Shea Hillenbrand – 2005
Stats – .291/.343/.449
The story of Shea Hillenbrand’s All-Star selection in 2005 was an interesting one. A batting line of .302/.364/.451 with 9 home runs and 42 RBI is fairly solid for the first half of the season. He also didn’t experience any sort of precipitous decline in the second half either.
So why does Shea Hillenbrand make this list?
Well for starters, Shea Hillenbrand was selected to the game as a reserve and listed as a first baseman on the All-Star roster. However, he spent the 200 campaign bouncing between first, third, and designated hitter, with Corey Koskie and Eric Hinske listed as the starters at the respective corners and Aaron Hill getting 31 starts as the team’s DH.
Secondly, Hillenbrand was not the team’s only selection, with Roy Halladay making the roster but not actually appearing in the game. Forcing Hillenbrand onto the team seemed odd, especially considering he was one of 3 first baseman/designated hitters on the bench.
Meanwhile, a reasonably productive Vernon Wells, who had 17 home runs and 50 RBI in the first half, sat at home in place of Scott Podsednik . Don’t even get me started on how Podsednik managed to finish 12th in the MVP voting in 2005.
Back to Hillenbrand, it was also notable because of his future, both with the Blue Jays and in baseball altogether. About a year later, on July 19, 2006, Hillenbrand famously got into a scuffle with then Blue Jays manager John Gibbons after writing “This is a sinking ship” and “Play for yourselves” on the clubhouse message board. He was designated for assignment the next day and traded to the San Francisco Giants days later. In all, Hillenbrand would last two seasons in Major League Baseball after his 2005 All-Star selection, unable to shed the label of clubhouse cancer.