By: Brenna Carberry
When the MLB All-Star teams were revealed last week, much of the attention was focused on the Cubs dominating the National League roster.
But maybe the most underrated star of the midsummer classic was Theo Epstein, the one responsible for acquiring all seven Cubs players selected to this year's National League roster, as well as four of the six Boston Red Sox players selected to the American League roster.
Epstein's impact throughout his 14-year tenure with the Red Sox and Cubs can be seen on the list of players who made the trip to San Diego for this year's All-Star Game. Nine of the 11 All-Star selections who Epstein was involved in acquiring were starters in the midsummer classic.
The Cubs made All-Star history by becoming just the second team ever to have its entire infield start an All-Star Game - Anthony Rizzo (first base), Ben Zobrist (second base), Addison Russell (shortstop) and Kris Bryant (third base) - last to do it were the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals. Outfielder Dexter Fowler was also voted in as a starter for the NL All-Star team, but decided not to play in Tuesday night's game due to an ongoing hamstring injury. Pitchers Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta were selected as reserves for the National League squad.
For the Cubs, Epstein traded for Rizzo, Russell and Arrieta, drafted Bryant, and signed Zobrist. Epstein also acquired Fowler - initially through a trade, then Fowler re-signed with the Cubs through 2017 - and signed free-agent Lester.
As General Manager for the Red Sox Epstein made several key acquisitions, such as signing David Ortiz and Xander Bogaerts, and drafting rising stars Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts; all of which were starters in the All-Star Game.
Epstein's imprint stretches from Boston to Chicago, and this year's All-Star Game is an opportunity for baseball fans to recognize his greatness.
He has brought winning baseball back to both clubs, but his work in Chicago is far from complete if he is going to do what he did in Boston back in 2004, and again in 2007 - bring home a World Series trophy. While Epstein's acquisitions in Chicago have powered the Cubs to one of the best records in the MLB through the first half of the season, there is still plenty of baseball left to be played.
A World Series trophy in Chicago would put an end to the North Siders' 108-year drought, and it would prove that Epstein is a master at his craft (if you needed any further proof).