SAN FRANCISCO — Alex Cobb’s eyes got a little misty when he started to talk about it.
What made it so special that the San Francisco Giants right-hander will finally play in his first MLB All-Star Game in his 12th big league season, at 35 years old, after making 218 appearances for four different teams?
“Where I’m at in life,” he said. “This is my first one to experience at 35 and I’ll be able to have my wife, my two girls, my dad, people who have really impacted me early in my career, middle of my career to now.”
Cobb was told on Saturday morning that he’d be a late addition to the Midsummer Classic in Seattle on Tuesday.
He rarely shows up early to day games because the veteran has learned he prefers not to do his throwing early in the morning. So he started to get suspicious when the Giants called him to the park, then again when his agent texted him an emoji of two eyeballs.
When he arrived to Oracle Park and the team called an emergency clubhouse meeting, Cobb knew that one of his career goals was about to be fulfilled.
“Before the season you have tiny aspirations,” he said. “You see where the All-Star Game is located, you can picture yourself going there but it just never worked out, ever. I had some chances where I was close and things didn’t work out. A lot of it is health-related, schedule-related, there’s a lot that goes into it. I’ve always been at home during the All-Star break, watching it on TV. I had a little bit of that feeling where you feel like you’re missing out. So it’s really special being able to be a part of it this year. It humbles you as well.”
Cobb and his wife, Kelly, will bring their daughters, Chloe, 4, and Everly, 3, with them to Seattle. Cobb said he’s hoping they’ll remember it when they’re older.
“My older one knows what I do,” he said. “I think she thinks everyone does that. She’ll meet other kids at the park and they’ll say they’re going to the Giants game and they’ll ask what position their dad plays or to meet them in the family room afterwards.”
Those around the Giants clubhouse said the honor couldn’t have been given to a more deserving candidate.
“I get goosebumps thinking about it,” said left-hander Alex Wood. “He works his (tail) off, he’s been working at this a long time and there’s no greater honor on an individual level than to be going to an All-Star Game. I really am so freaking happy for him. I was jumping for joy when we found out this morning.”
The Giants will also be represented by closer Camilo Doval, the team’s original All-Star selection. Cobb was added Saturday as a late addition to replace Atlanta Braves right-hander Bryce Elder.
He said he expects to pitch in the game on Tuesday.
“Hopefully I throw in the All-Star Game so it fulfills two purposes,” he said. “Fulfill a lifelong dream and be a little bit sharper to pitch in my next outing.”
Since signing a two-year, $20-million deal with the Giants before the 2022 season, Cobb has seen his average velocity on his signature two-seam fastball jump to 95 mph. He averaged 91 to 93 mph throughout most of his career.
He currently owns a 6-2 record with a 2.91 ERA and 86 strikeouts to just 21 walks in 89 2/3 innings. His 4.1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the best of his career.
On a team that’s struggling to find consistent starting pitching, Cobb and Logan Webb have been the only two constants. Cobb has made 16 starts, despite a brief stint on the injured list with an oblique strain. He’s never made 30 starts in a season but has a chance to do that this year if he stays healthy the rest of the way.
Cobb was originally drafted out of Vero Beach (Florida) High School by Tampa Bay in the fourth round in 2006. He made his MLB debut with the Rays in 2011 and was a fixture in their rotation, posting a 3.21 ERA over four seasons until he needed Tommy John surgery and missed all of the 2015 season recovering.
He signed with the Orioles ahead of the 2018 season and struggled to stay healthy, making just 41 starts over three years. He later signed with the Giants after a brief stint with the Angels in 2021.
“This has been one of the better pitchers in baseball over the last two years,” said Giants manager Gabe Kapler. “Some injuries have come up over the last two that have prevented him from being a sure-fire no-brainer. But getting to see him pitch every fifth day and seeing the competitor he is, his attention to detail, how much he challenges himself, how hard he works, how much effort he puts into this, it’s really rewarding for our team to see him get rewarded.”