In a year of All-Star fresh faces, the first-timers reflect on what it means to be here

CLEVELAND — Before this season started, Texas Rangers pitcher Mike Minor convinced himself this would be the year. This year, he thought, he’d finally make the All-Star team.

Then he went out, had a magnificent first half, put together an 8-4 record with a 2.54 ERA and earned at trip to baseball’s midsummer classic.

This year’s MLB All-Star Game has an abundance of fresh faces. There are 36 first-time All-Stars in total — that’s nearly half of the 75 players who were named All-Stars this year, when you include the initial rosters and any roster replacements.

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Thirty-six! That’s quite a lot. Some of them are first-time eligible stars like New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso or Atlanta Braves rookie Mike Soroka, some are emerging stars coming into their own like Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Josh Bell, Oakland A’s third base whiz Matt Chapman and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler.

And there are also guys like Minor and White Sox catcher James McCann and Astros reliever Ryan Pressly, who have been in the big leagues five-plus years and now making their first All-Star appearance.

At this year's MLB All-Star Game, there are 36 first-time All-Stars. (Getty Images)
At this year's MLB All-Star Game, there are 36 first-time All-Stars. (Getty Images)

In the video above, we talked to a number of this year’s first-time All-Stars before Tuesday night’s game at Progressive Field about what it means to make it here, what they’re looking forward to and what they’re hoping to take away from the experience.

Every story is a little bit different. Every journey has a little bit of a different path. But what they share is the same destination — the All-Star Game, a culmination of years of hard work and a dream come true.

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Mike Oz is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @mikeoz

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