Any idea what player led the National League in HRs and RBIs this season but failed to make the NL’s All Star roster???
Hard to believe such a player would slip through the cracks isn’t it. (I’m blaming hanging chads)
In fact, it’s been 60 years since such a slugger was left off the All Star roster, that man being the Reds’ Hank Sauer.
But, despite using this trivia as another example of why MLB’s current system for determining home field advantage for the World Series is a joke, I’d rather focus on abandoned NL All Star Ryan Howard and his world champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Thinking back on this post season it occurred to me that the entire Phillies team was under appreciated this year the same way Howard was at the All Star break.
Honestly, between naming the Cubs World Series champs in September and drooling over Manny’s arrival in L.A. when was there time to think about the Phils as the best club the NL had to offer?
Moreover, baseball fans, including myself, seemed to concentrate more on Brett Myers demotion to Triple-A than a blossoming Cole Hamels, paid more attention to J-Roll’s early season plate struggles than his NL leading .988 fielding percentage, focused more on Brad Lidge’s past than his phenomenal 41-for-41 save percentage and more on Charlie Manuel’s southern twang than his (.543) career winning percentage.
From a personal standpoint, it’s disappointing that I failed to pick up on just how good the Phils bullpen was this regular season.
Seriously, it’s one thing to overlook Howard’s league leading HRs and RBIs in late June, but another not to catch a Philly pen that finished the season ranked 1st in ERA and winning percentage (.589), 2nd in Wins (33) and Saves (47) and allowed the 3rd fewest home runs in the NL – 2nd fewest in the majors (Toronto). That’s a big “my-bad” on my part.
Of course, now that the Phillies have been crowned champions it much easier to see why they reached the summit.
As for Howard being left off the NL’s roster, that’s another story.