Back to the Future: Projecting Prospect All-Star Games of the Past

We took five seasons from the past 35 years and dreamt up starting lineups for the Futures Game filled with the best young talent of the time.

30 Jun 1998: Adrian Beltre #29 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in action during an interleague game against the Texas Rangers at the Ball Park in Arlington, Texas. The Dodgers won the game, 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport

The Futures Game was implemented as part of the MLB All-Star break beginning in 1999 and since has garnered more focus as the players, and their development, have received more attention.

But what could it have looked like before? We took five seasons from the past 35 and dreamt up starting lineups filled with the best young talent at the time.

With prospect reviews more robust and widely known today than in the past, this is more an exercise in imagination than examination. Also, all players are based on the organizations they were with at the time. Same goes for teams and what leagues they were in (ex: Brewers in the AL and Astros in the NL).


American League

SP: Tom Gordon – Kansas City Royals

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C: Bob Geren – New York Yankees

1B: Hal Morris – New York Yankees

2B: Lance Blankenship – Oakland A’s

SS: Gary Sheffield – Milwaukee Brewers

3B: Scott Cooper – Boston Red Sox

OF: Albert Belle – Cleveland Guardians

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OF: Ken Griffey Jr. – Seattle Mariners

OF: Steve Finley – Baltimore Orioles

National League

SP: Mike Harkey – Chicago Cubs

C: Sandy Alomar Jr. – San Diego Padres

1B: Brian Hunter – Atlanta Braves

2B: Gregg Jefferies – New York Mets

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SS: Jeff King – Pittsburgh Pirates

3B: Dave Hollins – San Diego Padres

OF: Dwight Smith – Chicago Cubs

OF: Thomas Howard – San Diego Padres

OF: Mike Deveraux – Los Angeles Dodgers

Griffey was in Double-A by mid-’88 after being taken No. 1 by Seattle the year prior. He would become a major leaguer at the start of ’89, so it’s conceivable he’d be here. Plus, with the All-Star festivities taking place at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium, he would’ve gotten to play where his dad did.

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Sheffield, who came up as a shortstop, was a teenager but would be a Brewer by September. King was the top pick of the 1986 amateur draft.


American League

SP: Todd Van Poppel – Oakland A’s

C: Iván Rodriguez – Texas Rangers

1B: Mo Vaughn – Boston Red Sox

2B: Bret Boone – Seattle Mariners

SS: Pat Listach – Milwaukee Brewers

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3B: Mark Lewis – Cleveland Guardians

OF: Tony Clark – Detroit Tigers

OF: Bernie Williams – New York Yankees

OF: Carl Everett – New York Yankees

National League

SP: Anthony Young – New York Mets

C: Dan Wilson – Cincinnati Reds

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1B: Jeff Bagwell – Houston Astros

2B: Carlos Garcia – Pittsburgh Pirates

SS: Wil Cordero – Montreal Expos

3B: Willie Greene – Montreal Expos

OF: Reggie Sanders – Cincinnati Reds

OF: Rondell White – Montreal Expos

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OF: Raul Mondesi – Los Angeles Dodgers

Van Poppel was the top prospect by ’91, only to end up with a lackluster professional career. Rodriguez, who eventually made his way to Cooperstown, had gotten the call-up in June and would be a major league All-Star participant within a year. Two future Cleveland stars could’ve made the team: Jim Thome and Kenny Lofton (then with Houston’s organization).


American League

SP: Brien Taylor – New York Yankees

C: A.J. Hinch – Chciago White Sox

1B: Carlos Delgado – Toronto Blue Jays

2B: Brent Gates – Oakland A’s

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SS: Derek Jeter – New York Yankees

3B: Russ Davis – New York Yankees

OF: Jeffery Hammonds – Baltimore Orioles

OF: Johnny Damon – Kansas City Royals

OF: Michael Tucker – Kansas City Royals

National League

SP: Allen Watson – St. Louis Cardinals

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C: Mike Piazza – Los Angeles Dodgers

1B: Phil Nevin – Houston Astros

2B: Pokey Reese – Cincinnati Reds

SS: Preston Wilson – New York Mets

3B: Chipper Jones – Atlanta Braves

OF: Cliff Floyd – Montreal Expos

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OF: Calvin Murray – San Francisco Giants

OF: Dimitri Young – St. Louis Cardinals

The National League squad features a pair of Hall of Famers who took opposite paths to stardom. Atlanta made Jones the top overall selection in 1990, while Piazza was famously chosen in the 62nd round in 1988. Taylor is one of a select few to be a well-hyped prospect who never played in an MLB game. Jeter, on the other hand, was well on his way — debuting in 1995.


American League

SP: Bartolo Colón – Cleveland Guardians

C: Jason Varitek – Seattle Mariners

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1B: Richie Sexson – Cleveland Guardians

2B: Todd Walker – Minnesota Twins

SS: Nomar Garciaparra – Boston Red Sox

3B: Miguel Tejada – Oakland A’s

OF: Darren Erstad – California Angels

OF: Jose Cruz Jr. – Seattle Mariners

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OF: Ben Grieve – Oakland A’s

National League

SP: Kerry Wood – Chicago Cubs

C: Jason Kendall – Pittsburgh Pirates

1B: Todd Helton – Colorado Rockies

2B: Pokey Reese – Cincinnati Reds

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SS: Edgar Renteria – Florida Marlins

3B: Scott Rolen – Philadelphia Phillies

OF: Vladimir Guerrero – Montreal Expos

OF: Richard Hidalgo – Houston Astros

OF: Andruw Jones – Atlanta Braves

The younger, slimmer version of Bartolo Colón began his long career with Cleveland and was a big leaguer by the start of the next season. Reese didn’t debut until ’97 either, so why not make him a two-time participant in this mythical event? These rosters collectively have two Hall of Famers, including one of the newest in Rolen (along with Vlad Sr.)


American League

SP: Matt White – Tampa Bay Devil Rays

C: Ramón Hernández – Oakland A’s

1B: Carlos Lee – Chicago White Sox

2B: Luis Rivas – Minnesota Twins

SS: Michael Cuddyer – Minnesota Twins

3B: Troy Glaus – Anaheim Angels

OF: Rickey Ledee – New York Yankees

OF: Vernon Wells – Toronto Blue Jays

OF: Jayson Werth – Baltimore Orioles

National League

SP: Kris Benson – Pittsburgh Pirates

C: Ben Davis – San Diego Padres

1B: Lance Berkman – Houston Astros

2B: Brent Butler – St. Louis Cardinals

SS: Chase Utley – Los Angeles Dodgers

3B: Adrián Beltré – Los Angeles Dodgers

OF: Mark Kotsay – Florida Marlins

OF: J.D. Drew – St. Louis Cardinals

OF: Chad Hermansen – Pittsburgh Pirates

Matt White is another of the unfortunate ones, rated in the top 10 on the Baseball America prospect list only to never see big league action. Drew, Glaus, Wells, and Cuddyer were all taken early in the 1997 draft, with Drew notably asking out of the Phillies organization. There are no Hall of Famers…yet. Beltré is certain to be the first.