Three former Smokies were named to the All-Star Game this season, including St Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro. Now current Oakland Athletics pitcher and former Cub, Jeff Samardzija, was also named to the National League team. Casey McGehee of the Miami Marlins is one of five candidates who have a chance to win the final spot on the National League roster (Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, Braves’ Justin Upton, Rockies’ Justin Morneau, Nationals’ Anthony Rendon are the other four) in a vote.
Molina, who played with Tennessee in 2003, was named to his sixth straight All-Star game after hitting .292 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs and is widely regarded as baseball’s best defensive catcher as he has thrown out 50 percent of would be base stealers this season. In 2003 with the Smokies, he played in 104 games hitting .275 with two home runs and 51 RBI.
Castro will be participating in his third All-Star game and owns a .287 mark with 11 home runs and 51 RBI this year. He played with Tennessee during parts of the 2009 and 2010 season, participating in 57 games to combine for a .332 average with a home run and 34 RBI.
Samardzija, who was recently traded to the Oakland Athletics in part for the newly acquired shortstop for the Smokies, Addison Russell, was named to his first All-Star game. Between the Athletics and Cubs he owns a 3-7 record and 2.74 ERA. He will not be able to participate, unless he is selected by the American League manager John Farrell (Boston Red Sox) because of an injury to another player, because of being traded from a National League team to an American League team. He spent two seasons with Tennessee in 2007-08 and went 6-8 with a 4.40 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 22 appearances, including 21 starts.
McGehee, who spent all of 2013 season in Japan, has put together a nice season with Miami, hitting .320 with a home run and 53 RBI. If he wins the final roster spot vote, it would be his first All-Star game selection. McGehee played in 105 games with the Smokies in 200, accumulating a.273 clip with nine home runs and 54 RBI.
Dating back through the 1979 Mid-Summer Classic, the Smokies have had at least one Major League All-Star every season, marking 36 consecutive years. This year’s All-Star game will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 at 8:00 p.m. ET, and will be televised live on FOX.