By Daniel Friedman
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The NHL has seen a handful of unlikely players voted for and into its All-Star Game in recent years, and with the latest surge of chatter surrounding John Scott, we thought it’d be a good time to list seven notable ASG controversies. So, with that, here we go:
1. Cincinnati Reds, 1957
All but one NL starter (Stan Musial) were Reds, and MLB found that a disproportionate number of ballots had come from Cincinnati. It turns out the Reds gave out ballots with local newspapers, among other things.
2. Terry Steinbach, 1988
Steinbach was hitting just .217 and had 19 RBIs for the Oakland A’s, but a local voting campaign to get him in did just that. The vote count would’ve actually been even higher, if not for the deluge of voided ballots that came from the Bay Area. In some instances, thousands of ballots were punched with a nail on a stick and were ultimately cast away by the commissioner’s office. Ironically, Steinbach homered off of Doc Gooden in the third inning of that Midsummer Classic.
3. Rory Fitzpatrick, 2007
The NHL’s first taste of the vote for (insert depth player here) phenomenon, “Vote For Rory” became part of every hockey fan’s lexicon within weeks. Fitzpatrick insisted Vancouver Canucks fans stop their madness and ultimately fell short of the mark to be named to the ASG. Many suspect that the NHL altered the final vote counts to keep him out of the game.
4. Montreal Canadiens, 2009
The Canadiens hosted the All-Star Game for their centennial year, and pretty much everyone on Montreal’s team, save for the equipment managers, made the Eastern Conference starting lineup. That included Mike Komisarek, a defenseman known far more for his play without the puck (and a Long Island native, too).
5. Zemgus Girgensons, 2015
A campaign out of Latvia emerged, in an effort to send its national treasure to the All-Star Game. It worked, and the Buffalo Sabres center was voted in as the unlikeliest of participants, let alone starters.
6. Kansas City Royals, 2015
The game was held in Kansas City and the AL starting lineup was majorly comprised of Royals. Unlike the Reds in ’57, the Royals didn’t do anything illegal or abnormal to swing the votes in their players’ favor, but the end result was a similar one.
7. John Scott, 2016
A complicated situation that, somehow, became even more complicated. Scott won the vote and was named captain of the Pacific Division All-Star team. He was subsequently traded from Arizona to Montreal and demoted to the AHL, making him ineligible to participate in the game. After a wave of fan backlash, the league announced Scott would be allowed to play and captain the Pacific squad.
Follow Daniel Friedman on Twitter @bardownhowitzer.