MLB All-Star Game 1988: Kirk Gibson declines invite, Orel Hershiser lone Dodgers rep

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The Dodgers are 48-36 at the break in first place in the National League West, but sent just one player to the All-Star Game. But it wasn't for lack of trying.

The 1988 All-Star Game was played at Riverfront Stadium, home of the Reds. The Dodgers were in first place at the All-Star break, and have been for 64 of 84 games during the season. But the Dodgers only sent one player to Cincinnati, in ace Orel Hershiser.

Outfielder Kirk Gibson hit .299/.384/.517 with 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases, and was third in the league with 62 runs scored and fifth with a .901 OPS. Gibson was offered a spot on the team by Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog, but he declined, per Ross Newhan of the Los Angeles Times:

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.

Hershiser was a well-deserving choice, at 13-4 with a 2.62 ERA with six complete games and two shutouts. But he thought he should have been joined by more of his teammates.

He told the Associated Press it was "a slap in the face" that the Dodgers only had one All-Star, but noted, "It is also a compliment to the team because there is a team concept. There are a lot of players having good years, but it's our coming together as a unit that has made us successful."

John Shelby had a 24-game hitting streak in the first half, and is fifth in the NL with a .311 batting average and 10th with a .381 on-base percentage. Steve Sax his .287 with 21 steals and was 10th in the NL with 95 hits.

As for Gibson, he didn't feel like talking about bowing out of the All-Star Game when pressed.

"Why is everybody so interested in this?" Gibson told Sam McManis of the Times. "I'll be rested and ready to play when we get to Chicago. What I do is my business."

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