Lobbying for rest and rehabilitation over appointment to the National League All-Star team, Dodger outfielder Kirk Gibson got his wish Thursday when pitcher Orel Hershiser became the only member of the West Division leaders to be selected for Tuesday's game in Cincinnati.
The Angels will be represented only by second baseman Johnny Ray on the American League team, since Manager Tom Kelly of the Minnesota Twins chose his own catcher, Tim Laudner, over Bob Boone, a sentimental possibility who also boasted solid statistics.
With fans having elected the starters, National League President Bart Giamatti and Manager Whitey Herzog of the St. Louis Cardinals completed their 28-man squad Thursday by selecting nine pitchers, seven infielders, three outfielders and a catcher. The Chicago Cubs, third in the National League East, will have six players on the team. Herzog's Cardinals, fifth in the East, will have four, as will the New York Mets, who lead the East.
Kelly and American League President Bobby Brown selected 10 pitchers, eight infielders, two outfielders and a catcher. They chose an extra infielder because the listed starting shortstop, Alan Trammell of the Detroit Tigers, is on the disabled list with an elbow injury and will not play Tuesday. Kelly's Twins, second in the West, and the Oakland Athletics, first in the West, both placed five players on the American League team.
Gibson, the Dodger catalyst who is batting .298 with 15 homers and 46 runs batted in, was among the selections Herzog submitted to the league office, according to the manager, but Gibson said he preferred having the time off and apparently asked Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda to speak with Herzog on his behalf.
"Kirk told me that his leg has been bothering him," Lasorda said. "He's been running, but not 100%. He said he wanted to have the time off to get treatment. I talked to Whitey. I think he would have been selected if he had felt his leg was 100%."
Gibson will spend the three-day break in his hometown of Lapeer, Mich. He rejected interview requests Thursday and released the following statement through the Dodgers' public relations office:
"I feel that each player selected to the All-Star team deserved that honor. Personally, I am focused on the success of our team this year. That has been and will continue to be my goal."
Gibson has never appeared in an All-Star game. Sparky Anderson, his manager with the Detroit Tigers and the American League manager in 1985, submitted his name that year, too, but Gibson declined, establishing his pattern.
"There are people who like being stars, so let them shine," he had told Vern Plagenhoef of the Booth newspaper chain Wednesday.
Herzog selected Willie McGee of the Cardinals, Andy Van Slyke of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Rafael Palmeiro of the Cubs as the outfield reserves behind starters Darryl Strawberry of the Mets, Andre Dawson of the Cubs and Vince Coleman of the Cardinals.
Asked if he were upset that only one Dodger had been selected, Lasorda said that John Shelby, Steve Sax and Mike Marshall were worthy of consideration, in addition to Gibson, but that it is a no-win proposition for the All-Star managers, who are forced to pick at least one player from every team and are bound to slight someone.
"I've managed three of those things and I know how tough it is," Lasorda said, adding that he would not disenfranchise the fans and that, in fact, the best idea might be to let them pick the entire team, relieving managers of the inevitable repurcussions.
Said Hershiser, when asked if he was surprised to be the Dodgers only representative:
"On one hand it's a slap in the face to a team that's in first place and has been in first place for more days than any other team. On the other hand it's a compliment in that no one player is having an unbelievably brilliant year and everybody is chipping in.
"You would think we'd be better represented, but it shows a team effort, and if a guy like John Shelby hadn't been injured for a while, his statistics might be so good they would have had to pick him."
Hershiser, who has a 13-3 record, said he was flattered to have been picked for a second time but that he has to make sure he keeps his "game face on" for Sunday's start against the Pirates, deeming it more important than Tuesday's All-Star game. The Sunday start will prevent Hershiser from starting Tuesday, but he said that he could be available for an inning since it is his normal day to throw.
"It depends on how I come out of Sunday's start," he said. "In any event I would be overlooking my responsibility to the Dodgers by pitching more than an inning because they want me to start again Friday."
Of Herzog's nine All-Star pitchers, Hershiser, Greg Maddux of the Cubs and David Cone of the Mets are all starting Sunday. Herzog said he will probably start Dwight Gooden of the Mets in Tuesday's game.