Mark Story

Is Walker Buehler Lexington’s first MLB All-Star? It’s complicated.

Dodgers star Walker Buehler, back in Lexington, hosts charity golf event

Lexington's Walker Buehler, who pitched in the World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers, hosted a golf outing benefiting Kids Cancer Alliance on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018.
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Lexington's Walker Buehler, who pitched in the World Series for the Los Angeles Dodgers, hosted a golf outing benefiting Kids Cancer Alliance on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018.

When former Henry Clay High School star Walker Buehler was chosen as a member of the 2019 National League All-Star Team after a stellar first half of the season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, it raised an obvious question:

Has anyone from Lexington ever before appeared in Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game? The 90th Mid-Summer Classic will be played July 9 in Cleveland.

The answer to the above query is it depends on how you define ‘’from Lexington.”

All-time, there are 25 players who have reached the big leagues that are listed by Baseball-Reference.com and/or Baseball-Almanac.com as either having been born in Lexington or having graduated from high school here.

Of those 25, 22 either never did or have not yet made an MLB All-Star team.

Buehler.jpg
Former Henry Clay High School star Walker Buehler is 8-1 this season as a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Wally Skalij Los Angeles Times/TNS

Of the other three, two did not finish their schooling in Lexington.

Former Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians infielder Travis Fryman played in five All-Star Games, representing the Tigers in 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996 and the Indians in 2000.

According to his biography at Baseball-Reference.com, Fryman was born in Lexington on March 25, 1969. However, he was drafted by Detroit in the first round of the 1987 MLB Draft out of Gonzalez Tate High School in Pensacola, Fla.

It is a similar story for longtime major-league relief pitcher Tyler Clippard.

Clippard made the National League All-Star Team in 2011 and 2014 while with the Washington Nationals. In fact, Clippard was the winning pitcher in the NL’s 5-1 win over the American League in 2011.

Also listed by Baseball-Reference.com as a native of Lexington, Clippard was born here on Valentine’s Day in 1985.

But Clippard — who has appeared in 23 games this season for the Cleveland Indians — was selected in the ninth round of the 2003 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees out of JW Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, Fla.

So it appears Buehler will be the first player who was both born in Lexington and who grew up here all the way through high school to participate in the All-Star Game.

A 6-foot-2, 174-pound right-handed starting pitcher, Buehler was elected to the 2019 National League All-Star Team by the players’ vote.

Buehler, who will turn 25 on July 28, has helped the Dodgers to the best record in baseball (58-29 entering Wednesday night’s games) by compiling an 8-1 record with a 3.43 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP.

Since May 1, Buehler has a 2.66 ERA with 80 strikeouts and only five walks.

Buehler will be one of three Dodgers starting pitchers on the National League team, joining Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw. Los Angeles Manager Dave Roberts, who will skipper the National League team, has already announced that Ryu will be the starting pitcher for the NL.

Bottom line: If you define “from Lexington” to mean having grown up here through the conclusion of high school, then Walker Buehler will next week become the first product of our city to participate in the MLB All-Star Game.

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All-Star Game

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Progressive Field in Cleveland

TV: Fox-56

Mark Story has worked in the Lexington Herald-Leader sports department since Aug. 27, 1990, and has been a Herald-Leader sports columnist since 2001. I have covered every Kentucky-Louisville football game since 1994, every UK-U of L basketball game but three since 1996-97 and every Kentucky Derby since 1994.
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