History of the Midsummer Classic
Baseball-Almanac.com's All-Star Game section
Baseball has always been more than just a game. As John S. Bowman and Joel Zoss stated in The Pictorial History of Baseball "As part of the fabric of American culture, baseball is the common social ground between strangers, a world of possibilities and of chance, where 'it's never over till it's over.'" It is an American tradition rich in legends, folklore and history, a never-ending story where every game is a new 9-inning chapter and every player has the chance to be the hero. Through the years, every franchise has had its share of superstar players that stand out above the rest. They are the ones that bring the fans out to the ballpark and only 1 game brings them all together at once, The All-Star Game.
The first Major League All-Star Game was played on July 6, 1933 at Cominskey Park in Chicago. It was initiated at the insistence of Arch Ward, a sports editor for the Chicago Tribune, to coincide with the celebration of Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition. For over 73 years, the "Midsummer Classic" has remained a fan favorite showcasing the top talent in baseball.
All-Star teams were originally selected by the managers and the fans for the 1933 and 1934 games. From 1935 through 1946, managers selected the entire team for each league. From 1947 to 1957, fans chose the team's starters and the manager chose the pitchers and the remaining players. From 1958 through 1969, managers, players, and coaches made the All-Star Team selections. In 1970, the vote again returned to the fans for the selection of the starters for each team and remains there today.
1933: Comiskey Park, Chicago (AL 4-2)
Baseball's newest contribution to the romance of American sports, the All-Star Game, made its debut on July 6, 1933, at Chicago's Comiskey Park. It was initiated at the insistence of Arch Ward, a sports editor for the Chicago Tribune, to coincide with the celebration of the city's "Century of Progress" Exposition. By the 1930's, baseball had already established itself as America's favorite pastime and the national exposition provided the perfect stage to introduce baseball's best to the rest of the country. Many did not believe that a contest of this magnitude could possibly live up to the fan's expectations, especially for those who lived in the far western states and had never been to a major league baseball game. The novel idea of a single game made up of the most exciting assemblage of ball-playing talent ever brought together on the diamond at one time, seemed too good to be true. In 1933 and 1934, All-Star teams were selected by the managers and the fans. The National League's manager John McGraw and American League's Connie Mack were chosen to lead a line-up of big hitters including Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and the one and only Babe Ruth. "We wanted to see the Babe," said Bill Hallahan, the National League starter. "Sure, he was old and had a big waistline, but that didn't make any difference. We were on the same field as Babe Ruth." With fellow All-Star, Charlie Gehringer on first in the bottom of the third, The Babe drove one into the right-field stands, the first homer in All-Star history. The crowd, according to one account, "roared in acclamation" and the first All-Star Game, won by the American League on the strength of Ruth's homer, was a resounding success.
1934: Polo Grounds, New York (AL 9-7)
The second All-Star game was held on July 10 at the New York Polo Grounds. Once again, the batting line-up featured some of the best hitters in baseball. This game however, belonged to a pitcher, Carl Hubbell. Although he started off poorly, he turned in perhaps one of the most spellbinding performances ever seen in baseball. First, Charlie Gehringer led off with a single and moved to second on an outfield error. Then, Heinie Manush drew a walk bringing up Ruth, Gehrig and Foxx with two on, none out. It was a pitcher's worst nightmare. Hubbell accepted the challenge and began turning over his screwball with pinpoint precision. It was a delivery that was designed to break the backs of free swingers. Ruth was the first to fall after taking a called third strike and looking "decidedly puzzled," according to one account. Gehrig followed and went down swinging. Visibly frustrated, he apparently warned Foxx on his way back to the dugout, "You might as well cut. It won't get any higher." The advice didn't help; Foxx went down on strikes. In the second inning, Hubbell made it five in a row when he struck out Al Simmons and Joe Cronin. If the first All-Star Game had showcased the game's best bats, than the second showcased one of the game's best arms proving that both offense AND defense had a place in the Midsummer Classic.
1935: Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland (AL 4-1)
The third exhibition of what was soon to become known as the "Midsummer Classic" was played at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium on July 8, 1935. Due to the success of the previous 2 games, available tickets were in short supply and a crowd of 69,831 filled the ball-yard, setting an All-Star Game record that stood until 1981, when more than 72,000 attended the 52nd All-Star Game in the same park. Unfortunately, after the initial excitement of the first game and the phenomenal pitching by Carl Hubbell in the second, the third was rather uneventful. The AL won for the third straight year due to the performance of Jimmie Foxx. Once again, he was playing third in deference to Lou Gehrig and belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the first, giving the AL a lead it never relinquished. Making his third All-Star appearance, Al Simmons of the White Sox was the game's top hitter with a 6-for-13 showing and a .462 average. It would be his last All-Star showing. Unbelievably, the most frustrated hitter was Gehrig. A Triple Crown winner in 1934, he was hitless in nine at-bats.
1936: Braves Field, Boston (NL 4-3)
After 3 consecutive losses to the American League, the National League finally came in from the cold. Its breakthrough came largely because of the pitching of its two widely contrasting aces Dizzy Dean and Carl Hubbell. They both took the mound as a hard-throwing combo that had won 50 games together that year. Dean worked the first three innings and gave up neither a hit nor a run. Then Hubbell pitched the next three and gave up only two hits and no runs. The AL started Lefty Grove of the Red Sox and the NL drilled him for two runs in the bottom of the second. The AL also started a young rookie right fielder named Joe DiMaggio. A rookie starting in the All-Star Game was without precedent, especially a 21-year-old who happened to be hitting .358. Unfortunately, his debut was one of the few times in his career that DiMaggio disappointed as he committed 2 major errors and went 0-5 at the plate. Strangely, after the record setting attendance of the 2nd All-Star game, the NL's first victory was witnessed by the smallest crowd ever to attend one. The Newspaper stories had assured Bostonians that the game was a sellout, when in fact, the attendance was only 25,556 with 15,000 seats remaining empty.
1937: Griffith Stadium, Washington (AL 8-3)
There were many big stories surrounding the 4th All-Star game as America's favorite pastime was showcased in our nation's capital. President Franklin Roosevelt was in attendance and Lou Gehrig and Joe Medwick both had great outings at the plate. However, the biggest story was an innocuous-looking play resulting in an infield out that ended the bottom of the third inning. It was a spectacular play that stole the show and it marked the beginning of the end of Dizzy Dean's spectacular career. Dean had become, with the retirement of Babe Ruth, baseball's most magnetic performer and its new biggest drawing card. With two out, Earl Averill cracked a low line drive that hit Dean directly on the foot. Averill was thrown out and Dean headed for the clubhouse, his three-inning stint over. In the clubhouse, it was discovered that Dean's toe was broken. Although it was considered a minor injury, Dean and the Cardinals management decided he would return to the mound before the toe was healed. The injury affected his delivery, eventually injured his arm and ended his glory days at the tender age of 26. Starting for the AL for the fourth time and winning his third game was Lefty Gomez. He held the NL to one hit over his three innings and was insured a win by a two-run homer in the third by Lou Gehrig. Yankees, in fact, dominated the entire game. Red Rolfe singled and tripled with 2 RBIs, Joe DiMaggio singled before Gehrig's homer, Bill Dickey singled and doubled and finally, Gehrig added a double to his homer and drove in four runs.
1938: Crosley Field, Cincinnati (NL 4-1)
Once again, the outcome looked bright for the National League with the appearance of Cincinnati lefty Johnny Vander Meer. Although he was never a big winner, he had electrified baseball that summer by pitching back-to-back no-hitters against the Boston Bees and Brooklyn Dodgers. With the All-Star Game being played in Cincinnati, he drew the start and only gave up gave up one hit in three innings. Once again, Lefty Gomez started for the AL. He gave up two hits and one unearned run in three innings. This game was memorable though for one of the strangest plays ever to take place on a baseball field; a homerun bunt. Frank McCormick had opened the seventh with a single and Leo Durocher, the next batter, was ordered to sacrifice. He followed the order as third baseman Jimmie Foxx charged in. Playing the ball, Foxx made the scoop and threw the ball into right field. Joe DiMaggio, in right in deference to Earl Averill, raced in, picked up the ball and fired it home. The throw was too high and sailed over catcher Bill Dickey's head, allowing McCormick to score. Meanwhile, Durocher never stopped running until he reached home.
1939: Yankee Stadium, New York (AL 3-1)
The All-Star game reached new levels when it came to "The House That Ruth Built" in 1939. As expected AL manager Joe McCarthy started six of his hometown Yankees and let his "position" starters go the distance. He started Red Ruffing for three innings, then brought in Tommy Bridges and closed out with rookie, 20-year-old Bob Feller. It was a powerful combination as each pitcher competed for the greatest curveball. Feller only gave up one hit in his 3 2/3 innings. Years later, he was asked if facing the best bats of the NL in his first All-Star Game made him nervous. He replied "I was never nervous on a pitching mound." Although it was a low scoring game, it represented one of the best "pitching clinics" ever put on at an All-Star event. Heavy hitters had dominated previous All-Star games, but this one proved that a quality bullpen could shut down even the most potent offense.
1940: Sportsman's Park, St. Louis (NL 4-0)
The National League started off the new decade with a surprising shutout over the previously dominant American League. The game's hero was also a surprise and a perfect example of what happens when ordinary players do extraordinary things. Boston Bees outfielder Max West, who hit .261 with seven home runs that year, stepped up to the plate in the first inning and set the game in motion. With Red Ruffing pitching, Arky Vaughan and Billy Herman had led off with singles. He sent Ruffing's delivery into the right-center stands and that was the ballgame, the first shutout in All-Star history. West had just one at-bat in his only All-Star appearance. In the second, he was injured leaping for a Luke Appling double and had to leave the game.
1941: Briggs Stadium, Detroit (AL 7-5)
This game yielded what is considered to be one of the most electrifying homers in All-Star history. It was launched by one of the most popular and charismatic hitters of the day, Ted Williams. Playing in his second All-Star Game, he was on his way to a .406 season batting average and at the All-Star break, he was hitting 405. One of the higher scoring All-Star games to date, this game showcased great pitching, strong hitting and a momentous conclusion. The AL was trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth and Claude Passeau pitching. Passeau retired the first batter. Then Ken Keltner came in as a pinch hitter and bounced a single off shortstop Eddie Miller's glove. Joe Gordon singled and Cecil Travis drew a walk, loading the bases for Joe DiMaggio with Ted Williams on deck. DiMaggio hit a certain double-play ball sharply to Miller, who threw to second baseman Billy Herman. Herman's throw to first was wide, enabling DiMaggio to reach first on a forceout and Keltner to score. Williams batted next and sent a fastball into the upper right-field stands and turned a 5-4 NL lead into a 7-5 AL win.
1942: Polo Grounds, New York (AL 3-1)
By the time that the 10th All-Star Game was played in 1942, the United States had been at war for seven months. Military enlistment and the draft had not yet begun the serious depletion of big-league teams that would take place over the next several years. However, enough players had entered the service to warrant a game July 7 in Cleveland between the winning All-Star team and the Service All-Stars, with proceeds going to the Army-Navy relief fund. AL manager Joe McCarthy and NL manager Leo Durocher went into the game with very different strategies. Durocher used virtually his whole squad, all 22 players, while McCarthy played only 11. McCarthy used only two pitchers, while Durocher used four. Lou Boudreau led off the first inning with a home run and Tommy Henrich doubled. Mort Cooper looked impressive when he retired Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio, but Rudy York sliced a line drive down the right-field line and into the bleachers. The AL maintained their lead and went on to win for the seventh time in 10 All-Star Games.
1943: Shibe Park, Philadelphia (AL 5-3)
Prior to this All-Star game, the first to be held at night, AL manager Joe McCarthy was publicly accused of being flagrantly partial to his own Yankees when it came to selecting his starters. In a bold and controversial reply, he played the entire game without calling on any of the five Yankees on his bench. Due to the war effort, many of the previous standout players such as Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Johnny Mize, Pete Reiser and others were absent. In the first inning, the NL took the lead on a run batted in by Stan Musial, who was making his first of 24 straight All-Star appearances. The NL did not hold their lead for long as the AL began its comeback against Mort Cooper. With the AL up 5-1, Vince DiMaggio stepped up for the NL. He had singled as a pinch-hitter in the fourth and stayed in the game. Next, he tripled off of Tex Hughson in the seventh and scored on a fly ball. In the ninth, he hit a long home run off Hughson. Still, Hughson managed to wrap up yet another AL win for their eighth All-Star victory.
1944: Forbes Field, Pittsburgh (NL 7-1)
For baseball, 1944 was the darkest of the war years, with most of the game's star players scattered around the globe serving their country. This game was the widest victory margin to date for an All-Star game and the NL's four-run fifth inning was their biggest one-inning outing. One highlight from this otherwise mediocre exhibition was the unusual pitching techniques of Rip Sewell. He had won 21 games that year using his special "ephus" pitch that had become a fan favorite. This curious delivery resulted in a parachute pitch that lobbed on a high arc and could be dropped over the plate with uncanny control. He made the crowd roar when he floated two of these rainbows to George McQuinn in the eighth. After the game, Sewell was asked to explain why the pitch was called an "ephus". He replied "An ephus ain't nothing. And that's what that pitch is… nothing." His style still remains as one of the most original and unorthodox approaches ever to come from a pitcher's mound.
1945: Due to wartime travel restrictions, the 1945 All-Star Game was canceled.
Despite risking public outrage, the Major League owners collectively decided to cancel the 1945 All-Star Game due to wartime travel restrictions. Initially, the entire season was in jeopardy as the American war effort against Japan was receiving full attention and resources. In February, a memo was sent out from the Office of Defense Transportation ensuring that the season could take place if all teams reduced their travel by 25 percent (as compared to the 1944 season). Like most of America, both the league and its fans agreed to sacrifice and the Midsummer Classic was one of the first events to go. Originally scheduled to take place in Boston at Fenway Park, the '94 affair was the first All-Star Game to be cancelled since its inception in 1933. According to Ford C. Frick, president of the National League, cutting out the contest would bring a significant savings with approximately 500,000-less passenger miles spent.
As a replacement, eight simultaneous "inter-league" games were scheduled between the National and American Leagues to help raise money for the American Red Cross and War Relief efforts. These games included the New Yankees versus the Giants at the Polo Grounds, the Chicago Cubs versus the White Sox at Comiskey Park, the Cincinnati Reds versus the Cleveland Indians at Cleveland Stadium, the Brooklyn Dodgers versus the Washington Senators at Griffith Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals versus the Browns at Sportsman's Park, the Philadelphia Athletics versus the Phillies at Shibe Park and the Boston Braves versus the Red Sox at Fenway.
With the cancellation, Major League Baseball did not name a formal list of All-Stars for that season. However, sports writers from the Associated Press created their own "mythical" list of standouts for the 1945 season after requesting nominations from each of the team's managers.
1946: Fenway Park, Boston (AL 12-0)
The All-Star game was never celebrated as enthusiastically as it was in 1946. The war had ended, the marquee players had returned, and America was once again, able to enjoy it's national pastime. Most of the players stated that they had never seen a more festive occasion and many of them had not seen their league rivals in several years. The highlight of this game was the match-up of Ted Williams and Rip Sewell, the proud possessor of the "ephus" pitch. Sewell served Williams his famous trademark and although he struggled at first, he went 4-for-4, driving in five runs. Bob Feller, riding on his 26th victory, 348-strikeout season, was the winning pitcher.
1947: Wrigley Field, Chicago (AL 2-1)
Unlike the '46 game, this one was a stark contrast to its predecessor. This day would not belong to the hitters as winds in Wrigley stirred and the pitchers were at the top of their game. Ewell Blackwell and Hal Newhouser matched one-hit, three-inning performances. In the fourth inning, Frank Shea gave up a home run to the NL's Johnny Mize. Then the AL tied it in the sixth inning and got the winning run off of Johnny Sain in the seventh. Bobby Doerr singled, stole second, took third on Sain's errant pickoff attempt and scored on a pinch single by Stan Spence. It was an anti-climatic ending to a great pitching duel. The AL's 2-1 victory gave it a 10-4 lead in the series. These lopsided totals were beginning to upset NL president Ford Frick who was concerned that the fans may lose interest. As most could have predicted, it was going to get worse.
1948: Sportsman's Park, St. Louis (AL 5-2)
For the first time, the AL entered the game at a decided disadvantage. Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams were hobbled by injuries that limited them to pinch-hitting and George Kell, the game's premier third baseman, missed the game with an ankle injury. Many felt that this may be an opportunity for the National League to capitalize on the AL's misfortunes and take a first step toward evening up the All-Star wins. Unfortunately for the NL, they were wrong. In the fourth inning, the AL loaded the bases off of pitcher Johnny Schmitz. Ken Keltner and George McQuinn singled and Birdie Tebbetts walked, loading the bases. Manager Bucky Harris let pitcher Vic Raschi bat and he singled into left, scoring Keltner and McQuinn and sending Tebbetts to third. In order to prevent another run, Schmitz was pulled and Johnny Sain was summoned from the bullpen in relief. It didn't help as he gave up a liner to DiMaggio. It scored Tebbetts and made the score, 5-2. It remained that as the American League added yet another W in their win column. Many felt that the game was becoming too routine, but change was on the horizon.
1949: Ebbets Field, Brooklyn (AL 11-7)
This historic game marked the first time that black players were selected for an All-Star Game. Appropriately, the game was held at Ebbets Field, where Jackie Robinson had democratized major league baseball two years previously. These players included Robinson, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe for the NL and Larry Doby for the AL. Most felt that the new diversity of talent would finally tip the scales to the NL. However this game belonged to Joe DiMaggio, who had a single, a double and three RBIs. AL manager Lou Boudreau had received a bit of heat for adding DiMaggio to the squad. He was battling a heel injury, hadn't played until June 28 and was a non-contender in fans' balloting. However, Boudreau chose him as a reserve and put him in the starting lineup when Tommy Henrich injured his knee. It turned out to be one of the smartest and sneakiest moves ever in an All-Star lineup.
1950: Comiskey Park, Chicago (NL 4-3) 
As the All-Star game entered its third decade, the National League was tired of being baseball's perennial loser. Trailing 12-4 in All-Star Games and losing the three previous World Series, the NL did not have the fans or AL players respect anymore. Inspired by their poor showing in the previous decades, the National League resolved to make this year different. The 1950 All-Star Game turned out to be the first to go into extra innings, featured two dramatic home runs and produced some of the finest All-Star pitching ever. As usual, the AL was leading (3-2) in the top of the ninth. Then, Ralph Kiner led off with a long run that tied the score and set the stage for a three-inning pitchers' duel. Larry Jansen pitched for the NL into the 11th inning while giving up one hit in five innings. Allie Reynolds matched him, taking the AL into the 12th and giving up one hit over three innings. Pitcher Ted Gray took over for the AL in the 13th and maintained the status quo. In the 14th, however, the NL fired another leadoff rocket off the bat of Red Schoendienst. He was an unlikely hero as he had sat for 10 innings while Jackie Robinson played second. Entering the game defensively in the 11th, Schoendienst stepped up in the 14th and homered into the left-field stands. Even more disheartening was the AL loss of Ted Williams. While making a running catch of a Kiner drive in the first inning, he ran into the wall and broke his elbow. He stayed in the game, visibly injured, and went 1-for-4. Later he underwent surgery and didn't play again until September 15. The National League had gone the distance and made a statement. Finally, they had established a momentum that would last for several years.
1951: Briggs Stadium, Detroit (NL 8-3)
The National League continued it's momentum by winning their second All-Star game in a row as well as setting an All-Star record by hitting 4 home runs to the AL's 2. Both teams were tied at 1-1 for the first 3 innings until Stan Musial established the NL's pace homering off of Eddie Lopat. One out later, Gil Hodges singled and Bob Elliott homered to left for a 4-1 NL lead. In a valiant effort, the AL came back to cut the lead to 4-3, but Gil Hodges answered with a 2 run homer in the sixth inning to make it 6-3. The NL scored yet another run in the seventh on a squeeze bunt by Jackie Robinson. In the eighth, Ralph Kiner dealt a final blow by hitting a 2 run homer. After 2 consecutive wins, the National League's confidence was rising and they had reduced the series deficit to 12-6.
1952: Shibe Park, Philadelphia (NL 3-2) [5*] * Game shortened to five innings because of rain.
For the first time in the history of the All-Star game, an exhibition was called short due to mother nature. Although this outing only lasted 5 innings (due to rain), it did mark the 3rd consecutive win by the new and improved National League. With the AL leading 2-1 and Bob Lemon pitching, the NL regained its momentum and came back in the fourth. First, a pitch hit Stan Musial. Then Hank Sauer drove Lemon's first pitch onto the left-field roof. Once again, pitching stood out as Bobby Shantz put on a stunning display in the fifth, striking out Whitey Lockman, Jackie Robinson and Stan Musial. Unfortunately, the game was called before he could try to tie Carl Hubbell's record of five in a row. The American League felt slighted and many believed that they would have made a comeback if not for the premature ending. The National League however, did not debate the call.
1953: Crosley Field, Cincinnati (NL 5-1)
By now the American League was suffering from a bruised ego as the All-Star scales had been visibly tipped toward the National League. They had won 3 consecutive games in a row and for the first time in a long time, the AL was considered an "underdog." Even managing genius Casey Stengel could not believe what had happened. After all, he had taken the Yankees to World Series victories in 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1952, but lost the All-Star Game in 1950, 1951 and 1952. Nothing improved in 1953 as the NL continued to dominate as the AL had from 1946 through 1949. Robin Roberts of the NL and Billy Pierce of the AL each delivered three, uneventful, one-hit innings. Then Allie Reynolds took over for the AL and gave up two runs in the fifth. Warren Spahn took the mound for the NL and then was replaced in the 6th by Curt Simmons. In what was hailed as one of the greatest defensive plays in All-Star history, Enos Slaughter ran down a line-drive by Harvey Kuenn, making a diving, tumbling grab along the right-field line. In the 8th Stengel brought in 47-year-old Satchel Paige to pitch. Denied the chance to play until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, Paige had not reached the majors until '48. The NL, however, showed him no respect as he gave up three hits and two earned runs in a single inning. The AL escaped the embarrassment of a shutout in the 9th, putting together three singles for a run, but the effort went unnoticed, as the National League continued their winning-streak for the 4th year in a row.
1954: Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland (AL 11-9)
The 1954 All-Star game featured some of the most exciting and evenly paced baseball to date as both divisions went at each other in 9-inning fight to the finish. The National League was still riding a 4 game winning streak and the American League was determined to end it. This game also rewrote the books as it tied or set records for home runs by both teams (six), homers by one team (four, AL), runs by both teams (20), hits by both teams (31) and hits by one team (17, AL). In the 8th inning, the NL was leading 9-8 and on they're way to another victory. Not to be outdone again, the AL scored three runs. Then, Larry Doby sent the Cleveland crowd into a hometown frenzy with a pinch-hit, game-tying home run with one out. Yankees Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra both followed with base hits. The NL was back on its heels as Gene Conley walked Al Rosen, loading the bases. 1 out later, the stage was set and Nelson Fox knocked one into short center scoring the final and winning runs. Closer Virgil Trucks, who was pitching in place of Dean Stone, sealed the victory. After walking Duke Snider, he forced a ground out by Stan Musial and retired the last 2 batters. Finally, the American League had won after 4 years of defeat.
1955: County Stadium, Milwaukee (NL 6-5) 
Ironically, this game was played on July 12, the day on which funeral services were held for Arch Ward, the Chicago Tribune sports editor who had founded the game in 1933. The AL jumped out to an early, 5-0 lead through six innings, then watched as the NL began a late and triumphant comeback. They scored 2 runs in the 7th and maintained that momentum with 3 more in the 8th. In the 9th, pitchers Frank Sullivan (AL) and Joe Nuxhall (NL) matched strikeouts as the All-Star Game went into extra innings for only the second time. Leading off for the NL in the bottom of the 12th was Stan Musial. He took the first pitch (a fastball) and sent it out of the park. The homer was Musial's fourth in All-Star games, breaking a tie with Ted Williams and Ralph Kiner. Once again, the NL had snatched the lead from the AL and never looked back.
1956: Griffith Stadium, Washington (NL 7-3)
The scorecards at this game must of read like a directory at the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Willie Mays and Stan Musial hit 2 home runs for the National League. Mickey Mantle (during his infamous Triple Crown season) and Ted Williams hit 2 home runs for the American League. Another stand out player was third baseman Ken Boyer who had three hits and three dazzling plays in the field. Once again, the NL won (for the sixth time in seven games) and closed the gap in the series to 13-10. Yankee Manager Casey Stengel continued to suffer at the hands of the NL. He was 1-5 in All-Star games and finding it impossible to match his opponents momentum.
1957: Busch Stadium, St. Louis (AL 6-5)
Controversy surrounded the 1957 outing as the fanatical Cincinnati voters stuffed the ballot boxes and elected their entire team (minus the batboy) onto the National League's starting roster. This upset Commissioner Ford Frick greatly and he responded by removing Gus Bell and Wally Post from the starting nine. He also transferred the responsibility for All-Star voting to the players, managers and coaches the next year. For only the second time in eight years, the American League came up a winner in what was a "one-inning" game (meaning the ninth inning). The AL took a 3-2 lead into the ninth. With Clem Labine pitching, Billy Pierce led off for the AL with an infield single. Then, Gil McDougald was safe when Red Schoendienst fumbled his grounder. Nelson Fox sacrificed the runners up one base and Al Kaline delivered them with a single. Minnie Minoso, who had entered the game defensively in the eighth, drove in Kaline with a double for a 6-2 AL lead. The National League was determined to mount a comeback as Pierce walked Stan Musial. Then Willie Mays tripled to right, scoring Musial. Mays scored a moment later on a wild pitch to Hank Foiles. He singled and Gus Bell walked. Don Mossi replaced Pierce and struck out Eddie Mathews for the first out. Ernie Banks singled, scoring Foiles and making it 6-5. When Bell tried to go to third on the play, Minoso fielded the ball and fired to Frank Malzone, getting Bell for the second out. Banks went to second on the throw. Gil Hodges was chose to pinch hit for Labine as Bob Grim came in to pitch. He sent a shot to left-center, but Minoso made a spectacular running catch to end the game.
1958: Memorial Stadium, Baltimore (AL 4-3)
After several years of exciting, down to the wire, nine and extra-inning baseball, the 1958 game wasn't exactly the same caliber as its predecessors. It wasn't even close. This was the first All-Star Game to pass without an extra-base hit. In fact, there were only 13 hits: 9 by the American League and 4 by the National. The NL went down in order in five of the last six innings with the only man reaching base, doing so on an error. Starter Bob Turley allowed three runs and three hits in 1 2/3 innings. The AL had scored in the second on a RBI single by Nelson Fox, cutting the NL lead to 3-2. Then the AL managed single runs off of pitcher Bob Friend in the fifth and scored the winning run in the sixth on Frank Malzone's single, an error by Pirates third baseman Frank Thomas and a single by Gil McDougald. The American League had won 2 in a row and 3 out of the last 4, but the taste of victory remained bittersweet after a game that was so mediocre and uneventful.
1959: Forbes Field, Pittsburgh (NL 5-4) / Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles (AL 5-3)
When the Midsummer Classic came to the Steel City in 1959, the fans were expecting a game worthy of the title "All-Star". After all, the previous year's 13-hit sleeper had left the fans with a lot to be desired. In an attempt to rejuvenate their interest, the league administration had decided on a doubleheader (over a 2 day period) which seemed like a good idea at the time. Game 1 featured spectacular pitching by the National League's Don Drysdale who was making the first of eight All-Star appearances. He worked three hitless innings while striking out four. Unexpectedly, the NL took a 3-1 lead into the ninth, only to have the AL score three runs. However the NL came back to win it against Whitey Ford in the ninth. First, Ken Boyer singled and moved up on a sacrifice. Then, Hank Aaron tied it with a single, scoring Boyer. Finally, Willie Mays stepped up who was 3-for-3 against Ford in three other All-Star Games. He made it 4-for-4 with a triple that scored Aaron. Don Daley came in for the NL in the ninth and retired the side. Game 2 of the doubleheader was played on August 3. For this game, the managers were not bound to a voted-in starting lineup. They could start whomever they pleased from the All-Star rosters. Unlike the first game, the AL took a lead into the top of the seventh and scored another run as Tony Kubek walked and advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt. Kubek reached third and Pete Runnels reached first on an Ernie Banks fielding error. Next, Nelson Fox singled Kubek in for a 4-2 lead. The NL tightened it on Jim Gilliam's homer in the bottom of the seventh, however the AL quickly got it back on Rocky Colavito's homer in the top of the eighth. Both fans and press shared mixed emotions about the new "doubleheader" format, but they were happy that both games had exceeded the pace of the year before. Some felt it was a meaningless series as both teams walked away with a victory.
1960: Municipal Stadium, Kansas City (NL 5-3) / Yankee Stadium, New York (NL 6-0)
Still confidant that the new doubleheader format was a winner, the league scheduled the 1960 All-Star games nearly back-to-back on July 11 and 13. The National League set the pace by leading 3-0 in the first inning. Willie Mays lead with a triple off of Bill Monbouquette, then scored on a Bob Skinner single. Ernie Banks stepped up and maintained the NL's momentum with a home run. They added single runs in the second and third and tried to hold on. The American League came back swinging by scoring one in the sixth and two in the eighth to cut the lead to 5-3. The AL had 2 men on with 1 out and looked to make a comeback, but Verne Law retired Brooks Robinson and Harvey Kuenn to seal the NL win. Ernie Banks, with a double and homer, and Willie Mays, with a single, double and triple, were the stars as the doubleheader headed east for game 2. For many local NY fans, the second All-Star Game was special as it marked the return of superstar Willie Mays. Against his favorite pitcher, Whitey Ford, he led off the game with a single, then homered in the third. He also singled later, giving him his second 3-for-4 All-Star Game. In the second inning, Eddie Mathews hit a two-run homer and in the seventh, pinch-hitter Stan Musial hit his sixth All-Star homer against Gerry Staley. It was not a good outing for the AL's elite pitching staff. It was the NL who pitched a shutout and won both games. It also marked the 18th and final All-Star appearance of Ted Williams, who left the competition with a .304 average, four home runs, 12 RBIs and 10 runs scored.
1961: Candlestick Park, San Francisco (NL 5-4)  / Fenway Park, Boston (1-1 tie)
Despite 2 years of mixed reactions from the fans, the League decided to maintain the doubleheader format splitting the games between 2 of the most popular ballparks; Candlestick and Fenway. Although it would turn out to be one of the most exciting and historical seasons in baseball, the fans had not yet fully accepted that baseball legend Babe Ruth's incredible 60-homerun record was legitimately under attack by Yankee teammates, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Both of the M&M boys headed up another roster full of Yankees including starting pitcher Whitey Ford. The NL maintained a 3-1 lead into the top of the ninth only to have the American League tie the score as Candlestick's trademark winds began to kick up. In the top of the10th the AL took a 4-3 lead, but the NL came back against the knuckleball master Hoyt Wilhelm. Hank Aaron singled, went to second on a passed ball and tied it on Willie Mays' double. Then, Wilhelm hit Frank Robinson putting runners at first and second. Pirate legend Roberto Clemente singled to right, scoring Mays with the winning run. Unlike the first game, the second one showcased some classic pitching as the National League only managed five hits and the American League four. The AL scored right off the bat on Rocky Colavito's first-inning homer and later in the sixth, the NL matched them after Eddie Mathews walked and was batted in by Bill White. Unfortunately, this game never reached a decision as it was called after nine innings because of a downpour. It was the first and only Midsummer Classic that has ever ended in a tie.
1962: D.C. Stadium, Washington (NL 3-1) / Wrigley Field, Chicago (AL 9-4)
Once again, America's All-Stars traveled to the nation's capital to celebrate the best-of-the-best from America's favorite pastime. President Kennedy was the 2nd president to attend the event and threw out the first pitch. However, the spotlight on this game belonged to Maury Wills. Entering the lineup in the sixth to pinch-run for Stan Musial, he ran the game into the era of the stolen base by breaking Ty Cobb's 47-year-old record of 96. Wills stole second then scored the first run of the game off a Dick Groat single. In the eighth inning, Wills reached base by a single. He rounded second on a short single hit by Jim Davenport to left field, and when the throw came to the cutoff man, Wills took third with blazing speed and scored on a foul to right field moments later. This performance earned him the first All-Star Most Valuable Player Award. Both teams moved on to Wrigley Field for Game 2. The day belonged to the American League as they finally broke out of a 5 game slump with nine runs (equaling their total for the previous five games) and 10 hits. Even better, their victory kept the National League from tying the All-Star series at 16-16. Little did they know, however, that nearly a decade would pass before they would win again.
1963: Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland (NL 5-3)
After 4 years, the league had finally decided to return to the original single game format. The fans and players had both expressed mixed emotions over the previous doubleheaders and many felt that it had compromised the integrity of the All-Star exhibition. Although the American League had prevented the National League from tying the series at 16-16 the year before, the NL began a dominance in which it won eight straight games, dropped one and then won another 11 in a row. Surprisingly, the AL out-hit the NL 11-6, but the effort went in vain as Willie Mays put on a one-man show. Although he had only one hit, he drove in two runs and scored two. He also stole two bases and made the defensive play of the game, a running catch that deprived Joe Pepitone of extra bases in the eighth. This game also marked the 24th and final appearance of Stan Musial, who pinch-hit in the fifth. He lined out to right, leaving behind an All-Star log of 20 hits in 63 at-bats for a .317 average. He also hit six home runs, an All-Star Game record.
1964: Shea Stadium, New York (NL 7-4)
The 1964 All-Star Game has been described as one of the most exciting ever as the National League came from behind to win in a dramatic ninth-inning rally. Red Sox ace Dick Radatz was on the mound and had already thrown two hitless innings. Willie Mays, in a tough at-bat, got the walk and then stole second. Orlando Cepeda followed with a soft looper to right field scoring Mays due to a bad Joe Pepitone throw to the plate. Two quick outs and a walk later, Johnny Callison hammered a fast ball into the right field stands scoring 3 runs, giving the Nationals their sixth win in seven games and finally evening up the series.
1965: Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington (NL 6-5)
The American League was once again at a disadvantage as the National League assembled one of the most amazing batting line-ups ever to share an All-Star roster. It included such legends as Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Willie Stargell, Richie Allen, Joe Torre, Ernie Banks, Pete Rose, Maury Wills, Roberto Clemente and Frank Robinson. Still, the '65 game was close and tied 5-5 in the seventh. Then Sam McDowell walked Mays who went to third on Aaron's single and scored on Ron Santo's infield single. The win gave the NL the lead in the series for the first time (18-17-1).
1966: Busch Memorial Stadium, St. Louis (NL 2-1) 
The top story of the 1966 All-Star Game had nothing to do with baseball. It was the blistering one hundred five-degree game time temperature. Spectators in St. Louis' Busch Stadium were passing out in the stands and smelling salts and oxygen were required in the dugouts. Despite these intense conditions, the game went on as scheduled, although no one wanted to spend much time on the field. The American League took a 1-0 lead against Sandy Koufax in the second when Brooks Robinson hit a one-out liner to left and wound up with a triple when Hank Aaron let the ball slip past him. Robinson scored a few moments later on a wild pitch. The National League tied it against Jim Kaat in the fourth on singles by Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Ron Santo. As the game went into extra innings, Tim McCarver singled against Pete Richert. Then after Ron Hunt sacrificed, Maury Wills singled to right driving in the winning run. Some joked that Wills had saved many lives by holding the 100+ degree game to only 10 innings.
1967: Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim (NL 2-1) 
Although many All-Star Games had featured great pitching duels and stand-out performances on the mound, no other game to date had been as one sided as this one. "Strikeout classic" would have been a more appropriate title for this midsummer classic, which featured twelve pitchers - all of which had at least one strikeout for an All-Star record thirty strikeouts. Once again, the game went into extra innings that resulted in a National League win. The NL was shut out 12 straight innings -- the third through the 14th. The Americans were shut out the last nine. Richie Allen had homered against Dean Chance in the second; in the sixth, Brooks Robinson tied it with a homer against Ferguson Jenkins. There it remained until the 15th, when Tony Perez, the game's MVP, sent Catfish Hunter's pitch over the left-field fence. This game went into the record books for both the longest All-Star Game as well as the first game in which home runs accounted for all of the scoring.
1968: Astrodome, Houston (NL 1-0)
The '68 game represented a new era of baseball as it was the first All-Star game ever to be played in an indoor arena on artificial turf. Many fans disapproved of the league's selection and felt that it ruined the ambience of the Midsummer Classic. Whether or not the surroundings had an effect on the players is debatable, but the game resulted in the first 1-0 outcome in the series. Willie Mays led off the bottom of the first by grounding a single to left off of Luis Tiant. A pickoff attempt by Tiant got past first baseman Harmon Killebrew and sent Mays to second. Then it got worse as he delivered a wild pitch to Curt Flood, moving Mays to third. With runners on first and third and still none out, Tiant induced Willie McCovey to ground into a double play and Mays scored. The closest the AL came to scoring was in the seventh when Tony Oliva hit one off the left-field fence that just missed being a home run. He settled for a double and the AL eventually settled for its sixth straight loss.
1969: RFK Memorial Stadium, Washington (NL 9-3)
The American League entered this All-Star Game determined to close out the 60's with a win and continue that momentum into the next decade. The years of leading, only to lose in extra innings had taken it's toll along with the fact that in the 40 innings preceding the game, the Nationals had scored only six runs (and still were unbeatable). By the end of the third inning, though, the NL already had eight and was coasting, thanks to a murderous assault on Mel Stottlemyre and his successor, Blue Moon Odom. The AL went quietly to the end for their seventh straight loss. Many fans began echoing the negative sentiments from previous decades when one League dominated the other. At this point, the team might have quoted former AL star Charlie Gehringer from 1934 when he said, "It was starting to get embarrassing."
1970: Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati (NL 5-4) 
The American League entered the 1970's determined to break the embarrassing eight-game losing streak that had plagued them throughout the previous decade. AL manager Earl Weaver anticipated strong pitching as their best chance against the NL's power hitters. It appeared to be working as a pitcher's duel dominated the majority of the game. Finally, the streak appeared to be a bad memory as the AL took a 4-1 lead going into the bottom of the ninth. Then it happened… The NL hooked into Catfish Hunter, who gave up a lead-off home run to Dick Dietz. Singles by the next three batters followed and a Roberto Clemente sacrifice put the game into extra innings. In the bottom of the 12th, Pete Rose singled, then went to second on another single by Billy Grabarkewitz. Jim Hickman lined a single to center and Amos Otis charged the ball, firing a rocket to the plate for a play on Rose. Fosse tried mightily to block the plate, but Rose was determined to score and it was no contest. He bowled over Fosse, who was dazed by the collision, and scored the winning run. A new decade had begun, but the same results echoed on. Once again, the National League had come from behind to snatch another victory from the Americans.
1971: Tiger Stadium, Detroit (AL 6-4)
After 9 consecutive losing appearances, the AL appeared to be on their way to yet another disappointing loss. The NL jumped out 3-0, but the AL came back in the bottom of the third and, for the first time since 1964, actually took the lead. Luis Aparicio led off with a single and Earl Weaver sent up Reggie Jackson, who was in only his fourth full season. Jackson made his at-bat debut with a homerun that struck a light tower on Tiger Stadium's roof some 520 feet from home plate. It was just a preview of what was to come from the future hall of famer. 2 batters later, Frank Robinson (who, incidentally, became the first to home for both sides in the All-Star Game) stepped up to the plate and fired a rocket into the lower right-field seats putting the AL up, 4-3. Then they added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Roberto Clemente's homer in the eighth was the only action the NL could muster and it would not be enough. What made this game so exceptional was not only that the AL had finally won their first Midsummer Classic since 1962, but that all six home runs were shots from future hall of fame players ! The sports headlines in newspapers across the country read: "Stop the presses! The American League wins one!" The All-Star curse was finally broken, but would the AL be able to maintain the momentum into the next season?
1972: Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta (NL 4-3) 
Still confident from their win the year before, the AL entered this game determined to start a new kind of streak… a winning one. The AL's inspiration paid off as they took an early lead, but it didn't take long for the Nationals to resume their torment of the Americans in their own familiar way. The NL took a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Hank Aaron hit what he called "the most dramatic home run of his career" (to that date), which was a two-run shot off Gaylord Perry. The AL came up with two runs in the eighth and tried to make that stand up. Not surprisingly, it didn't. In the bottom of the ninth, singles by Billy Williams and Manny Sanguillen put runners on first and third with none out. In classic fashion, Williams tied it on a forceout. Wilbur Wood then retired the side. Once again, the All-Star Game went into extra-innings caused by a "come from behind series" late in the game. The NL opened the tenth inning with a walk, followed by a sacrifice fly, then a Joe Morgan single to take their ninth win in the ten previous games. The victory gave the NL a 7-0 record in extra-inning games and raised its series lead to 24-18-1. Once again, the AL was devastated by the NL's uncanny ability to come from behind, and more importantly, finish the game.
1973: Royals Stadium, Kansas City (NL 7-1)
In 1973 the Midsummer Classic celebrated it's 40th Anniversary with a game that was special as it marked the final All-Star appearance of Willie Mays who many consider to be the greatest all-round performer in All-Star history. During his 24 appearances, he hit .307, had 23 hits, including three home runs, three triples and two doubles. More than just a threat at the plate, he was also responsible for many highlights on the field with spectacular defensive play. As part of the festivities, surviving members from the first 1933 game attended including Carl Hubbell, Bill Hallahan, Lefty Gomez, Dick Bartel, Lefty Grove, Joe Cronin, Jimmie Dykes and Charlie Gehringer. In keeping with the historical theme, the AL started out in the lead, but was unable to hold onto it. Trailing 1-0 in the third, the NL scored two runs and went on scoring steadily. Bobby Bonds entered the game during the fourth inning to replace starter Billy Williams then proceeded to smack a two run homer during his first at-bat in the fifth inning off California's Bill Singer. He secured his Most Valuable Player Award in the seventh inning when he ran out a lazy single for a very exciting double. Many fans felt that the All-Star Game was becoming too predictable once again and many of their favorite regulars had begun to retire. This trend would affect the attendance and enthusiasm that surrounded the festivities, but a new group of up and coming superstars were about to give the game a new breathe of life.
1974: Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh (NL 7-2)
The '74 game was a combination of the usual and the unusual in more ways than one. First, NL manager Yogi Berra stunned everyone by starting five pitchers who had absolutely no All-Star Game experience. They included Andy Messersmith, Ken Brett, Jon Matlack, Lynn McGlothlen and Mike Marshall. He also added two future All-Star perennials, Steve Garvey and Mike Schmidt to the mix. Garvey, who was not listed on the All-Star ballot, made the starting lineup by a write-in vote. He went 2-for-4 with a RBI, scored a run and was given the Most Valuable Player Award for his debut appearance. Even with the lack of experience and controversial line-up, the National League had an easy time of it, beating the AL 7-2. When questioned about his unusual All-Star coaching that had resulted in the usual All-Star outcome, Yogi summed it up in his classic style: "How did we win? We had the better team."
1975: County Stadium, Milwaukee (NL 6-3)
It was the middle of the 1970's in America and change appeared to be going on everywhere. Everywhere that is, except at the All-Star Game. Once again, the Nationals let the Americans get so close, only to take it away in dramatic fashion. Things looked pretty even as a tense 8 innings passed and the teams were tied, 3-3, going into the ninth. Then it happened… Reggie Smith opened the inning with a single that Claudell Washington dropped after a long run. Al Oliver, pinch-hitting for Jon Matlack, doubled to left, scoring Oliver. Goose Gossage replaced Catfish Hunter to face Larry Bowa and promptly plunked him with a pitch, loading the bases. That brought Gossage eye-to-eye with Bill Madlock, who singled to left, scoring two runs. A third scored on Pete Rose's sacrifice fly. Much like in past decades when one side dominated the other, the sports press began to speculate about the future of the All-Star game. The event was becoming a routine and America's passion for baseball began to sway as professional football took center stage. America's favorite past-time was no longer the favorite, and many felt that it would never fully recover.
1976: Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia (NL 7-1)
As America celebrated its 200th anniversary, the league held a fitting tribute to baseball as America's game, appropriately holding the All-Star event at Veterans Stadium. Many felt that it had lost it's magic and that the days of glory, where anyone can be a hero, were fading memories in the past. The United State's Bicentennial provided a perfect opportunity to showcase the history of a game that had started it's roots during the Civil War and had helped, many times as a deterrent, to heal a nation during times of crisis. Unfortunately, the patriotic festivities and red, white and blue banners were not enough to change the play on the field. The '76 edition was reminiscent of the '73 and '74 games, won 7-1 and 7-2 by the Nationals. This time, it was 7-1 NL again. Despite another loss, the Americans did have the most colorful and talked-about performer in losing pitcher Mark Fidrych. A rookie from the Tigers, he had charmed his way into fans' hearts with his antics on the mound, which included talking to himself and sometimes to the ball. This game also marked the 100th anniversary of the National League and the team responded by hitting two home runs and scoring seven runs on ten hits.
1977: Yankee Stadium, New York (NL 7-5)
Held on hallowed ground in "The House that Ruth built", the '77 All-Star Game may have appeared to be a more even contest in the box score, but unfortunately for the AL, the numbers were deceiving. Pitcher Jim Palmer took the mound, but his performance would leave much to be desired. He only lasted two innings, gave up five runs on five hits, walked one and was the losing pitcher. Joe Morgan led off with a home run. Dave Parker singled and then scored on a George Foster double. Then Greg Luzinski homered for a 4-0 lead before the fans had even sat down. The AL was determined to fight their way back and managed to score a few runs, but the NL continued it's winning momentum for the rest of the game. The always outspoken Sparky Anderson put the game's one-sided trend in perspective: "The only reason we're here is to kick the living hell out of those guys." One of the most interesting stories around this meeting was the pregame spat between Billy Martin and Nolan Ryan. When Frank Tanana was unable to play because of injuries, Martin asked Ryan to fill in. Ryan, irked at not being selected in the first place, refused. Martin fumed and announced he would never select Ryan for any future games.
1978: San Diego Stadium, San Diego (NL 7-3)
Once again the American League started off with solid hitting that gave them the lead early in the game. Rod Carew started the rally with a triple and George Brett followed with a double. Brett then scored on a Carlton Fisk sacrifice fly putting the American League up 3-0. The AL was on a roll, but all that would change in the bottom of the third. Larry Bowa opened with a single. Then, Jim Palmer uncharacteristically walked Joe Morgan, George Foster and Greg Luzinski, forcing in a run. He found the plate against Steve Garvey, who tied it with a single. The NL closed it out with four runs in the bottom of the eighth. Manager, Billy Martin brought in Goose Gossage, who ran into a nightmare inning. He gave up four runs on four hits for the AL's seventh straight loss. Garvey led off with a triple and scored on Gossage's wild pitch. Dave Concepcion walked and Dave Winfield followed with a single. Chet Lemon misplayed Winfield's ball, with Concepcion and Winfield moving up. Bob Boone then single up the middle, driving in two runs and later scored on a bloop hit by Davey Lopes.
1979: Kingdome, Seattle (NL 7-6)
Once again, the All-Star Game headed indoors at the Kingdome for a close game that belonged to anybody as six times in nine innings the lead was tied or lossed. The American League was leading 6-5 going into the eighth when the NL tied it on a Lee Mazzilli home run. Brian Downing led off the bottom of the inning with a single against Bruce Sutter. A sacrifice moved Downing along and Reggie Jackson was walked intentionally. One out later, Graig Nettles singled to right and, with Downing trying to score, Dave Parker rifled the ball to catcher Gary Carter. Carter forced Downing to the inside of the plate and applied the inning-ending tag as Downing made a head-first dive. Pete Rose played the last four innings at first base and set a record as the only player ever to play 5 different positions in the All-Star competition. During his appearances he had played first, second, third, right and left. As the 1970's came to a close, the National League had once again dominated the decade, leaving the American League embarrassed and looking forward to gaining some respect in the 80's.
1980: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles (NL 4-2)
As baseball ushered in the 80's the National League was riding a 3 decade winning streak much like the American League had from the 30's-50's. Surprisingly, most of their wins came after late-inning comebacks and extra-innings. The AL knew that great pitching would be the key to victory as many of the new players who were replacing the retiring All-Star journeymen were major threats at the plate. They got their wish as starter Steve Stone pitched three perfect innings (becoming the first to do so since Denny McLain in 1966). Tommy John did the same for another 1 2/3 innings. By then, the AL even had a 2-0 lead. The American League pitchers kept the National League in check by throwing a perfect game into the fifth. Then as expected, the NL made a spectacular comeback that had become their signature at the midsummer classic. Ken Griffey started the rally off with a homerun. With one out, singles by Ray Knight, Phil Garner and George Hendrick tied it. Ed Farmer replaced John and Dave Winfield blistered a ground ball that Willie Randolph couldn't handle. Garner scored the go-ahead run and the AL went down to their ninth straight loss. Much like 1960 and 1970, it was the start of a new decade, but he same old All-Star Game.
1981: Municipal Stadium, Cleveland (NL 5-4)
This year the American League almost got a reprieve because of a players' strike that ran from June 12 to July 31 (with teams resuming play August 10). The original All-Star Game on July 14 was canceled. Instead, the game reset as a prelude to resuming play. It was the second All-Star Game played in August. Many fans were still upset about the strike and most baseball purists feel that it has never fully recovered from this labor dispute. Despite the disgruntled fans, this game surprisingly had the largest crowd ever in attendance. Once again the AL led the majority of the game and held the NL in check. That was until the eighth inning when Rollie Fingers walked Ozzie Smith. Then with Mike Easler at bat, Smith stole second and, when the throw went into center field, Smith took out for third. He was caught in a rundown and tagged out. The AL seemed to still be in control, but then Easler walked. In classic NL fashion, Mike Schmidt stepped up to the plate and pounded the ball, hitting the two-run game-winner.
1982: Olympic Stadium, Montreal (NL 4-1)
In 1982, the All-Star Game moved across the border and was played in Canada's Olympic Stadium. It was the first midsummer classic ever to be held outside of the United States. It also represented one of the worst performances ever put on by the American League. Somehow they managed a single run in the first inning and were left swinging at air the rest of the game. With two out in the second, Dennis Eckersley walked Dale Murphy and Dave Concepcion (with only one homer in 328 at-bats) homered. The NL scored again on Eckersley in the third when Ruppert Jones tripled and scored on Pete Rose's sacrifice fly. The AL gave it a shot in the seventh, putting runners on second and third with one out, but Mario Soto struck out Willie Wilson and Buddy Bell. This marked the 11th consecutive victory for the National League but unfortunately for them, things were finally about to change.
1983: Comiskey Park, Chicago (AL 13-3)
The American League followed one of their worst All-Star performances with one of the greatest efforts ever by either side. It was the 50th Anniversary of the All-Star Game and the AL decided to make it a real celebration. After 3 decades of disappointment and 11 consecutive losses, the AL took the field with a vengeance and dominated the NL for 9 straight innings. A seven-run third inning (all seven charged to Atlee Hammaker) gave the AL a 9-1 lead and that seemed safe even for the AL. The star player of the game was Fred Lynn, whose grand slam in the third was the first in All-Star history. NL manager Whitey Herzog had ordered Robin Yount, the preceding batter, walked intentionally, which turned out not to be a good idea. "I take it personally," Lynn said later. By '83, Lynn had four homers and 10 RBIs in 20 All-Star at-bats. Only Ted Williams had a higher All-Star RBI count, with 12 in 46 at-bats. Stan Musial had 10 RBIs, but in 63 at-bats. Lynn's four homers tied him with Williams for the AL lead. The loss left the National League shell-shocked. They were no longer invincible.
1984: Candlestick Park, San Francisco (NL 3-1)
After that devastating loss to the American League the year before, the Nationals were determined to get back on the winning track. Unlike the AL scoring derby that took place the year before, pitching was the talent showcased in this game. There were fifty-four All-Star Games to date and only four times in it's history had a pitcher struck out the entire side. This year Fernando Valenzuela, Dwight Gooden and Bill Caudill all accomplished the feat to guarantee the National League's victory. The NL scored in the first as Steve Garvey singled and went to second when Reggie Jackson misplayed the ball. Dale Murphy followed with a single to left and Garvey headed for home, bowling over Lance Parrish at the plate for a 1-0 lead. George Brett tied it with a home run in the top of the second and the NL went ahead again on Gary Carter's homer in the bottom of the inning. After that, it was all pitching and another NL win.
1985: H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis (NL 6-1)
Once again, pitching was the determining factor in this game as the National League dominated on the mound. This time, LaMarr Hoyt, Nolan Ryan, Fernando Valenzuela, Jeff Reardon and Goose Gossage shut down the AL on five hits, one run and not a single extra-base hit. What made this feat even more amazing was the American League's line-up featured Rickey Henderson, Lou Whitaker, George Brett, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, Alan Trammell, Wade Boggs, Dave Winfield, Jim Rice, Don Mattingly and Harold Baines. "And don't forget," said NL manager Dick Williams, "we didn't even use Dwight Gooden." Amazingly, It was the National League's 36th win and another embarrassing showing by the AL's superstars.
1986: Astrodome, Houston (AL 3-2)
This year the American League launched a "Rocket" at the Nationals named Roger Clemens. With help from Ted Higuera, Charlie Hough, Dave Righetti and Don Aase, he shut down the National League and started his record setting All-Star Game career. In the second, Lou Whitaker followed a Dave Winfield double with a homer off Dwight Gooden. In the seventh, Frank White popped the another off Mike Scott. The NL made it interesting in the bottom of the eighth by roughing up Hough for two runs. In the ninth, the NL had runners at first and third with one out when Aase got White to hit a check-swing grounder for a double play. The American Leagues' debut of Clemens wasn't the only story of the day, Fernando Valenzuela struck out five consecutive batters and National League pitchers mowed down seven more. It was the 3rd All-Star Game in a row to feature outstanding performances by the men on the hill.
1987: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland (NL 2-0) 
If the last 3 games represented good pitching, then the '87 All-Star Game represented great pitching. Never in history had an All Star game gone beyond five innings without a run. This year no one would score until the thirteenth! Ozzie Virgil singled to center. Lee Smith struck out trying to bunt and Hubie Brooks singled Virgil to second. Willie McGee flied out and Tim Raines drilled his third hit of the game, a two-run triple to left-center. For the NL, the dominant pitchers were Mike Scott, Rick Sutcliffe, Orel Hershiser, Rick Reuschel, John Franco, Steve Bedrosian, Lee Smith and Sid Fernandez. For the AL, it was Bret Saberhagen, Jack Morris, Mark Langston, Dan Plesac, Dave Righetti and Tom Henke. The so-called "power hitters" from both leagues were being shut down repeatedly and the fans were beginning to get disappointed in their weak performances at the plate. Many missed the excitement of homeruns and scoring derbies that were supposed take place during the meetings of the league's top sluggers. The pitchers on the other hand, weren't complaining.
1988: Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati (AL 2-1)
The unlikeliest of All-Stars, a player with less time than his backup, had the biggest performance of any player there in his All-Star debut. The Oakland A's catcher Terry Steinbach homered and hit a sacrifice fly, lifting the American League to victory. Steinbach led off the third inning with a homer against Dwight Gooden. The liner just eluded Darryl Strawberry, who said the ball popped out of his glove as he tried to pull it back over the fence. The homer put Steinbach into the annals of baseball trivia: He's the only player to hit a home run in both his first at-bat in the majors and in his first at-bat in an All-Star Game. His next hit was even more crucial. The AL loaded the bases against Bob Knepper on a double by Dave Winfield, a walk to Cal Ripken and a short single by Mark McGwire. Steinbach followed with a towering fly to left that came within 10 feet of becoming the second grand slam in All-Star history. Frank Viola set the tempo for AL pitchers by retiring all six batters he faced. The National League managed only five singles off the seven hitters who followed him: Roger Clemens, Mark Gubicza, Dave Stieb, Jeff Russell, Doug Jones, Dan Plesac and Dennis Eckersley. It was an amazing performance by an individual, but also a great effort by Steinbach's team to ensure another victory. Many fans and the league were pleased as the NL and AL traded the last 4 All-Star victories breaking the monotony of the previous decades of dominance by one side or the other.
1989: Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim (AL 5-3)
This game featured one of the most gifted and versatile athletes ever to play in professional sports. Bo Jackson was a standout player for the NFL as well as MLB and many feel that if his career had not ended so early on, he could have been one of the greatest in both sports. He not only started the rally in this game but he also maintained and finished it. He was the leadoff batter going up against Rick Reuschel. With one swing of his bat, the tone was set. "When the ball hit the bat," said NL manager Tommy Lasorda, "it sounded like he hit a golf ball." The ball sailed high and far, soared over the center-field fence and landed 448 feet from home plate. From then on it was a Jackson highlight film showcasing his power and speed. He stole a base and raced from left field to left center to catch a Pedro Guerrero liner with two runners in scoring position and two out in the NL's first inning. The American League won its first back-to-back All-Star games for the first time since 1957-58. The league was ecstatic from the variety of exciting and unpredictable games that the 80's had provided and hoped that this trend would last into the 90's.
1990: Wrigley Field, Chicago (AL 2-0)
The first midsummer classic of the 1990's almost didn't start or finish, thanks to Mother Nature The game was periodically stopped for a combined 85 minutes of assorted rain delays including a sixty-eight minute monsoon during the scoreless seventh inning. This prevented either side from establishing a rhythm and it was exceptionally hard on the pitchers. Finally, the American League was able to round the bases thanks to Julio Franco's two-run double off Rob Dibble. Bret Saberhagen, the third of six AL pitchers, was the winner and fulfilled his boyhood dream of playing at Wrigley Field, only a few miles from his birthplace. Dennis Eckersley got the save. Bob Welch of Oakland, Dave Stieb of Toronto, Saberhagen, Bobby Thigpen of the Chicago White Sox, Chuck Finley of California and Eckersley combined to hold the NL to two hits which were both only singles. The NL's hit total during this contest is the lowest in All-Star history. It was also the first time the AL had started of a new decade with a win since the dawning of the 1940's.
1991: SkyDome, Toronto (AL 4-2)
The 1991 All-Star Game in Toronto was the second midsummer classic to be held in Canada and became an instant classic as several records fell along with the National League. Cal Ripken continued to do what he had been doing through the first three months of the season by hitting with power in key situations. The "Iron Man", hitting .348 with 18 home runs and 54 RBIs at the midsummer break, slammed a three-run homer to center field in the third, bringing in Rickey Henderson and Wade Boggs. Ryne Sandberg's one-out double in the third marked the NL's first extra-base hit since 1987. Trailing 3-2, the NL put its first two batters on base in the sixth but couldn't score. Once again, the National League displayed an anemic offense that was unable to perform at the plate. This win, the AL's fourth consecutive, proved that it wasn't just luck. The American League was back after several decades of disappointment and they weren't done yet.
1992: Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego (AL 13-6)
Despite dominating the majority of the previous decades, the National League had now become the underdog. Some sportswriter had joked that the "cleat was on the other foot" and after 4 consecutive losses, the NL entered the '92 game determined to win back the respect that they were used to. Unfortunately for them, the American League had different plans and it didn't take long for them to put the "rookie underdogs" in their place. Right out of the gate, the AL laced seven consecutive first-inning singles and bolted to a 4-0 lead. NL starter Tom Glavine and two of his successors, Bob Tewksbury and Doug Jones, worked 4 1/3 innings and were tagged for 17 hits and 12 runs. Glavine gave up nine hits himself in what looked more like AL batting practice and less like an All-Star Game. The AL struck for four more sixth-inning runs, changing a safe lead into an insurmountable one. Ruben Sierra's two-run homer capped the uprising and made it 10-0. Ken Griffey Jr., one of four AL hitters with two RBIs, went 3-for-3. He singled home a run in the first, homered in the third, triggered the sixth-inning outburst with a double and was the game's MVP. The National League only managed to score their first run after ten runs had already scored and by then, it didn't really matter.
1993: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore (AL 9-3)
This time the National League fired the first shot as AL starter Mark Langston was rocked for a two-run homer by Gary Sheffield that also brought in Barry Bonds. The American League was not concerned and answered back with two home runs of their own. After shaking off the first-inning, the American League pitching staff got down to business and allowed only one run, four hits and didn't walk a batter. Kirby Puckett, who had no extra-base hits in seven previous All-Star Games, hit a bases-empty homer in the second and had a run-scoring double in a three-run fifth-inning rally that broke a 2-2 tie and sent the AL to its sixth straight victory. The NL continued to raise the bar on their record for consecutive losses, but little did they know, the streak was about to end.
1994: Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh (NL 8-7) 
The '94 Midsummer Classic is considered by most die-hards as one of the best All-Star Games ever played. This extra-inning, nail-biter had everyone on the edge of their seats as the lead changed five times and included a game tying home run in the ninth inning and a surprising victory for the National League in the tenth. The NL got to two of the American League's finest pitchers, David Cone and Lee Smith. Cone, 12-4 at the break, gave up three runs in the third and threw 40 pitches in two innings. Smith, who had 29 saves at the break, was entrusted with a 7-5 lead in the ninth and gave up a game-tying homer in a 28-pitch inning of work. While much of the media's pregame attentions were focused on the AL's Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey Jr., it was 3 Expos: Ken Hill, Marquis Grissom and Moises Alou who stole the show. Hill pitched two scoreless innings; Grissom staked the NL to a 5-4 lead with a sixth-inning homer; and Alou delivered the game-winning double it the 10th. The NL had finally managed to break the AL's winning streak after 6 years and regained some momentum that would last for the next 2.
1995: The Ballpark at Arlington, Arlington (NL 3-2)
The 1995 Midsummer Classic was held at The Ballpark at Arlington for the first time in All-Star history. The National League was still riding high after breaking the AL's 6 year winning streak the previous year. Despite their confidence, the NL managed only 3 hits during the entire game. Unfortunately for the American League, they all counted, marking the first time in All-Star history that all of a team's hits were homeruns. Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Jeff Conine all homered for the National League, despite a fantastic performance on the mound by the AL. For over 5 innings, three American League pitchers had held the NL hitless. Randy Johnson, Kevin Appier and Dennis Martinez combined to pitch the longest no-hitter to open an All-Star Game. This time the AL's offense was anemic as they batted eight times with runners in scoring position and went hitless each time. The AL's runs came on a fourth-inning homer by Frank Thomas after a single by Carlos Baerga. Two other notable events took place during the '95 Midsummer Classic: Buck Showalter of the Yankees and Felipe Alou of the Expos were named All-Star managers because their teams finished the strike-shortened 1994 season with the best records in their leagues and NL starter Hideo Nomo became the first Japanese player named to the All-Star team.
1996: Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia (NL 6-0)
Once again, the All-Star Game returned to the "City of Brotherly Love" as the National League pounded their rivals and shut them out, but not before a unique record would be set. Neither pitching staff allowed a single walk during the entire game! Despite the lack of walks, the AL had no problem giving up runs. Once again Mike Piazza was at his best, driving in two runs with a homer and double to win MVP honors. He became the first player to homer in consecutive All-Star Games since Fred Lynn in 1979-80. Combined with his homer in his last at-bat in the 1995, he also became the first to homer in consecutive All-Star at-bats since Gary Carter in 1981. The game would have had a lot more, if not for the absence of Ken Griffey, Tony Gwynn, Frank Thomas and Matt Williams due to injuries. The victory was the NL's third in a row and extended its series lead to 40-26-1.
1997: Jacobs Field, Cleveland (AL 3-1)
The American League was still suffering from the previous year's shutout and was determined to make a comeback in Cleveland. They got their wish due to the late-game heroics of Indians catcher Sandy Alomar, who thrilled his hometown fans with a two-run, game-deciding home run in the seventh inning. A repeat of the '95 classic, the National League hitters managed only three hits off of eight A.L. pitchers. Both teams traded solo home runs with Seattle's Edgar Martinez hitting one in the second inning and Atlanta's Javier Lopez becoming the 11th player to homer in his first All-Star game at-bat in the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, Bernie Williams drew a one-out walk from the Giants Shawn Estes. One out later, Alomar became the first All-Star to earn MVP honors in his home ballpark when he blasted an Estes pitch into the left field bleachers. The American League was back and they were only getting started.
1998: Coors Field, Denver (AL 13-8)
1998 was considered the year of the homerun as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa both set new standards by breaking the all-time single season home run record, the most revered record in all of sports. The All-Star Game didn't disappoint either and featured three home runs and a record 21 combined runs as the American League beat the National League 13-8. The AL had home runs from Seattle's Alex Rodriguez and Baltimore's Roberto Alomar and also stole five bases which set a new All-Star record. Although the AL dominated for most of the contest, the NL did surge back into the game in the fifth with a three-run homer from the Giants' Barry Bonds, giving the NL a 6-5 lead. Bonds joined his father, Bobby Bonds, as the second father-son combination to hit All-Star Game home runs (Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. are the others). Despite the NL's best efforts, the AL responded with a three-run rally in the top of sixth. Roberto Alomar collected three hits, homered once, stole a base and was named All-Star MVP exactly one year after his brother Sandy Alomar Jr. captured the family's first All-Star MVP trophy. The American League was hot and determined to close out the decade the same way they had opened it; as winners.
1999: Fenway Park, Boston (AL 4-1)
This year the American League was going for the "hat-trick" as they stepped onto the hallowed grounds of Fenway Park. In a touching pre-game ceremony, a collection of the game's all-time All-Stars gathered in the infield. The biggest ovation in Boston was for legendary outfielder Ted Williams, who returned to the stadium he called home for 19 seasons. When the game started, Boston's current star, pitcher Pedro Martinez, took center stage. He entered the game with 182 strikeouts, worked his magic on the National League's finest and struck out Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, and Sammy Sosa consecutively in the first inning. In the bottom of the first, Kenny Lofton started things off with a single. With two outs and Manny Ramirez at the plate, Lofton stole second. After Ramirez walked, the setting looked like an Indians game with Lofton and Ramirez on base and slugger Jim Thome at bat. Thome didn't disappoint Cleveland and A.L. fans by singling to center, scoring Lofton. Then Cal Ripken, Jr. drove in Ramirez with a single and suddenly the A.L. was in control with a 2-0 lead. In the top of the second, Martinez continued to dominate on the mound, striking out homerun king Mark McGwire. One more strikeout and Martinez would match the famous feat of Carl Hubbell in 1934 who struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin consecutively. Unfortunately, all great things must come to an end as Matt Williams ended the streak by reaching base on an error in the next at-bat. With two strikes on Jeff Bagwell, Williams was stealing but Martinez hurled a strike and catcher Ivan Rodriguez threw out Williams, completing a double play. The N.L. provided a scare in the ninth inning with a one-out single by Brian Jordan, but Jeff Kent ended the short-lived rally by hitting into a double-play. The win was the American League's third consecutive victory and for once, they had completely dominated a decade by winning in 7 out of 10 meetings.
2000: Turner Field, Atlanta (AL 6-3)
In the year 2000, a new century of All-Stars took the field in Atlanta, though this time it was played at Turner Field instead of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium as it had been 28 years before. Surprisingly, this game allowed only 1 homerun, which came from the Brave's Chipper Jones who became the 13th player to hit an All-Star home run in his home ballpark. Despite this local hero's performance, the star of the game was Yankee Derek Jeter who was only filling in for an injured Alex Rodriguez. Seven additional All-Stars voted to starting lineups by the fans were also injured and missing including Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux. Despite the Yankees All-Star legacy, Jeter became the first in blue pinstripes ever to win an All-Star MVP. He collected three hits, drove in two runs and scored another en route the honor. During the game the NL stars managed nine hits off of eight AL pitchers, but couldn't break find their way home. Defensively, they contributed to their own downfall with two errors and a difficult third inning during which Dodgers right-handed Kevin Brown walked three batters. On the other side, a combination of timely hitting, clutch pitching and capitalizing on poor defense lifted the Americans to their fourth straight All-Star victory and 10th in 13 games.
2001: Safeco Field, Seattle (AL 4-1)
After four consecutive years of American League victories, the NL returned to the role of underdog and was looking for a win. The 2001 script had been written, but the star of this show was Cal Ripken, Jr. The "Iron Man" had announced his impending retirement earlier in the season and grateful baseball fans thanked him over and over with honors in every ballpark that he played in. The 2001 Midsummer Classic took on a whole new identity as Cal took the field at third base for his final All-Star appearance. Everyone in attendance and watching at home knew history was in the making. Class-act Alex Rodriguez suggested he move over to his customary shortstop position and Cal reluctantly agreed. The memories had only just begun for Ripken who came to the plate during the third inning with the theme from The Natural being played over Safeco Fields' sound system. The fans gave Cal one of the longest standing ovations ever bestowed on an All-Star player and he tipped his batting helmet in appreciation. Stepping into the batters box he swung amid a sea of flashbulbs and hit the first pitch he saw from Chan Ho Park over the left field wall. The final chapter in his story was written before the sixth inning by Commissioner Bud Selig who presented Ripken and Tony Gwynn, who was also retiring after the season, with the Commissioners' Historic Achievement Award. The award, which was created in 1998, is presented at the commissioner's discretion to any player whose body of work is in itself historical or any player who sets a record of historical significance. In between tributes a game was also taking place. Leading only 3-2 after a fifth-inning RBI single, the AL put the game away with three runs in the ninth. With the victory, the AL cut its overall deficit to 40-30-1. Yankee boss Joe Torre joined Tony La Russa and Tommy Lasorda as the only managers to win their first three All-Star Games.
2002: Miller Park, Milwaukee (* TIE 7-7) * Both teams ran out of pitchers
The 2002 All-Star Game will always be remembered for all of the wrong reasons. It started out as one of the most celebrated, but ended unexpectedly as one of the most disappointing. Baseball had fallen on hard times as alleged steroid abuse and an impending strike over revenue sharing threatened to distance even more fans from the game. Even worse, baseball had lost one of its greatest players the week before as The Splendid Splinter, Ted Williams died at the age of 83. The opening ceremonies were spectacular as baseball highlighted 30 of its greatest moments and featured several of its greatest living participants. Never before had such an elite gathering of new and old talent been brought together on the same field at the same time. Legends of the game including Spahn, Aaron and Mays shared the spotlight with future Hall of Famers like Ripken and Bonds. The stage was set for a wonderful exhibition as baseball's best took the field.
The game itself had everything, great pitching, excellent fielding, powerful hitting and phenomenal response from the fans. However it finished amid a sea of boos in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings when both teams ran out of pitchers. AL manager Joe Torre and NL skipper Bob Brenly had used all 19 in an effort to get everyone in the game. Their efforts to be accommodating would backfire and set a precedent for future changes. Even with all of the controversy, the 2002 Midsummer Classic offered some great moments. With two outs in the first, Barry Bonds launched a long drive to deep right-center field. Torri Hunter glided into the gap, timed his leap and reached far over the fence (his elbow was way above the 8-foot wall) to pull the ball back into the park. Bonds, who has 594 career home runs, and the fans could hardly believe that he'd been robbed of another shot. As Hunter came jogging off the field, Bonds playfully intercepted the Gold Glove winner in the middle of the field, hoisted the Twins star with two hands and put him over his shoulder. Lance Berkman, leading the majors with 29 home runs and 81 RBIs, hit a two-out, two-run single off Kazuhiro Sasaki in the seventh inning that rallied the NL to a 7-6 lead. The Houston outfielder delivered after Byung-Hyun Kim blew a lead in the top half. But Omar Vizquel, making a rare appearance at second base because the AL had five shortstops on its roster, made it 7-all with a RBI triple in the eighth off Giants closer Robb Nen.
Then it happened. After 2 extra innings the game was called at a tie. Commissioner Bud Selig was left with little options and made the ultimate decision to call the game. It was the first tie in All-Star play since a game in 1961 was stopped by rain. Even worse, there was no MVP picked. Bad timing, too, since the trophy was renamed to honor Ted Williams, the Hall of Famer who died July 5. While the sport's most memorable moments were shown earlier on the board, baseball also paused to remember St. Louis pitcher Darryl Kile and Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck. Kile's No. 57 jersey hung in the NL dugout and Buck's widow was in attendance.
The result left intact the AL's five-game winning streak. The NL led the overall series 40-31 and now had two ties. The game took 3 hours, 29 minutes. Five other All-Star games had lasted longer than 11 innings, the most recent being the NL's 2-0 win in 13 innings in 1987. Commissioner Bud Selig stated that "This will never happen again."
2003: U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago (AL 7-6)
After another first-half season of "un-fan-friendly" baseball including controversies over corked bats, the lingering threat of team contractions and accusations of unfair trade practices, Major League Baseball's marketing division attempted to restore the fan's faith in the game and make amends for the 2002 debacle that had ended in a 7-7 tie after both leagues ran out of available pitchers. To add more meaning to the fledgling exhibition, the 2003 Midsummer Classic slogan read "This Time It Counts" and for the first time in professional baseball history, home-field advantage in the World Series would be granted to the winner. The enticing proposal proved to be more than just a marketing ploy as the last team to overcome the "home-field curse" was the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had beaten the odds (and the Baltimore Orioles) while away in 1979.
As both teams took to the diamond at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, many fans were anxious to see the novel concept in action. Managers Dusty Baker and Mike Scioscia, both agreed that more strategy would be required than in previous contests and that a conservative approach to the bench was an absolute necessity. No longer would the integrity of the game be compromised by a skipper's unwritten obligation to "get everyone in" and come October 18th (Game 1 of the World Series) fans everywhere would see exactly how much it meant.
The first half of the game resembled more of a pitcher's clinic as the men on the mound clearly dominated the game's best hitters. National League starter Jason Schmidt defined pitch efficiency in the first inning after retiring Ichiro Suzuki, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Delgado with five quick pitches en route to a two-shutout-inning effort. The American League's aces responded as well and the game remained 0-0 thanks to some clutch fielding by their teammates. The first defensive highlight of the night came in the top of the second, when AL first baseman Delgado extended over the wall into the photographers' section (foul territory) to snag a Gary Sheffield popup. Later in the top of the fourth, AL right fielder Suzuki ran and leapt at the warning track (ala Willie Mays) to snatch a screaming line drive by Albert Pujols.
Finally, the American League managed to break through the scoreless stalemate with a Delgado single (for the 1-0 advantage) in the third, but the Nationals answered back with a run-scoring rally of their own and looked to be comfortable heading into the eighth with a 6-4 lead. Things quickly became uncomfortable though as Dodgers closer Eric Gagne surrendered a one-out double to Garret Anderson, who was removed for pinch-runner Melvin Mora, who scored on a double by Vernon Wells to make it 6-5. Then, unlikely hero Hank Blalock stepped up to the plate and hit the first pinch-hit homer in an All-Star Game since 1995 to seal the National's fate (7-6) and home-field advantage for his American League brothers.
One night after winning the Home Run Derby, the man who had set the AL comeback finale in motion, Garret Anderson, was named the games Most Valuable Player (Ted Williams Award). Anderson came just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle after going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. It was the first time that a Derby winner had homered in the All-Star Game since Frank Thomas accomplished the feat at The Ballpark in Arlington in 1995. In the end, the American League extended its unbeaten streak in the Midsummer Classic to seven and looked forward to the Fall Classic, which would start (and possibly finish) in their own home.
2004: Minute Maid Park, Houston (AL 9-4)
The 75th Midsummer Classic will always be remembered not for WHAT happened, but for WHAT DIDN'T happen. As with most All-Star events, pre-game hype was at an all time high and the sports media could not have asked for a better itinerary of events to cover. The recently "un" retired Roger Clemens dominated the headlines and his hometown crowd of Houston Astros fans were more than anxious to witness their "favorite son" make history. At age forty-one (41), Clemens had become the oldest pitcher ever to start an All-Star Game and had recently completed a phenomenal first-half of the season. A veteran of the Classic, Roger had dominated for the American League in all eight of his previous All-Star appearances. During that time, he faced forty (40) hitters and had given up a total of one (1) extra-base hit (a 1991 home run to Andre Dawson). Ironically, catcher Mike Piazza, who had a long-standing feud with "The Rocket," also started behind the plate for the National League. Both men stated that they had put the past behind them, but many doubted that this was true.
In the opening ceremonies, American icon Muhammad Ali helped toss out a ceremonial first-pitch and Hall of Fame great Nolan Ryan "coached" one lucky fan to a million dollars in a Taco Bell sponsored pitching contest. Little did the fans at Minute Maid Park know that would be the ONLY quality pitching they would witness until the second inning. Almost immediately after taking the mound, Clemens ran into trouble. Speed, control and consensus on pitches with his catcher were obviously lacking and before they knew it, the National League was down 6-0.
Catcher Ivan Rodriguez ignited the American League's rally after tagging an RBI triple. Then, Boston's Manny Ramirez knocked out a two-run home run giving his teammates an immediate 3-0 lead. With two outs, Jason Giambi reached base on a rare Jeff Kent error, and after Derek Jeter singled to left, game MVP Alfonso Soriano cleared the bases with a first-pitch home run to left field that gave the American League a huge advantage. Both Clemens and the crowd appeared in shock after he had surrendered more runs in the first inning, than he had ever given up in his entire All-Star career to date. Although he was throwing on only two-days rest, "The Rocket" refused to accept that as an excuse and took full responsibility as he walked back to the clubhouse. Unfortunately many fans, as well as members of the media, would later pose rumors of a "conspiracy theory" after Clemens appeared to shake off a few pitches called by "his rival" leading up to the Ramirez home run.
The surprise opening marked only the second time that an All-Star team had scored six runs in a single frame as well as the most runs scored by a team since the American League tallied a record seven runs in the third inning of the '83 Classic. As a result, skipper Jack McKeon was forced to change his entire game plan after the starting right-hander threw thirty-five (35) pitches in the first inning debacle. The sudden shuffle appeared to prevent the National League from establishing a rhythm and they continued to struggle throughout the contest.
Little improved for National League favoring crowd of 41,886 either until the fourth inning when the Nationals managed to score three runs off of Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia. First Jeff Kent knocked a two-out single, followed by a base hit by Carlos Beltran. Edgar Renteria sent Kent home with a ground-rule double down the left-field line, and two more runs scored on a double by Albert Pujols.
Not to be outdone, Manny Ortiz added a third home run for the American League in the sixth with a two-run shot that increased the American's lead to five. Starter Mark Mulder was credited with the win after holding the National League to one run over two innings of work, although being staked to a 6-0 lead didn't hurt the Oakland ace's chances either. Along the way, Mulder retired Barry Bonds on a routine fly ball to center field, which pleased him nearly as much as getting the win. When America League reliever Esteban Loaiza walked Barry Bonds later in the game, the sellout crowd showered him with boos.
most exciting performances on the mound took place only
after the game had been clearly decided. Fans in attendance
were treated to a real "pitcher's duel" put on by two of the
game's greatest. Eric Gagne, who had recently set an
all-time record for most consecutive saves (84) completed
the Nationals effort and Mariano Rivera, the most successful
post-season closer in history, ended the game. Still using
the "it counts" concept (disputed by the Players Union), the
American League walked away with a 9-4 victory and their
second consecutive home field advantage going into the 2004
(More To Come)
© 2002-2003-2004 Pinstripe Press. All Rights