North Carolina has been one of the preeminent baseball programs in the country, especially over the past 10-15 years. They’ve put a lot of talent into the MLB draft, and while some of those player haven’t set the pros on fire, some have and currently still are making their mark in the majors.
With the Major League Baseball All-Star Game coming up, here’s a look at some Tar Heels who have gotten the honor of making the rosters for the Midsummer Classic.
Four former Tar Heels have made two All-Star Games, with Andrew Miller being the most recent, making his second appearance this year. His first game came just last year, where he threw 0.2 innings as the American League won 4-2.
Brian Roberts only played two years at UNC before transferring, but he does count as one of the Tar Heels to play in two All-Star Games. He was voted in as a starter in 2005 after hitting 15 home runs in the first half of the season. Roberts also made the team in 2007. He picked up one hit and a walk across his two All-Star Game appearances.
To find the next two-time Tar Heel All-Star, you have to go all the way back to 1946. Snuffy Stirnweiss was a multi-sport star at UNC, but chose to play baseball for the Yankees. He had a solid 10-year career in New York and two other teams, but the peak of it came in the mid ‘40s. Stirnweiss went 1-3 in 1946, which was the only time he played in an All-Star Game.
Technically speaking, Stirnweiss was only voted an All-Star once, however he counts as making it twice. In 1945, MLB did not play the ASG due to wartime travel restrictions, and rosters for the game were not officially named. Several outlets, including the Sporting News, did have the managers vote on All-Star teams for that year, and Stirnweiss made it. Places such as Baseball Reference listed him as being a two-time All-Star, so we’ll count it. Considering that he finished third in MVP voting and led the league in several categories that year, he probably would have made it officially anyway.
The fourth Tar Heel to appear in two All-Star Games was Burgess Whitehead. The infielder made them both on the strength of his fielding, as his offensive numbers in both seasons were below average. Not shockingly, he was used as a pinch runner in both games and didn’t get an at-bat.
Seven other Tar Heels have made one All-Star game in their careers. The two players from recent years to make it have been Matt Harvey of the New York Mets and Kyle Seager of the Seattle Mariners. Harvey started the game for the National League as his Mets hosted the 2013 game.
Arguably the best All-Star Game performance by any Tar Heel belongs to Walt Weiss. The shortstop won Rookie of the Year in 1988, but never quite replicated the offensive highs of that season until 1998. After a hot first half, he started the game in ‘98. He got three at-bats in the game, collecting two singles and driving in a run.
Other former UNC players who have been All-Stars are Nate Andrews, Lew Riggs, and B.J. Surhoff. Those three either didn’t get in the game or didn’t do anything especially notable on the field.
Considering his status as one of the best relievers in the game, you might see Andrew Miller shine in the game on Tuesday. If he does, it will be another chance for a former UNC great to represent Tar Heel baseball on one of the biggest stages.