We Can't Watch the All-Star Game, But We Can Enjoy Learning More About These Cute Baseball Pros

Yes, the MLB All-Star Game has been benched for the first time since World War II, but teams are still set to take the field in just a week. Here's E!'s primer on the pros that have got game.

By Sarah Grossbart Jul 14, 2020 7:00 AMTags
Hot Baseball Players Feature, Clayton Kershaw, Cole Hamels, Robinson Cano, Kris Bryant, JD MartinezGetty Images; Shutterstock; Melissa Herwitt/E! Illustration

It's been 258 days and approximately 85 years since the Washington Nationals won the World Series. And it seems unlikely any of us will be taken out to the ballgame for peanuts, Cracker Jacks and a pennant race anytime soon. 

So, yeah, it's definitely a blow that Major League Baseball canceled tonight's All-Star Game for the first time since World War II. We won't see the likes of Mookie Betts and Mike Trout battle it out for division dominance (the prize of home advantage in the World Series was dropped in 2017) or watch teams' heavy hitters swing for the fences in the Home Run Derby. 

But, unlike other sporting events, baseball hasn't been permanently benched and we will absolutely, definitely (probably) be able watch players take the field in just one week. That, is, assuming nothing derails the league's planned kick-off, a July 23 double-header that will pit the New York Yankees against the Nats and the San Francisco Giants against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Related: Erin Andrews Shows Off Epic Sports Collection

And, until then, we've got just the thing to fill the baseball-sized hole in your hearts. 

While, perhaps, not a complete primer on the season to come (the TL;DR version: each team will play 60 games, largely facing off with other clubs located nearby), it is E!'s take.

photos
Athlete Romances You Should Be Rooting For

We've rounded up some of the best players who will be competing this summer. And, as an added bonus, the guys are all-around team players: do-gooders off the field, dedicated spouses and fathers and solid friends. Plus they're pretty cute. So there's that. 

So step up to the plane and read all about our picks for the baseball pros who have truly got game.  

Justin Verlander

Team
Houston Astros
Stats
Age: 37
Height: 6-foot-5
Position: Pitcher
Game Play
Despite not really being a hitter, the two-time Cy Young Award winner truly swung for the fences when he first met now-wife Kate Upton on the set of the MLB 2K12 commercial in 2012. Awash with confidence coming off nabbing the Pitching Triple Crown and the AL MVP award, "I told my friends that I was gonna get her number," he recalled to Us Weekly of meeting the supermodel. The only snag: his mic was still on "and she heard me!" he continued. "But it worked." Well aware of his embarrassment of riches, he gives back at every turn, announcing in April his intent to donate his MLB paychecks "to a different organization each week so that we can support their efforts and highlight the great work they're doing during the COVID-19 crisis."

Bryce Harper

Team
Philadelphia Phillies
Stats
Age: 27
Height: 6-foot-3
Position: Right Field
#Squad
Hailed as the most exciting sports prodigy since LeBron James before he was drafted no. 1 in 2010, the Phillies' $330 million man is busily building a team of his own. Ten months after they welcomed son Krew in August, he and wife of three years, Kayla Harper announced she is due to give birth to a daughter this December. To hear 2012's NL Rookie of the Year tell it, his high school sweetheart, a former soccer player at Ohio State University, is already an all-star mom. "He's so lucky to have you as his mother and I'm so lucky to be your husband," he wrote in a November tribute. "Thank you for always being there for me and no matter what always having my back. I love you for the eternities!"

Cole Hamels

Team
Atlanta Braves
Stats
Age: 36
Height: 6-foot-4
Position: Pitcher
What a Play
The leftie was a pitcher on the Clearwater Threshers, the Phillies farm team, when he crossed paths with Survivor's fifth-pace finisher, Heidi Strobel in 2004. After the Drury University grad, who famously stripped down mid-challenge to score some chocolate and peanut butter (which, #relatable), threw out the first pitch, he approached to ask for her autograph and a date. Two years later, they wed on New Year's Eve and by 2008 she was by his side as he collected World Series MVP honors. 

Giancarlo Stanton

Team
New York Yankees
Stats
Age: 30
Height: 6-foot-6
Position: Left Field
Go-to Uniform
When not wearing the Yankees' pinstripes, the two-time NL Silver Slugger prefers to suit up in designer wares. "I like to dress up and 'fashion out' a bit," he told DuJour of being drawn to Dolce & Gabbana garb. "I'm not the guy who'll want to wear a suit every day but I like to switch it up." Nights out with Michael B. Jordan and Donald Glover give him occasion to turn out, though the cofounder of dental charity All-Star Smiles admits more than a few of his evenings ends with binging Animal Planet and Planet Earth. 

J.D. Martinez

Team
Boston Red Sox
Stats
Age: 32
Height: 6-foot-3
Position: Left Field
Out of the Park
Though the three-time All-Star told MLB.com he lives for Beantown's history, he's most happy on the harbor. "Get on the boat or fishing, sandbar—whatever it might be," he said of his favorite place to escape the game. "Just get on the boat, really" Despite appearances, the Miami native, dating former Dolphins cheerleader Ariana Aubert, insists he's not the all work and no play type. "I think I'm a funny guy," he said. "I'm somewhat serious, but I also like to have fun and talk trash. With my group of friends, we love to make fun of each other. With my friends back home, you're never safe. Someone's always waiting for you to slip up so they can pounce on you, and it's kind of fun. That's how we joke with each other."

Robinson Canó

Team
New York Mets
Stats
Age: 37
Height: 6-foot
Position: Second Base
Stepping Up to the Plate
For the father of two, a five-time Silver Slugger and two-time Gold Glove, enjoying the fruits of his labors means maintaining a car collection that includes a Lamborghini Urus and a Rolls-Royce Cullinan. But what truly drives him is his RC24 Foundation, which established a Montessori school in his Dominican Republic hometown. "I've been blessed that I've been able to go to school and play at a high level, so [my thinking is that if I] get paid that amount of money, why not go back and give back to the community?" he reasoned to Haute Living in March. "There's always going to be another second baseman. [I want them to see me as] Robbie, that I'm a human being like anyone else. I want to be remembered as a humble guy that really cares and gives back."

Mookie Betts

Team
Los Angeles Dodgers
Stats
Age: 27
Height: 5-foot-9
Position: Right Field
Triple Play(er)
A standout baseball and basketball player at his Nashville high school, he's also a pro level bowler, having struck his way to several perfect games. Pressed to name something he's not a natural at, it may just involve Kynlee, the daughter he welcomed with middle school sweetheart(!) Brianna Hammonds 10 days after winning a World Series with the Red Sox. "Man, she's nasty," he joked with announcers while mic'd up for a spring training game last March, riffing on his time at the changing table. "You don't really know about what goes into these diapers. So public service announcement: Brace yourself. It is not fun."

Jose Altuve

Team
Houston Astros
Stats
Age: 30
Height:5-foot-6
Position: Second Base
Tat's All
Of all the interesting factoids that could be shared about the six-time All-Star (he was barred from participating in a tryout in his native Venezuela at 16 for being too short, only to return the next day and sign as a free agent), it's a tattoo on his left clavicle that's received the most play of late. The Cliff Notes version of a somewhat convoluted story: After Altuve stopped his fellow Astros from ripping off his jersey following a walk-off homer that won them the ALCS last year, conspiracy theorists alleged he was hiding a buzzer that helped him steal pitching signs. His teammate countered by insisting he was simply masking unfinished ink he'd gotten for 3-year-old daughter Melanie. Now he'll have to make room for more. This past November, wife Nina Altuve announced she was expecting their second daughter. 

Tim Anderson

Team
Chicago White Sox
Stats
Age: 27
Height: 6-foot-1
Position: Shortstop
Love of the Game
Having already made his mark off the field, he and wife Bria Anderson participating in Becoming a Man and Working on Womanhood programs in addition to his League of Leaders group, helping kids affected by violence, the father of two is ready to cement his legacy on the diamond. Reprimanded for flipping his bat toward the dugout in celebration after one home run shot, he vowed...to keep doing it. His intent, he explained, is to show kids that baseball can be just as cool as basketball, the sport he originally aspired to play while growing up in Alabama. Citing legendary athlete Jackie Robinson as his inspiration, he told USA Today in April, "I want people to remember me as someone always bringing positive energy. Jackie broke the color barrier. I want to break the no-fun barrier. I want to make a difference too, taking a step for the black culture of baseball."

Josh Bell

Team
Pittsburgh Pirates
Stats
Age: 27
Height: 6-foot-4
Position: First Base
Book Smart
Home run hitter by day, educator by night? As peaceful protests cropped up all around the country in the wake of George Floyd's death, the son of a college professor and a computer programmer started a book club with his teammates, sharing titles such as The Alchemist and The New Jim Crow, in the hopes of sparking meaningful discussion. "It's kind of like who I am as well as books that I feel like everybody should read so everybody can be on the same page in regards to not only understanding what social justice looks like, but understanding what being a good human being looks like," the Texas native, dating law student Arlia Duarte told The New York Times earlier this month. "I feel like if I promote that message, it's not going to be going up into a conversation like this, like one side or the other, like you're either right or you're wrong. We're all in this thing together."

Sterling Sharp

Team
Miami Marlins
Stats
Age: 25
Height: 6-foot-3
Position: Pitcher
In His Dugout
More than seven years into their romance, he gushed of fiancée Chloe, "my heart still beats faster whenever you walk into the room." But asked to name his favorite teammate, he told the Marlins' SB Nation community, Fish Stripes, that honor would have to go to his older brother. "We are four years apart so we never played with each other, but one time, they needed a player for a travel ball game," recalled the change-up specialist, who still does charity work in his native Detroit. "I was 14 at the time, I think, playing with 18-year-olds. He caught and I pitched. I threw a complete game to my brother. It was a pretty cool moment and one I won't forget."

Clayton Kershaw

Team
Los Angeles Dodgers
Stats
Age: 32
Height: 6-foot-4
Position: Pitcher
Winning Spirit
Keeping busy during quarantine wasn't all that challenging for the father of daughter Cali, 5, and sons Charley, 3, and Cooper, 6 months. But in addition to binging The Last Dance and Netflix kid's series Dragons: Rescue Riders, blasting Brad Paisley and Kidz Bop as his tribe roamed their Texas backyard and raising funds for COVID-19 relief through he and wife Ellen Kershaw's foundation, he's managed to find an outlet for his competitive drive. Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner "set up a Zoom game night for a few of us," he recently shared with Los Angeles Magazine. "We used a website that had games, I forget what it's called. In some of the games you had to draw something, others you had to solve a riddle. It got us competing, which is always good."

Mike Trout

Team
Anaheim Angels
Stats
Age: 28
Height: 6-foot-2
Position: Center Field
Big Hitter
Well before he signed his $430 million, 12-year contract, the eight-time All-Star, three-time MVP had a tendency to go big. There was the way he first attracted now-wife Jessica Trout, acting up in Spanish class at their New Jersey high school so the teacher would move him to the seat behind her and the way he proposed, years later, through skywriting. Their December 2017 vows featured some 750 candles and a stack of Christmas gifts the couple donated to hospitals. "It was the biggest, craziest, most awesome and loving day of my life," he said. And their grandest adventure still awaits, with, Jessica due to give birth to their son next month. "Little man, you have the best mommy already," he wrote in a March tweet, "and I can't wait to be your dad!

Kris Bryant

Team
Chicago Cubs
Stats

Age: 28
Height: 6-foot-5
Position: Third Base
Batting a Thousand
A year before Verlander made the whole World Series win-wedding double-header trend a thing, Chicago's blue-eyed 2015 Rookie of the Year was marrying high school sweetheart Jessica Bryant in their hometown of Las Vegas roughly two months after the Cubs made history. And while their nuptials, complete with endless florals, sparklers and a doughnut escort cards, was the stuff of fantasies, the couple's origin story is every bit as dreamy. Now parents to 3-month-old son Kyler, the two were high school athletes back in 2006 when Jessica's mom mentioned the cute boy that was playing on her brother's baseball team. "I told her to stop," she recalled to Martha Stewart Weddings. "But then I met him and thought, Mom was right."