2013 MLB All-Star Game Thread: Nationals' OF Bryce Harper In New York's Citi Field

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' outfielder Bryce Harper is starting in center tonight and batting ninth for the National League as they take on the American League All-Stars in the 84th MLB All-Star Game tonight in Citi Field in Flushing, Queens, New York.

Al Kaline was 20 years and 205 days old in his third season in the majors with the Detroit Tigers when the outfielder was elected by fans to start in the outfield for the American League All-Star team alongside Boston Red Sox' left fielder Ted Williams and New York Yankees' center fielder Mickey Mantle. Kaline had a .371/.447/.620 line with 13 doubles, six triples and 19 HRs before the Midsummer Classic that year on the way to leading the majors with a .340 AVG that season. Kaline went 1 for 4 with a walk in the July 12, 1955 game that ended when Stan Musial hit a bottom of the 12th inning walk-off home run to lead the National League to a 6-5 victory.


• via Marty Perlmutter on YouTube.

In a 2005 interview with Toldedo Blade writer Matt Markey, Kaline told reporters he was awed by the faces he saw when he looked around the locker room and opposing team's dugout that summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Milwaukee County Stadium. Williams, Mantle, Yankees' catcher Yogi Berra, a then-37-year-old Washington Senators' first baseman Mickey Vernon, a 21-year-old Milwaukee Braves' outfielder Hank Aaron and a 24-year-old Willie Mays from the San Francisco Giants.

"It was a real honor to be there," Kaline said, "it was shocking, it was humbling - it was a lot of things all at once." - Al Kaline on first All-Star appearance to the Toledo Blade in 2005

"'It was a real honor to be there," Kaline told the Toledo Blade's Mr. Markey, "it was shocking, it was humbling - it was a lot of things all at once.'" Kaline would go on to make 17 more All-Star appearances over the course of his 22-year MLB career.

Four years after Al Kaline's first All-Star appearance, on August 3, 1959, Baltimore Orioles' right-hander Jerry Walker became the youngest pitcher to start an All-Star Game.* Walker, born in Byng, Oklahoma in 1939, was 20 years and 172 days old when he started for the American League and New York Yankees' manager Casey Stengel in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, went three innings and earned the win in a 5-3 AL victory.

Walker, in his third major league season, was (7-3) at the All-Star Break in 1959 with a 2.61 ERA in 89 2/3 IP over which he'd held opposing hitters to a .233/.280/.385 line. It would be the one and only All-Star appearance of Walker's eight-year MLB career.

Thirty-five years after Al Kaline, on July 10, 1990, Ken Griffey, Jr., at 20 years and 231 days old in his second season in the majors with the Seattle Mariners, became the second-youngest starting position player to take part in the All-Star Game when he took the field for the American League in center with Oakland A's Rickey Henderson in left and Jose Canseco in right in Chicago's Wrigley Field.

Griffey had a .331/.399/.508 line with 17 doubles, two triples and 12 HRs in 84 games and 361 plate appearances before that season's Midsummer Classic in the Cubs' home. Griffey was 0 for 2 with a walk in American League's 2-0 win over the National League All-Stars in what was his first of 13 career All-Star appearances.

"His first pennant race he hit the cover off the ball, last year at 19. He loves the big moment. He's been in big moments his whole life." - Davey Johnson on Bryce Harper on MLB Network Radio

When Bryce Harper takes the field in center in Citi Field tonight, he'll be the third youngest position player to start in the All-Star Game at 20 years and 270 days old in his second major league season. The Washington Nationals' 2010 no.1 overall pick made his first All-Star appearance as a reserve in his rookie campaign last season on the way to winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Harper had a .282/.354/.472 line with 15 doubles, four triples and eight home runs in 63 games and 227 PAs at the break last summer. Harper hit for Carlos Beltran in the fifth and went 0 for 1 with a walk and a K in Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.

Harper was elected to the starting outfield on the National League All-Star roster this summer, becoming the youngest player to ever start for the NL squad. At the Break, and having missed a month-plus with a knee injury, Harper has a .264/.371/.522 line with nine doubles, two triples and 13 home runs in 58 games and 242 plate appearances so far this season. Manager Bruce Bochy announced on Monday that the Nats' left fielder would play center tonight with St. Louis Cardinals' outfielder Carlos Beltran in right and Colorado Rockies' outfielder Carlos Gonzalez in left.


Joining Harper in New York is Nationals' starter Jordan Zimmermann, who was named to NL roster, but decided against pitching so that he could rest a persistent neck issue and head into the so-called "second-half" of the 2013 campaign at 100% health. Davey Johnson's in New York as well, named to manager Bruce Bochy's staff in what is expected to be Johnson's final year on the bench in the nation's capital.

It all starts at 8:00 pm EDT tonight... or more likely like 30-40 minutes after that....

[ed. note - " * = MLB.com's All-Star Game history lists Dwight Gooden in 1986, "... at 21 years, seven months and 30 days," as the youngest pitcher to start an All-Star Game. Several other sources contradict that claim and list Jerry Walker at 20 years and 172 days old in 1959 as the youngest."]

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