By Ian Teti
Note: It was extremely difficult to find flameouts in the mass of Yankees All-Stars. The names in that exclusive club are so legendary and important to the game of baseball that the list had to be cut. There just simply aren’t enough flameouts among past Yankees All-Stars. But this five-man list represents some of the worst All-Stars in Yankees history.
– Jim Coates: After his monster winning streak of 13, earning him a 1960 All-Star trip, Coats became a hazard to the Yanks. He blew the 1960 World Series against the Pirates by giving up a go-ahead homer in Game 1, and gave up two runs in the eighth inning of Game 7 to allow the Pirates to come back and take the series in extra innings. The Pirates hit four home runs in that series; Coats gave up two of them. He was a World Series champion the following two years, but only behind the bats of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Roger Maris and Moose Skowron — and Whitey Ford’s pitching. Coats went 7-6 and lost Game 4 of the World Series. Good thing his team of legends was there to carry him.
– Robin Ventura: Ventura was a six-time Gold Glove winner before coming to the Yankees. What happened, Robin? In his “All-Star” 2002 season, he had the lowest fielding percentage of all third basemen in the major leagues. And the fielding collapse continued (23 errors in 2003, which tied for the MLB lead). He was benched before being traded. 23 errors for a former Gold Glove winner. Get real, Ventura.
– Javier Vazquez: In 2004 Vazquez was the bomb. 14-10 with 150 strikeouts, and he won Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against Boston. It’s not his fault the Yanks couldn’t close that out. I’ll give him his All-Star selection. But Vazquez took a brief hiatus from the Yanks before being picked up again in 2010, which was supposed to be an awesome pickup because Vazquez dominated in 2009. 2.87 ERA with 238 strikeouts? Hell yeah, give me Vazquez! But Vazquez finishes 10-10 with a 5.32 ERA, his highest since his rookie year. Not great. He will be remembered for an infamous game against the Rays when he hit three batters in one inning, leading the Rays to two runs on no hits. The Yanks demoted Vazquez to the bullpen and released him after the year.
– Russell Martin: Martin was never great. He earned $9.4 million in 2011 just because he caught over 110 games. Going into the All-Star break, he was hitting .220. So why the selection? And then the Yankees go on to sign him for another year in 2012 for $7.5 million, only to watch Martin strike out 95 times (he tallied 89 hits) and bat .211. Come on, man.
– Roberto Kelly: Kelly was great in his early Yankee days. His ’92 All-Star season was not amazing, but he hit a solid .272 and drove n 66 runs. So just end your career with the Yankees there, on a good note, right? I mean, you wouldn’t want to come back to the team eight years later, when you’re 35, only to get embarrassed. But that’s just what Kelly did. He returned to the pinstripes in 2000 for 10 games. In his 25 at-bats, he had three hits and six strikeouts. He did not play in the postseason, where the Yankees went on to win the World Series. Kelly hit .120 in his final season with the Bombers. What a shame.
Follow Ian on Twitter @icteti.
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