History of Japanese payers in MLB All Star Games

Cross-posted to JBP blog: Koji Urehara, Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka: 2014 All Stars. I ment to get this up much quicker but finally did it!

History of Japanese payers in MLB All Star Games by year:

  • 1995: 1 Nomo
  • 1996: 0
  • 1997: 0
  • 1998: 0
  • 1999: 0
  • 2000: 0
  • 2001: 2 Ichiro Sasaki
  • 2002: 2 Ichiro Sasaki
  • 2003: 3 Ichiro Matsui Hasegawa
  • 2004: 2 Ichiro Matsui
  • 2005: 1 Ichiro
  • 2006: 1 Ichiro
  • 2007: 3 Ichiro Saito Okajima
  • 2008: 2 Ichiro Fukudome
  • 2009: 1 Ichiro
  • 2010: 0
  • 2011: 0
  • 2012: 1 Darvish
  • 2013: 2 Darvish Iwakuma
  • 2014: 3 Darvish Tanaka Uehara


Uehara and Darvish at 2014 All Star

Uehara and Darvish at 2014 pre-All Star Game practice.

This year, even though one of them was on DL, was the third time in the MLB history three Japanese players were selected on MLB All Star team. Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka was selected and Koji Uehara filled in the roster for injured Tanaka (though I need to clarify that it had nothing to do with Japanese player replacing a Japanese player, Uehara was the next most qualified player to be on the AS when Tanaka got hurt. Some Japanese report emphasized this as if Uehara “filled-in” for Tanaka…)

According to Rangers’ Press Release Darvish has been selected to the All-Star team in each of his three major league seasons. This makes him just the second A.L., pitcher to ever be an All-Star in as many as his first three big league campaigns (rookie status in year one). The other was Jonathan Papelbon, who was an All-Star in his first four years with Boston from 2006-09. Only three other major league pitchers have ever been All-Stars in at least their first three seasons after not making their ML debuts until first year of that span: 7 Tom Seaver, Mets (1967-73); 3 Don Newcombe, Dodgers (1949-51); 3 Dwight Gooden, Mets (1984-86).

Darvish pitched a perfect third inning (Puig K, Tulowitzki L7, Goldschmidt L4), and Uehara came in in the top 6th, with two outs, two run lead and runner on the third. Koji struck out Reds’ Devin Mesoraco with three pitches (swinging). Though this was Darvish’s third selection, this was his All-Star Game debut.

Here is a good piece on Uehara written by Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. A four-time All Star Ian Kinsler thinks “he’s one of the most underrated players around.” A quote from O’s Adam Jones, Koji’s former-teammate, about sums it up: “I faced him when we were in Boston and he struck me out. I had three fastballs to hit and I still I can’t believe I didn’t absolutely annihilate one.”

If you haven’t, read an Excellent piece on Masahiro Tanaka by New York Times’ Barry Bearak.

List of 12 Japanese players that made MLB All Star team

(Updated July 8, 2014)

  1. Hideo Nomo (Los Angeles Dodgers): 1995
  2. Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners): Ten times – 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  3. Kazuhiro Sasaki (Seattle Mariners): Twice – 2001, 2002
  4. Hideki Matsui (New York Yankees): Twice – 2003, 2004
  5. Shigetoshi Hasegawa (Seattle Mariners): 2003
  6. Takashi Saito (Los Angeles Dodgers): 2007
  7. Hideki Okajima (Boston Red Sox): 2007
  8. Kosuke Fukudome (Chicago Cubs): 2008
  9. Yu Darvish (Texas Rangers): Three times – 2012, 2013, 2014
  10. Hisashi Iwakuma (Seattle Mariners): 2013
  11. Masahiro Tanaka: 2014
  12. Koji Ueahaea: 2014

Same list by year:

  • 1995: 1 Nomo
  • 1996: 0
  • 1997: 0
  • 1998: 0
  • 1999: 0
  • 2000: 0
  • 2001: 2 Ichiro Sasaki
  • 2002: 2 Ichiro Sasaki
  • 2003: 3 Ichiro Matsui Hasegawa
  • 2004: 2 Ichiro Matsui
  • 2005: 1 Ichiro
  • 2006: 1 Ichiro
  • 2007: 3 Ichiro Saito Okajima
  • 2008: 2 Ichiro Fukudome
  • 2009: 1 Ichiro
  • 2010: 0
  • 2011: 0
  • 2012: 1 Darvish
  • 2013: 2 Darvish Iwakuma
  • 2014: 3 Darvish Tanaka Uehara

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