was the outgoing great the last time the All-Star Game was held in the Twin Cities. He pinch hit for Fernando Valenzuela in the eighth and grounded out against Donnie Moore.

Ted Williams (Yankee Stadium, 1960): 1-for-1
They held two All-Star Games in 1960 and it was a good thing for Teddy Ballgame. After going 0-for-1 in Kansas City, Williams singled off Larry Jackson while pinch hitting for Minnie Minoso two days later in New York. Williams was immediately lifted for pinch runner Brooks Robinson. 

Babe Ruth (Polo Grounds, 1934): 0-for-2
The All-Star Game wasn't invented until late in Ruth's career so he officially only made the team twice. After hitting a home run in the inaugural contest in Chicago, Ruth went 0-for-2 with two walks a year later in New York. His strikeout against Carl Hubbell touched off a famous run in which Hubbell dealt five straight strikeouts to Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin.

Mickey Mantle (Astrodome, 1968): 0-for-1, K
It was a symbolic changing of the guard in the New York baseball world as Yankees great Mantle, appearing in his 16th All-Star Game, struck out against young Mets pitcher Tom Seaver, who was appearing in his second of 12 games. 

Alex Rodriguez (Chase Field, 2011): DNP
OK, OK. So there's technically still a chance Alex Rodriguez could come back and make an All-Star team. There's also a chance he could play quarterback for the Jets. So for our purporses, this was A-Rod's last All-Star Game and he pulled out of it due to injury. He'll likely end with 14 appearances, the same number as Jeter (who also sat out this game citing 3,000 hits fatigue).

Barry Bonds (AT&T Park, 2007): 0-for-2
No one knew it at the time, but Bonds' 14th and final All-Star appearance came in front of a friendly crowd in the middle of his most controversial season. Giants fans gave him a big ovation when he was announced, but he went 0-for-2 in the game, flying out against Dan Haren and Josh Beckett. 

Carl Yastrzemski, Johnny Bench (Comiskey Park, 1983): 0-for1; 0-for-1, K
The 50th anniversary of the All-Star Game had two high-profile sendoffs but neither came close to providing a moment like Fred Lynn's grand slam for the AL team. Yaz struck out against Pascual Perez after pinch-hitting for Bob Stanley while Bench popped out off Matt Young while pinch-hitting for Jesse Orosco.

Rod Carew (Candlestick Park, 1984): 0-for-2
Carew started for the AL in his second-to-last season, striking out against Charlie Lea in the first inning and grounding into a double play off Fernando Valenzuela in the third. 

Tony Gwynn (Safeco Field, 2001): DNP

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

As his career wound down, Gwynn was invited to Safeco Field as a "special All-Star guest" and received many of the same tributes and odes that Ripken received. Interestingly, he also didn't see any action in his final official All-Star Game in 1999, but turned in one of that game's best moments when he helped Ted Williams throw out the first pitch at Fenway. 

Cal Ripken (Safeco Field, 2001): 1-for-2, HR
The gold standard of All-Star curtain calls even if you think Chan Ho Park grooved the pitch. An interesting tie-in for those looking for signs: Jeter also hit his only All-Star home run in this game in the sixth inning off Jon Lieber. 

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Kevin Kaduk is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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