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Can Marcus Semien Elevate Cal Baseball's Profile in the Mid-Summer Classic?

Four previous Golden Bears have batted just 2-for-15 in the All-Star Game.

Marcus Semien, who will start at second base and bat sixth in the American League lineup on Tuesday night, will try to provide a boost to what has been an uneventful history by Cal players in the major league All-Star Game.

Semien, representing the Toronto Blue Jays, is just the fifth Golden Bear alum to play in the Mid-Summer Classic. This is his All-Star Game debut.

IN-GAME UPDATE: Semien went 1-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning with the AL leading 4-1. He drove in the game's first run with an infield single in the second. It was the first All-Star Game RBI by a Cal player since Sam Chapman did it in 1946 - 75 years ago.

He is the first Cal player to play in the game since Jeff Kent made his fifth and final appearance in 2005. Other ex-Golden Bears who played in the ASG: Chapman, Jackie Jensen, Andy Messersmith.

Semien is in his first season with the Blue Jays after six years as the Oakland A’s shortstop. He was third in the American League MVP voting in 2019 after hitting 33 home runs, driving in 92 runs and scoring 123. But he didn’t make the All-Star Game until this year.

A three-year player at Cal (2009-11), Semien is batting .277 this season with 21 doubles, 22 home runs, 67 runs and 56 RBI. He has 10 stolen bases and has been caught stealing just once. Defensively, Semien has played 77 games at second base, just 11 at shortstop along with one as DH.

It won’t take much for Semien to deliver the best performance in an All-Star Game by a former Cal player.

Golden Bears are a combined 2-for-15 at the plate without a home run in the All-Star Game. Their lone pitching appearance netted a 6.00 earned run average.

Here’s a look back at how past Cal players fared as All-Stars:

SAM CHAPMAN (1946): Chapman grew up in Mill Valley and was a two-sport star at Cal, including as an All-American running back on the Bears’ 1937 national championship football team that is responsible for the program’s most recent Rose Bowl victory.

Chosen in the third round of the 1938 NFL draft, he opted for baseball instead and played 11 seasons in the majors, missing three while serving in the Navy during World War II. He hit 180 career home runs while playing center field for the Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Indians.

Chosen to play in the 1946 All-Star Game, Chapman was 0-for-2 with an RBI in the American League’s 12-0 victory that was powered by Ted Williams going 4-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI in front of his home crowd at Fenway Park.

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JACKIE JENSEN (1952-55-58): A star at Oakland High School, Jensen was another two-sport star and All-America running back for the Bears. He helped Cal win the inaugural College World Series title in 1947 then became the Bears’ first 1,000-yard running back in 1948.

After playing for the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League, Jensen had stints with the New York Yankees and Washington Senators before joining Ted Williams in he Red Sox outfield.

He played in three All-Star games, seeing brief action without an at-bat in 1952 and going 0-for-1 off the bench in ’55.

In 1958 — when Jensen won the American League’s MVP award — he was 0-for-4 while batting third in the starting lineup behind his former teammate, Mickey Mantle. The AL claimed a 4-3 win over an NL team that included Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, Stan Musial, Ernie Banks and Warren Spahn.

ANDY MESSERSMITH (1971-74-75-76): The right-handed pitcher who challenged baseball’s reserve clause and earned free agency after the 1975 season had an 11-year MLB record of 130-99 with a 2.86 earned run average. He won 20 games twice, including in 1974, when he made his only appearance in the All-Star Game, starting for the National League.

Messersmith pitched three innings, striking out four (including Reggie Jackson), and allowing two earned runs. He got no decision in the NL’s 7-2 victory.

He never left the dugout in the 1971, '75 or ’76 All-Star Games.

JEFF KENT (1999-2000-01-04-05): Kent was Cal’s starting shortstop for three seasons (1987-89), during which time he was a second-team All-Pac-10 pick while helping the Bears to the 1988 College World Series.

Picked by Toronto in the 20th round of the 1989 MLB draft, Kent went on to play 19 seasons in the majors, becoming one of the most offensively productive second basemen in big league history. He hit 334 career home runs and won National League MVP honors with the Giants in 2000 when he hit 33 home runs, batted .334 and drove in 125 runs.

Kent played in five All-Star Games, three times with the Giants and once each with the Astros and Dodgers. He was a combined 2-for-8, including a double in 2004, but never drove in a run. Regrettably, Kent also never played on the winning side in the All-Star Game.

Cover photo of Marcus Semien by Winslow Townson, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo