Crash Landing: All-Stars, Odubel, and A New Era

I have a trivia question for you — name all of the Phillies All-Star Game representatives who were born in the ‘80s. Take your time. I’ll even give you a hint, they’re all included on this list of All-Star representatives since 2007:

Phillies All-Stars Since 2007
2016 Odubel Herrera (OF)
2015 Jonathan Papelbon (P)
2014 Chase Utley (2B)
2013 Domonic Brown (OF), Cliff Lee (P)
2012 Cole Hamels (P), Jonathan Papelbon (P), Carlos Ruiz (C)
2011 Roy Halladay (P); Cole Hamels (P); Cliff Lee (P); Placido Polanco (3B); Shane Victorino (OF)
2010 Roy Halladay (P); Ryan Howard (DH); Chase Utley (2B)
2009 Ryan Howard (1B); Raul Ibanez (OF); Chase Utley (2B); Shane Victorino (OF); Jayson Werth (OF)
2008 Brad Lidge (P); Chase Utley (2B)
2007 Cole Hamels (P); Aaron Rowand (OF); Chase Utley (2B)


Did you spot them? There are two reasonably obvious ’80s babies. Until Odubel Herrera was named an All-Star, Domonic Brown (remember that guy?) was the youngest member in the fraternity of Phillies All-Stars. He was born in September 1987 and was a representative of the new wave of talent that was to help return the Phillies to relevancy… or so we told ourselves once upon a time. Another 80s baby? Cole Hamels. He was born in 1983 and made three All-Star appearances for the Phillies.

Okay, now keep going. The last two are Jonathan Papelbon and Shane Victorino… barely. Both of them were born in November 1980. That’s it. Players ranging from age 26 to 36 were born in the ’80s and, somehow, the Phillies have only sent four to the mid-season classic.

I suppose this shouldn’t come as a big shock. The Phillies were an “old” team for a long time and most of their recent core of regular All-Stars — Utley, Howard, Halladay, Lee — were born in the late ’70s. It’s just that I never really thought about it in these terms until yesterday when Odubel Herrera took the field… as the first ’90s baby to be a Phillies All-Star.

Herrera was born in December 1991 and is now ushering in an era where the Phillies greats will be kids who have lived their entire lives in a world where the Soviet Union did not exist. (Fun? fact: Herrera was born three days after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.) We had a bit of a false start on the new era of Phillies All-Stars with Brown, but this time it’s for real. It has to be, because there’s no other alternative. Howard and Ruiz are in the final months of their Phillies tenures which makes it almost a given that next year’s Phillies representative(s?) will be young members of the new talent wave.

It will be years before know exactly what role these new players will play in Phillies history. Is the emerging core that of a perennial playoff contender? Is it a championship core? Over the next few years, there will be a bunch of new additions to the list of Phillies All-Stars — will any of them be building careers that will one day warrant a spot on the Wall of Fame? Time will tell.

For now, the Phillies have a deserving 24-year-old All-Star roaming center field. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it wasn’t easy to appreciate in the moment. Herrera caught one fly ball and flew out in his one three-pitch plate appearance. His presence in the game was (understandably) overshadowed by the “real” All-Stars. You know, the ones the league can market. The ones who will win awards and star in the postseason. Herrera’s not there. He may never get there, but his presence in the game Tuesday night was just another in a long string of reminders that change is afoot in Philadelphia and the future remains maddeningly unwritten.

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  1. Rei De Bastoni

    July 14, 2016 09:47 AM

    So Jimmy Rollins had more MVP awards than All Star Game appearances in that time frame? I didn’t realize that.

    • Carmine

      July 14, 2016 10:41 AM

      According to Wikipedia, Jimmy was an all-star in 2001, 2002 and 2005, but not in his MVP year. Go figure.

  2. Michael C Lorah

    July 14, 2016 01:31 PM

    Wow. I feel like a young man still, but sometimes, I realize how easy it is to be younger.

    I sometimes think part of the joy and wonder, for me, of the great 2007-2011 line-up is that they are, chronologically speaking, my peers. Randy Wolf, who missed being on a Phillie playoff team by one season, was born four days after me. Rollins, Utley, Howard, et. al. were born within 2-3 years of me and are essentially the same age as my younger brothers. Those players made for a higher level of vicariousness, living the life that very young me hoped for. (If only I were born with any athleticism!*).

    And now we have players born in the 1990s. It’s not quite the same as seeing guys my age excelling, but it’s still very exciting to see these young guys coming up and making their mark. I’m really excited about the next few years of Phillies baseball.

    *I still managed to turn into a pretty good slow-pitch softball player. Just make the ball twice as big and five times slower and I can really mash! 😉

    • Chris S.

      July 18, 2016 02:46 PM

      I was born 3 days ahead of Clayton Kershaw! That counts for something right 😉

  3. 100Bucks

    July 15, 2016 05:08 PM

    Next year, Franco.

  4. Berdj Joseph Rassam

    July 18, 2016 05:51 PM

    The Phillies are in a funk and seem to be far-removed from any hope of the playoffs.

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