Gazing at the stars who’ve played here

For just the second time in the last 20 years, there will not be a former Bees player suiting up for the Major League All-Star Game.

The only other time this anomaly has occured in the last two decades was in 1996 (which, as a sidenote, was the last time the National League won the game).

Now take a moment — I’m not asking for a lot here, maybe 15 seconds — to consider just what this means. Think about all of the talented stars who have played their home games here in Burlington, the smallest market to host full-season professional baseball:

Kenny Rogers and Mark Buehrle — the last two pitchers to start the midsummer classic for the American League.

Jose Vidro and Javy Lopez.

Hall-of-Famer Paul Molitor, and Larry Walker, who should someday be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Ruben Sierra.

Doug Jones — an unlikely five-time all-star who was the winning pitcher of the ’94 all-star game.

Going further back in time, the star-studded list of former Bees includes the likes of Hall-of-Famer Billy Williams and Vida Blue (both six-time all-stars), Sal Bando and George Hendrick (four-time all-stars), and Phil Garner and Chet Lemon (members of the three-timer club).

And this doesn’t even consider all of the stars who’ve played here against the Bees. Once again, the Midwest League is well-represented at this year’s all-star game. Among the notable Midwest League alumni are David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Prince Fielder, Carlos Beltran, Albert Pujols, and both of tonight’s starting pitchers, Dan Haren and Jake Peavy.

When you’re watching the midsummer classic tonight, you’ll catch glimpses of several guys who have played here at The Hive, even if it wasn’t as members of the hometown team.

And the next time you’re out here, I’d encourage you to try to guess what players on the field will be the big league all-stars of tomorrow. Every Bees game, there’s a real possibility that you’ll see someone who will someday in the not-too-distant future perform on the national stage of the Major League All-Star game.

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