Introducing Tyler Krusz
With the MLB season halfway over, and the 2018 midsummer classic right around the corner, it’s appropriate to reminisce a little over the past matchups between baseball’s best.
When you put the best pitchers and the best hitters on the same diamond and yell, “Play ball,” there’s always going to be some excitement. From walk-offs, to pitchers duels, to never-ending games, check out the nine most interesting MLB All Star Games of all time.
Cincinnati - 1970, NL 5-4 (12 innings)
With the new rules protecting players, it’s rare to see a full blown collision at the plate without consequences these days. Fortunately for Pete Rose, no such rules existed in 1970. Jim Palmer and Tom Seaver started for their respected teams, and the game was scoreless until the sixth. After a few runs were chipped in, the NL trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, but tied it after Willie McCovey’s RBI single. In the 12th, with the score knotted at four, Pete Rose and Billy Grabarkewitz both singled with two outs. Jim Hickman followed with a base hit, and Rose was sent home on the play. Following a perfect throw from Amos Otis, one of the craziest moments in baseball history was born: Rose slammed into catcher Ray Fosse, knocking him over and forcing him to drop the ball, allowing Rose to score the winning run.
Milwaukee - 2002, Tie 7-7 (11 innings)
This game had it all, except for a winner. The excitement started in the bottom of the first, when Barry Bonds hit a would-be home run, had it not been for Torii Hunter. Following Hunter’s robbery, Bonds playfully carried him on his shoulders and jogged around prior to taking his position in the outfield. Bonds had another chance in the third, and this time cleared the fence with a two-run shot to put the NL up 4-0. The American League was resilient, taking the lead in after a four run seventh thanks to a two-run double by Paul Konerko. The game would be tied 7-7 in the eighth, and eventually headed to extra innings. After a scoreless 10th and top of the 11th, both teams ran into an issue- they had no available pitchers left. AL and NL managers Joe Torre and Bob Brenly met with Commissioner Bud Selig before the bottom of the 11th and decided that should the game be tied after the inning, it would end in a draw. Fans responded by throwing beer at the commissioner, and no MVP award was given. The following year, the MLB instituted a rule to place home field advantage in the World Series on the line in the All Star Game, ending the possibility of a tie.
Boston - 1999, AL 4-1
The fireworks in this one started before AL Starter Pedro Martinez threw out the first pitch. Ted Williams himself, in one of his last public appearances before passing away three years later, was booked to throw out the first pitch. It was so hectic, with players wishing to see The Splendid Splinter, that the PA Announcer had to request the players to retreat to the dugouts. Then, Martinez started the game with three straight strikeouts- the first pitcher to ever do so in an All Star Game. Martinez, the 5’11, 195 lb. Dominican Republic native, proceeded to strike out five of the six batters he faced- all in the height of the steroid era. Some of the names of his victims include Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, and Barry Larkin. Pedro would go on to get the victory for the American League in his home ballpark.
Milwaukee - 1955, NL 6-5 (12 innings)
The American League started hot, boasting a murderer’s row of Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Al Kaline. They rose to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, and were ahead 5-0 by the seventh. The NL fought back, however, eventually tying it in the eighth after a Hank Aaron single. It all came down to the 12th, when Cardinals’ Stan Musial only needed one pitch to send everyone packing with a walk-off home run.
Anaheim - 1967, NL 2-1 (15 innings)
This game was probably one of the greatest pitching duels in MLB history. Both teams combined for 17 hits and 30 strikeouts over the 15-inning marathon. The NL led 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth, when Brooks Robinson tied it with a solo homer. For the next nine innings, both teams put up shutouts, until the top of the fifteenth. Catfish Hunter was on for his fifth inning of relief, and Cincinnati's Tony Perez broke the tie with a blast to left-field. Tom Seaver came on and closed the game out for the NL with a scoreless fifteenth, ending the defensive battle.
Brooklyn - 1949, AL 11-7
The Dodgers hosted the midsummer classic at Ebbets Field in 1949, the only year the All Star Game was ever played there. The AL was victorious, thanks to Vic Raschi’s three-inning save, however this game was historic for more than the gameplay. A couple years after Jackie Robinson famously broke the MLB’s color barrier, a handful of other colored baseball players were voted to the All Star game- including Robinson’s teammates Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella. Larry Doby of the Indians also made an appearance in center-field.
Detroit - 1941, AL 7-5
The offense didn’t wake up for either team until later in this one. Bob Feller started for the AL with three one-hit innings, and the American League led 2-1 heading into the seventh. Arky Vaughn then pushed the NL ahead with two-run homers in consecutive innings, practically nailing the coffin on the American League. However, nothing was too tall a task for Ted Williams, who hit a three-run walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth to bring the AL to a 7-5 victory. This season marks the last time anyone hit over .400 in a season- an accomplishment held by Williams himself.
New York - 2008, AL 4-3 (15 innings)
In a marathon that turned out to be the longest All Star game in history, the American League finally walked off with a victory at 1:38 in the morning, four hours and 51 minutes after the first pitch. J.D Drew of the Red Sox took home the MVP after tying the game at two in the seventh with a two-run blast. Both teams put up a run in the eighth, and the game was held scoreless unitl the bottom of the 15th. The AL loaded the bases, and Michael Young hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Justin Morneau nd ending the game.
New York - 2008, AL 4-3 (15 innings)
In a marathon that turned out to be the longest All Star game in history, the American League finally walked off with a victory at 1:38 in the morning, four hours and 51 minutes after the first pitch. J.D Drew of the Red Sox took home the MVP after tying the game at two in the seventh with a two-run blast. Both teams put up a run in the eighth, and the game was held scoreless unitl the bottom of the 15th. The AL loaded the bases, and Michael Young hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Justin Morneau and ending the game.
Chicago - 1950, NL 4-3 (14 innings)
17 years after the first ever midsummer classic, the MLB All Star Game finally saw extra innings. The American League was down 2-1 in the fifth when they pushed across two runs from a George Kell sacrifice fly and a Ted Williams RBI single. The game seemed routine, as the AL took their lead into the ninth and expected to finish with a victory. In the top of the frame, Ralph Kiner hit a solo shot off of the American League’s reliever, Art Houtteman. The AL failed to retake the lead in the bottom of the inning, and the All Star Game was offering free baseball for the very first time. The score stood at 3-3 until the top of the 14th, when Red Schoendienst rocked a solo home run to give the NL the lead. The AL threatened in the bottom of the frame, with a runner on and Joe Dimaggio at the plate with only one out. Dimaggio shocked everyone by grounding into a 5-4-3 double play and ending the ballgame.
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