When the best players in the game gather in Kansas City tonight for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, no fewer than five of them will be alumni of the Cape Cod Baseball League. San Francisco's Buster Posey, Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, Baltimore's Matt Wieters, the White Sox' Chris Sale, and Arizona's Wade Miley, all showed off their skills with summers on the Cape.
And that number is probably lower than usual, considering that injuries or sub-par years have kept other all-star-caliber former Cape Leaguers off the field, players like Tim Lincecum, Mark Teixeira, Evan Longoria, Chase Utley, Lance Berkman, and Jocoby Ellsbury.
The Cape League's pattern of supplying top talent to the majors goes way back. Some of the best Major League players in recent decades also played on the Cape, including Thurman Munson, Carlton Fisk, and Frank Thomas. Even a few current managers—namely the Yankees' Joe Girardi and Baltimore's Buck Showalter—called the Cape home for a summer, back in their playing days.
Through the years, the Boston Red Sox have used their close proximity to scout some of the best the Cape League had to offer. Besides Fisk and Ellsbury, others Cape League alumni to head down to Boston include Mo Vaughn, Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell, Daniel Bard, Nomar Garciaparra, and Kevin Youkilis.
So, with the MLB All-Star Game tonight, and the CCBL All-Star Game coming up on July 28, Patch wants to know your favorite former Cape Leaguer of all time. Did you get the chance to catch one of these stars while he was still on the rise? Did you see Thomas hit a titanic shot for Orleans, or Barry Zito rip off a devastating curve for Wareham? Did you see Philip Humber—who threw a no-hitter in the majors earlier this season—while he was still pitching for Yarmouth-Dennis?
Even if you haven't been to a Cape League game, who's your favorite former player to bring his skills to the highest level? Share your picks, memories, and stories in the Comments section.