Dillinger came up to the majors in 1946 with the St. Louis Browns at the age 27, spending the 1943-1945 years in military service during World War II. Despite a career batting average of .306 in his six seasons in the majors, Dillinger played in only one All-Star game.
He was named to the 1949 American League squad that defeated the National League, 11-7. Dillinger entered the game in the sixth inning as a pinch-runner for Tigers third baseman George Kell and scored on a Roy Campanella error. Dillinger remained in the game and had his only at-bat in the top of the sixth inning at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, singling off Cardinals pitcher Howie Pollet to drive home Joe DiMaggio from second base.
Dillinger said the mid-summer classic was different than it is today. "We played hard and played to win. You wanted to do good," he said. "Even though it was my first and only All-Star game, I played in those types of games before. During the war, I played on the special service team with guys like Joe DiMaggio, Ferris Fain, Jerry Priddy and other big leaguers. I played center field for DiMaggio's club in Guam in front of 40,000 troops.
"Baseball was good to me, but today, I don't think any All-Star player is worth a million dollars. In my time, we worried about getting winter jobs. I worked construction in the off-season and when I left baseball, I worked for the city of Los Angeles as a construction inspector.
"I could have been on other All-Star teams," Dillinger said, "but I was picked for only one. I'm glad I got the chance and did well."