I researched and wrote a full feature on this topic last year, but the story bears following simply because it’s such a remarkable streak.
There are three former Modesto minor leaguers on the rosters for this year’s major league All-Star Game, which means a former Modesto player or manager has been in an All-Star dugout as a player or coach for 46 straight years.
This year’s threesome: Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz (Modesto A’s 2004,) Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (Modesto Nuts 2005,) and San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera (Modesto Nuts 2007.)
Of the three, Cabrera has to be the most surprising. He has the least name-recognition, and never has played in more than 155 games in five major league seasons.
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Cabrera was an up-and-coming shortstop in an organization filled with up-and-coming shortstops. Not only was Tulowitzki already established in Denver, but the Rockies had Chris Nelson, Omar Quintanilla, Jonathan Herrera and Clint Barmes ahead of him at the position.
Cabrera hit .300 in Tri-City in 2007 and was called up to Modesto for the final week of that season. Instead of staying in Modesto for the 2008 season, Cabrera went to Asheville and hit .284 with 73 stolen bases at age 21.
Partly because of the logjam at the position, Cabrera was expendable and the Rockies left him off their 40-man roster. San Diego grabbed him in the Rule 5 draft, and now, at 26, he’s going to his first All-Star Game.
He entered Thursday hitting .296 with four homers and 25 RBI, and leads the National League with 32 stolen bases. He will be the lone Padre in the game.
Modesto’s remarkable streak almost ended last year, when their lone representative was National League manager Tony La Russa.
La Russa never was an All-Star as a player, and saw action in only 132 major league games over six seasons.
But in 1966, he hit .291 with seven homers in 81 games with the Modesto Reds, and didn’t get much attention on a Modesto team that included future Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson and Rollie Fingers, and future All-Stars Dave Duncan and (Downey High’s) Joe Rudi.