A New York All-Star Game Retrospective
The Midsummer Classic has been played in New York City eight times—on four occasions at Yankee Stadium, twice at the Polo Grounds, once at Ebbets Field and once at Shea Stadium.
The first All-Star Game was played at Comiskey Park in 1933, and from 1959 to 1962 two All-Star Games were played each season. The MVP Award wasn’t handed out until 1962. Here’s a look back at all eight New York All-Star contests.
1934 (Polo Grounds): This was the second All-Star Game, and is most remembered for Giants pitcher Carl Hubbell striking out five Hall-of-Famers in a row. Starting in the first inning, the lefty screwball artist punched out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin consecutively.
The AL went on to win the game, though, by a score of 9-7. Ruth, Gehrig and Foxx were arguably the greatest 3, 4, 5 hitters ever put into a lineup. They only went a combined 2-for-11, though, with Foxx getting both hits and driving in the lone run of the trio.
There’s only been one steal of home in All-Star Game history, and it happened in this game when Pirate Pie Traynor swiped home plate on a double steal.
1939 (Yankee Stadium): The first All-Star Game played in the House That Ruth Built saw the Yankees field six starting players.
Red Ruffing was the starting pitcher, and manager Joe McCarthy let his five position players—Red Rolfe, Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, George Selkirk and Joe Gordon—play the whole game.
The American League won the game 3-1, with DiMaggio belting a home run for the third run. Twenty-year-old Bob Feller pitched 3.2 innings and picked up the save.
1942 (Polo Grounds)
This game was originally scheduled to be played at Ebbets Field, but was moved to the bigger-capacity Polo Grounds because the proceeds from the game were going to benefit the war effort. The AL scored three runs in the first inning, which was all they would need as they cruised to a 3-1 victory.
Yankee hurler Spud Chandler threw four scoreless innings to pick up the win. Manager Joe McCarthy used a total of 11 players—two pitchers and nine position players.
1949 (Ebbets Field)
African-Americans made their first All-Star appearance this year. Larry Doby of Cleveland was the first for the AL, while Dodgers Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe represented the NL. Brooklyn added three more hometown players in Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges and Preacher Roe.
But it was the DiMaggio brothers who dominated, as Joe and Dom went a combined 4 for 9, with 4 RBI’s and 3 runs scored, leading the American League to an 11-7 win. Yankee Vic Raschi picked up the save by pitching the last three innings.
1960 (Yankee Stadium)
This was the second All-Star Game of the summer that year, and it was the return to New York for Willie Mays, who went 3 for 4 with a homer and led the Nationals to a 6-0 romp. The Senior Circuit blasted four long balls (Mays, Eddie Matthews, Stan Musial, Ken Boyer), which tied an All-Star record (it also happened in 1951 and again in 1981).
The Yankee representatives didn’t fare so well in this Classic. Whitey Ford was tagged with the loss, and Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Yogi Berra went a combined 1 for 10. This was also the last of Ted Williams‘ 18 All-Star apprearances.
1964 (Shea Stadium)
The Mets were awarded their first and only All-Star game to commemorate brand-new, state-of-the-art Shea. This Midsummer Classic also featured the first starting player for the Amazin’s—second baseman Ron Hunt.
This was one of the most exciting All-Star Games ever played as the National League overcame a 4-3 deficit in the ninth inning to win 7-4. Willie Mays started the rally with a walk and stolen base, and scored to tie the game on an Orlando Cepeda single.
After two outs and another walk, Phillie and MVP Johnny Callison blasted a home run over the right field wall off Boston’s Dick Radatz to end the game. And the Phillie outfielder was wearing a Mets helmet while doing it.
Somehow, I can’t imagine Chase Utley following in his footsteps. Callison ended his career playing for the Yankees in 1972 and ‘73.
1977 (Yankee Stadium)
The second year of “new” Yankees Stadium (there have been so many versions of Yankee Stadium that we may need to come up with names for each one—Original Recipe, Extra Crispy and Boneless Variety Bucket?) saw the All-Star Game return to the Bronx, and like the last one in 1960 things didn’t fare well for the Americans.
The NL scored four runs off Baltimore’s Jim Palmer in the first inning and never looked back, winning 7-5. This game also featured so many colorful uniforms—powder blue, green, yellow, black, brown, orange, red—that it was like looking into a kaleidoscope after taking some of Dock Ellis‘ special medication.
For some reason, Pirate Dave Parker wore a Padres helmet for two at-bats and a Reds one for another. Quote of the game from Cincinnati manager Sparky Anderson: “The only reason we’re here is to kick the living hell out of those guys.” It’s a shame that competitive spirit has disappeared.
2008 (Yankee Stadium)
The last hurrah for the Grand Cathedral, as it hosted a 15-inning thriller that even Bud Selig couldn’t mess up. Before the game, 49 living Hall-of-Famers took the field in a pre-game ceremony (well, they’d have to be living to take the field I guess), and then the present-day All-Stars played a marathon that ended on a Michael Young sacrifice fly off Brad Lidge.
In a tribute to Tony LaRussa, 23 pitchers were used in the game.
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