Ranking the 20 Most Legendary All-Star Game Home Runs of All Time

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2013

Ranking the 20 Most Legendary All-Star Game Home Runs of All Time

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    While watching players launch bomb after bomb in the Home Run Derby is terrific, it pales in comparison to watching a player go deep in the Midsummer Classic itself.

    Batting practice home runs, while awesome to watch, simply don't have the same "oomph" that hitting one in game action does.

    Since the first MLB All-Star Game in 1933, 136 batters have hit 178 home runs off of 131 different pitchers. Stan "The Man" Musial is the career leader with six home runs in All-Star action, while Vida Blue and Catfish Hunter have allowed four home runs each, more than any other pitchers in All-Star history.

    Some of those were hit by players you'd fully expect to see on a list of legendary home runs, while others were launched by players that you very well may have forgotten—or never heard of at all.

    Not all home runs are created equal, and of those 178 blasts, 20 stand out above the rest as truly legendary, history-making shots. Which was the most legendary, iconic MLB All-Star Game blast of them all?

    Let's take a look.

20. Dick Dietz (1970)

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    While the 1970 All-Star Game at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati is best remembered for the "Collision Heard 'Round the World" between Pete Rose and Ray Fosse in the 12th inning, that legendary, game-winning play never would have gotten a chance to happen without San Francisco's Dick Dietz.

    With Oakland's Catfish Hunter facing his first batter of the game to lead off the ninth inning and the American League holding a 4-1 lead, Dietz took Hunter deep to straightaway center field to make the score 4-2, setting the stage for the Senior Circuit to mount a successful three-run ninth inning rally.

    For Dietz, who finished the game 1-for-2, it would be the only All-Star hit of his career.

19. Mickey Owen (1942)

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    Over the first 620 games of his major league career, Mickey Owen had hit a grand total of eight home runs. And he headed into the 1942 All-Star Game at the Polo Grounds in New York without a bomb on the season.

    So nobody was expecting Brooklyn's Owen to go yard when he was inserted into the game as a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth inning with the American League trailing 3-0.

    But that's exactly what he did, taking Detroit's Al Benton deep for a solo shot that put the AL on the board. While the National League would win the game by a 3-1 score, Owne's blast was the first pinch-hit home run in All-Star Game history. 

18. Max West (1940)

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    Max West, who spent the bulk of his career with Boston, made one appearance at the All-Star Game, coming in 1940 at the third incarnation of St. Louis' Sportsman's Park.

    Not only was the game West's only All-Star appearance, but he got only one at-bat. Thankfully for the National League, he made it count.

    With runners on first and third and nobody out, West dug in against New York's Red Ruffing, sending a pitch deep into the right-center field stands for a three-run blast that put the Senior Circuit on top 3-0—a lead that it would never surrender, winning the game 4-0.

    West became the first player in All-Star Game history to hit a home run in his first All-Star at-bat.


17. Frankie Frisch (1934)

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    The great thing about the MLB All-Star Game—normally—is that it pits the best batters in the game against the best pitchers in the game.

    When that combination winds up in the Hall of Fame together, it becomes even more special—and its exactly what we got when St. Louis' Frankie Frisch stepped to the plate to face off against New York's Lefty Gomez at the Polo Grounds in 1934.

    Leading things off for the National League in the bottom of the first inning, Frisch took Gomez deep to right field to give the National League a 1-0 lead—the first time that a future Hall of Fame position player had gone deep off of a future Hall of Fame pitcher at the Midsummer Classic.

16. Babe Ruth (1933)

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    You can't have a list of legendary home runs and not include Babe Ruth, baseball's first transcendent star and one of the most iconic sluggers of all time.

    While a 38-year-old Ruth was far removed from his prime by the time the first MLB All-Star Game was held at Comiskey Park in 1933, it was the Bambino who accounted for the first home run in All-Star Game history.

    His two-run shot off of St. Louis' Bill Hallahan in the bottom of the third inning gave the American League a 3-0 lead that it would never surrender, winning the game 4-2.



15. Jackie Robinson (1952)

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    Everyone knows that Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier on April 15, 1947, but few remember that Robinson broke a color barrier in the All-Star Game as well.

    Heading into the 1952 All-Star Game at Philadelphia's Shibe park, no African-American player had ever hit a home run at the Midsummer Classic.

    Robinson changed all of that with one swing, taking New York's Vic Raschi deep to left field in the bottom of the first inning to give the National League a 1-0 lead in a game that the Senior Circuit would eventually win, 3-2.


14. Ralph Kiner (1950)

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    With the National League trailing 3-2 heading into the ninth inning, it looked as if the American League was headed to its fifth consecutive All-Star Game victory.

    Pittsburgh's Ralph Kiner had other plans.

    Leading off the top of the ninth inning at Comiskey Park, Kiner got a hold of a pitch from Detroit's Art Houtteman, sending the ball into the stands and the game into extra innings for the first time in All-Star history.


13. Red Schoendienst (1950)

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    While he was making his fourth All-Star appearance, St. Louis' Red Schoendienst didn't get into the 1950 Midsummer Classic at Comiskey Park until the 14th inning, the first time that the All-Star Game had gone into extra frames.

    The future Hall of Fame inductee didn't waste his lone at-bat of the game, taking Detroit's Ted Gray deep for a solo shot that put the National League ahead 5-4—a lead that the senior circuit would protect in the bottom half of the inning to clinch the victory.

    For Schoendienst, who would appear in 10 MLB All-Star Games over the course of his 19-year-career, that blast would be the only extra-base hit he'd ever have in All-Star action.

12. Sandy Alomar Jr. (1997)

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    Going deep in an All-Star Game is always a special thing, but when it comes in front of your hometown fans, the intensity level ticks up more than a few notches.

    That's exactly what Cleveland's Sandy Alomar Jr. experienced at the 1997 All-Star Game, held at Jacobs Field.

    After watching Kansas City's Jose Rosado squander the American League's 1-0 lead in the top of the seventh inning, Alomar Jr. stepped to the plate with two outs and New York's Bernie Williams on second base.

    Facing a 2-2 count, the veteran backstop hammered an Estes offering deep into left field for a two-run blast, giving the AL a 3-1 lead that would hold up, earning Alomar Jr. MVP honors for the game.

11. Hank Blalock (2003)

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    Making his first All-Star appearance in 2003 at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field, Texas third baseman Hank Blalock was inserted into the game as a pinch hitter for Anaheim's Troy Glaus in the bottom of the eighth inning.

    With two outs, the American League trailing 6-5 and Vernon Wells standing on second base, Blalock stepped to the plate to face Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Eric Gagne, who was in the midst of a legendary season for a reliever.

    Blalock worked a 3-1 count before taking Gagne's fifth pitch of the at-bat deep into the right-center field stands, giving the American League a 7-6 lead that Oakland's Keith Foulke was able to protect in the top of the ninth inning for the victory.


10. Jeff Conine (1995)

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    With the 1995 All-Star Game at the Ballpark in Arlington tied at two in the top of the eighth inning, National League manager Felipe Alou sent Florida's Jeff Conine up to the plate to lead things off as a pinch-hitter in place of Atlanta's Ron Gant.

    Conine then deposited a pitch from Oakland's Steve Ontiveros into the right field stands, giving the NL a 3-2 lead.

    After Chicago's Randy Myers closed things out in the ninth, Conine's game-winning blast earned him MVP honors, the only time a Marlin has won the award.

9. Johnny Callison (1964)

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    Making the second All-Star Game appearance of his career at Shea Stadium in 1964, Philadelphia's Johnny Callison hit a game-winning, walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning off of Boston reliever Dick Radatz, who threw heat, to give the National League a 7-4 victory.

    What makes the home run even more intriguing is that Callison didn't use his own bat. Future Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams from the Cubs lent him his for the at-bat.

8. Tony Perez (1967)

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    After getting out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning of the 1967 All-Star Game at Anaheim Stadium, the National League went 12 innings without scoring a run. The American League tied the game in the sixth, but then went on a nine-inning scoreless streak itself.

    That all changed in the top of the 15th inning when Tony Perez, facing Oakland's Catfish Hunter—who was beginning his fifth inning of work—took a Hunter pitch and deposited it in the stands beyond the wall in left field, putting the Senior Circuit ahead 2-1, the eventual game-winning score.

    Perez took home MVP honors for his heroics.


7. Bo Jackson (1989)

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    With the American League trailing 2-0 after the first half inning of the 1989 All-Star Game at Anaheim Stadium, Kansas City's Bo Jackson led things off for the host league, facing San Francisco's Rick Reuschel.

    After falling behind 0-2, Jackson smacked a 448-foot blast that landed in the black, well behind the center field wall, cutting the deficit to 2-1. He added an RBI-groundout an inning later (and a defensive gem in the top of the first inning) to put the AL up 3-2 and be named the game's MVP.


6. Ted Williams (1941)

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    Six innings after opening the scoring in the 1941 All-Star Game at Detroit's Briggs Stadium with an RBI double in the bottom of the third inning, Ted Williams came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with two on, two out and the American League trailing 5-4.

    Ahead in the count 2-1 against Chicago's Claude Passeau, Williams took the fourth pitch of the at-bat deep to right field for a game-winning three-run home run—the first walk-off home run in All-Star Game history.

5. Stan Musial (1955)

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    Making his 12th All-Star appearance in 1955, St. Louis' Stan Musial found himself without a hit when he came to the plate in the top of the 12th inning at Milwaukee County Stadium.

    With the game deadlocked at five apiece, Musial took Boston's Frank Sullivan deep to right field for a game-winning solo shot, the first extra-innings walk-off home run in All-Star Game history.

4. Fred Lynn (1983)

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    In the midst of an 11-year losing streak, the American League was desperate for a win and hoping that a return to Comiskey Park, where the first All-Star Game had been held 50 years prior, would bring some good luck.

    The baseball gods smiled upon the hosts that day, as the AL cruised to a lopsided 13-3 victory over the Senior Circuit, with California's Fred Lynn striking the crushing blow, hitting the first—and only—grand slam in All-Star Game history off of San Francisco's Atlee Hammaker in the bottom of the third inning, giving the AL an eight-run lead.


3. Ichiro Suzuki (2007)

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    Making his seventh consecutive All-Star appearance—six of them as a starter for the American League—Ichiro Suzuki put together an MVP-worthy performance at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

    Already with two hits on the day, Ichiro stepped into the box to face San Diego's Chris Young in the top of the fifth inning with one out and Baltimore's Brian Roberts on first base.

    He proceeded to rip a fastball into the deepest part of the ballpark in right-center field. His former teammate, Ken Griffey Jr., gave chase, but the ball hit an All-Star Game banner that was hanging from the wall and rolled away.

    By the time Junior fired the ball back toward the infield, Ichiro was crossing home plate for a two-run inside-the-park home run, the first (and only) one in All-Star history, giving the American League a 2-1 lead.

2. Cal Ripken Jr. (2001)

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    The 2001 All-Star Game at Safeco Field was as much a celebration of baseball as it was of Cal Ripken Jr.'s career, which was coming to an end at the conclusion of the regular season.

    Now 40, the 19-time All-Star was hitting only .240 with four home runs and 28 RBI heading into the All-Star break. But fans voted him in as the American League's starting third baseman, though he didn't actually make the start at the hot corner thanks to Alex Rodriguez, who insisted that Ripken man his natural position one more time.

    When Ripken stepped to the plate in the bottom of the third inning, he sent the first pitch he saw from Chan-Ho Park over the left field fence, giving the AL a 1-0 lead that it would never surrender.

    The ovation that he received as he circled the bases was deafening, as was the one that fans gave him upon the announcement that Ripken had been named the game's MVP for the second time in his career.

1. Reggie Jackson (1971)

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    The 1971 All-Star Game was held at Tiger Stadium, a stadium that, according to Ballparks.com, saw 19 players hit 28 home runs that cleared the roof and left the park—literally.

    Few, if any, traveled as far as the shot that Oakland's Reggie Jackson hit off of Pittsburgh's Dock Ellis in the bottom of the third inning of that Midsummer Classic. Jackson crushed a slider from Ellis that wound up hitting an electrical transformer 100 feet above the roof of the stadium, some 380 feet from home plate.

    ESPN's Home Run Tracker estimates that had the ball not hit that transformer, it would have traveled 532 feet, by far the longest home run in All-Star history and one of the longest in MLB history.