The Midsummer Classic certainly has had memorable moments and amazing feats.
Some of the finest moments and highlights in Major League Baseball history occurred during the Midsummer Classic.
In 1933, Major League Baseball initiated the first ever All-Star Game to be played in midsummer so that the best stars of America's game could compete in an exhibition for the benefit of the game's fans.
I have compiled a list of the top five greatest moments in MLB All-Star Game history. Feel free to agree or disagree about the list. I want this to be a frank discussion.
5) 2001 Seattle: Cal Ripken Bids Farewell
Cal Ripken Jr. (Baltimore Orioles) homered to left field in the bottom of the third inning off Chan Ho Park (Los Angeles Dodgers) to provide the American League with a 1-0 lead. Cal Ripken Jr. had announced his retirement from Major League Baseball before the All-Star Game. This was the legendary infielder’s final All-Star Game and his blast made it a memorable one.
4) 1989 Anaheim: The Bo Jackson Show
Bo Jackson (Kansas City Royals) led off the game for the American League with a towering 448-foot homerun off Rick Reuschel (San Francisco Giants). One inning later, Jackson would add a stolen base becoming only the second player all time to hit a homerun and steal a base in an All-Star Game. The other player to achieve such a rare feat was Willie Mays!
FUN FACT: After the blast by Bo Jackson in the bottom of the first inning, Wade Boggs (Boston Red Sox) followed up with his own homerun.
3) 1970 Cincinnati: Rose Versus Fosse
It was the bottom of the twelfth inning with the American League and National League tied at four. Pete Rose (Cincinnati Reds) was standing at second base with two outs.
Jim Hickman (Chicago Cubs) smashed a single into centerfield. Rose ran around third base and headed for the plate. The throw to American League catcher Ray Fosse (Cleveland Indians) had beaten Rose to the plate.
Pete Rose lowered his shoulder and slammed Ray Fosse in a violent bodily collision causing the catcher to drop the ball.
Rose was safe and the National League won a 5-4 victory. Sadly for Ray Fosse, he fractured his shoulder in the collision with Rose and his playing career would never be the same.
Pete Rose was widely criticized for colliding with Fosse. Although the play was legal, the fact this maneuver was attempted in an All Star Game was very controversial.
FUN FACT: It should also be noted here that the National League had dominated the Midsummer Classic from 1963 until 1985 going 21-2 against the American League.
2) 1971 Detroit: Jackson Goes Deep... Very, Very Deep
Reggie Jackson (Oakland Athletics) faced off against National League pitcher Doc Ellis (Pittsburgh Pirates) with two outs and a runner on first base in the bottom of the third inning.
The American League was trailing the National League 3-2. Jackson slammed an Ellis pitch 520 feet that ricocheted off the lights on top of the right field roof of Tiger Stadium.
It has been identified as one of the top five longest homeruns hit in Major League Baseball history!!!
FUN FACT: Every run scored in the 1971 All Star Game was driven in by a homerun. There were six homeruns hit in the 1971 Midsummer Classic, each by a future Hall of Famer: Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew, and Roberto Clemente.
1) 1934 New York (Polo Grounds) : Hubbell's Groove
Carl Hubbell (New York Giants) was the starting pitcher for the National League. He got off to a real bad start, issuing walks to the first two American League batters. Then, Hubbell settled down and proceeded to strike out the next five American League hitters in succession. Even more remarkable about this feat, all five hitters were future Hall of Famers: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin.
FUN FACT: Fernando Valenzuela (Los Angeles Dodgers) repeated this feat for the National League in the 1986 All Star Game striking out five consecutive American League hitters: Don Mattingly, Cal Ripken Jr., Jesse Barfield, Lou Whitaker, and Teddy Higuera. However, unlike Hubbell's feat in 1934 when all five hitters he struck out were future Hall of Famers, only Ripken has entered the Hall of Fame.