Baseball’s best players square off Tuesday night in the annual major league All-Star Game. As usual, most of the active players from cold-weather states like Washington will watch the game from a couch or bar stool, just like most fans.
Washington’s wet, cold springs do little to help develop major league players. Still, the Evergreen State has produced a number of outstanding performers over the years, including three Hall of Famers: Spokane’s Ryne Sandberg, Seattle’s Ron Santo and Snohomish’s Earl Averill.
To celebrate the 2018 All-Star Game, we’ve put together an all-time major league all-star team of players who attended Washington high schools. Some of the names, statistics and accomplishments may come as a surprise.
Sammy White, Lincoln (Seattle) – The former Washington Huskies baseball and basketball star hit .262 with 66 home runs in 11 seasons, primarily with the Boston Red Sox. He made the American League roster for the 1953 All-Star Game but did not play.
Backup: Mike Redmond, Gonzaga Prep (Spokane) – Originally signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Gonzaga University, Redmond hit .287 in 13 seasons and ranks third all-time among catchers with a .996 fielding average. Redmond, who hit just 13 home runs, spent much of his career backing up standout catchers Pudge Rodriguez and Joe Mauer.
John Olerud, Interlake (Bellevue) – Olerud went straight from Washington State University to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1989. Four years later, he became the only Washington native to win a major league batting title when he hit .363 for the Blue Jays. Olerud later enjoyed a pair of .300 seasons with the Seattle Mariners. He retired after the 2005 season with a .295 batting average, 255 home runs and three Gold Gloves in 17 seasons.
Backup: Jack Fournier, Aberdeen (Aberdeen) – From 1923-25, Fournier hit .351, .334 and .350 and averaged 24 home runs with the Brooklyn Robins (now the Los Angeles Dodgers). He finished with a .313 average and 136 home runs in 15 seasons.
Ryne Sandberg, North Central (Spokane) – Regarded by many as the greatest second baseman of all-time, Sandberg hit for average and power, stole bases by the bushel and fielded superbly. He was the National League’s MVP in 1984, but his best statistical season came in 1990, when he hit .306 with 40 home runs and 100 RBIs. An 11-time all-star and nine-time Gold Glove winner, Sandberg’s career average was .285. He hit 282 home runs and stole 344 bases in 16 seasons, mostly with the Chicago Cubs.
Backup: Bump Wills, Central Valley (Spokane Valley) – The six-year major league career of Maury Wills’ son ended when the Cubs moved Sandberg from third base to second base in 1983. Wills hit .266 and averaged 33 stolen bases.
Ron Santo, Franklin (Seattle) – Santo spent his first 15 years in the big leagues with the Cubs before finishing up with the cross-town White Sox in 1974. He hit .277 with 342 home runs. Santo posted single-season bests of 31 homers, 123 RBIs and a .312 batting average.
Backup: Ron Cey, Mount Tahoma (Tacoma) – A former WSU and Spokane Indians star, Cey batted .261 with 316 home runs in 17 seasons, mostly with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His career highs of 30 homers and 110 RBIs came in 1977.
Kevin Stocker, Central Valley (Spokane Valley) – Stocker reached the majors midway through the 1993 season, batting a career-high .324 in 70 games to help Philadelphia make it to the World Series. The former Washington Huskies All-American wound up batting .254 in eight seasons.
Backup: Willie Bloomquist, South Kitsap (Port Orchard) – Bloomquist played every position but pitcher and catcher during a 14-year career that began and ended with the Mariners. He batted .269 but hit just 18 home runs in almost 1,000 career games.
Bob Johnson, Tacoma – now Stadium (Tacoma) – Johnson quietly put up big numbers on horrible Philadelphia (now Oakland) Athletics teams after cash-strapped owner-manager Connie Mack sold other top players in the 1930s. In 13 major league seasons, Johnson hit .296 with 288 home runs. He batted .300 five times, drove in 103 or more runs seven times and belted 21 or more home runs in each of his first nine seasons.
Backup: Woody Jensen, Aberdeen (Aberdeen) – Jensen played in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ outfield with Hall of Fame brothers Paul and Lloyd Waner in the 1930s. A pesky singles hitter, Jensen batted .285 with just 27 home runs in nine seasons.
Earl Averill, Snohomish (Snohomish) – Averill hit .318 with 238 homers in 13 seasons. His best season came in 1936, when he batted .378 with 28 homers, 136 RBIs and an A.L.-leading 232 hits and 15 triples for Cleveland.
Backup: Grady Sizemore, Cascade (Mill Creek) – Sizemore was one of baseball’s brightest young stars before injuries took their toll. In 2006, he played all 162 games for Cleveland and led the major leagues with 53 doubles (tied) and 134 runs while batting .290 with 28 home runs. He played 10 seasons and hit .265 with 150 homers.
Jeff Heath, Garfield (Seattle) – Though he saw most of his playing time in left field, Heath also spent time in right field during a solid 14-year career. He hit .293 with 194 home runs, primarily with Cleveland. In 1941, Heath became the first American League player to hit 20 homers, triples and doubles in one season.
Backup: Roy Johnson, Tacoma – now Stadium (Tacoma) – Johnson matched the .296 career batting average of younger brother Bob but lacked Bob’s power (just 58 homers in 10 seasons). Roy led the American League with 45 doubles as a rookie with Detroit in 1929, and he led the A.L. in triples with 19 for the 1931 Tigers.
Richie Sexson, Prairie (Vancouver) – Sexson hit 30 or more home runs six times, and he also drove in more than 100 runs six times. Twice Sexson blasted 45 home runs for the Milwaukee Brewers, and he hit 39 for Seattle in 2005. He finished his 12-year career with 306 homers and a .261 batting average.
Backup: Earl Sheely, North Central (Spokane) – Sheely posted a .300 lifetime average in nine seasons, primarily with the Chicago White Sox in the 1920s. The former Spokane Indians player lacked power (48 home runs), speed (33 stolen bases) and defensive skills (113 errors at first base). However, in his eight full seasons, he never hit below .273, drove in less than 77 runs or struck out more than 34 times.
RIGHT-HANDED STARTING PITCHER
Mel Stottlemyre, Mabton (Mabton) – Stottlemyre played for the New York Yankees during some lean times from 1964-74, but he compiled a 164-139 record in 11 seasons. Few of today’s starting pitchers will approach Stottlemyre’s career numbers of 40 shutouts, 152 complete games and a 2.97 earned run average.
Backup: Tim Lincecum, Liberty (Renton) – Lincecum won the Cy Young Award as the top pitcher in the National League in 2008-09, when he compiled a cumulative 33-13 record and led the N.L. in strikeouts both years for the San Francisco Giants. Hampered later by injuries, Lincecum owns a career record of 110-89 with a 3.74 ERA.
LEFT-HANDED STARTING PITCHER
Jon Lester, Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma) – Lester’s career winning percentage of .645 (171-94) ranks 32nd all-time. He led the National League with a career-best .792 winning percentage (19-5) in 2006, when he helped the Cubs win the World Series for the first time in 108 years.
Backup: Vean Gregg, Clarkston (Clarkston) – His big league career was limited to nine seasons due to arm trouble, but Gregg posted a 92-63 record with a 2.70 ERA. He won 20 or more games for Cleveland in each of his first three seasons in the majors (1911-13).
Randy Myers, Evergreen (Vancouver) – Myers ranks 12th all-time with 347 saves and set the National League saves record (since broken) of 53 with the Cubs in 1993. Myers concluded his 14-year career with a 44-63 record, 3.19 ERA and 884 strikeouts in 884 2/3 innings.
Backup: Gerry Staley, Battle Ground (Battle Ground) – Staley compiled a 134-111 record, 3.70 ERA and 61 saves in 15 seasons. Once he became a full-time reliever (mostly with the White Sox) from 1957-61, he posted a 32-14 record, three sub-2.50 ERAs and 43 saves.
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