Ranking the 10 Greatest MLB All-Star Games of All Time

John Altamura@@JohnAltamuraBRContributor IIJuly 9, 2013

Ranking the 10 Greatest MLB All-Star Games of All Time

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    The 2013 MLB All-Star Game will take place on July 16 at Citi Field in New York. The 84th annual Midsummer Classic promises to showcase some of the best players in the majors.

    As the game approaches, let's look back at the past eight decades of play and see which games could be considered the best.

    Let the debate begin!

Ranking Criteria

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    An All-Star game on this list can earn a total of 30 points and is broken down into three categories rated on a scale of 1-10. The categories are historical significance, game quality and remembrance factor.

    1. Historical Significance: Did anything historically significant take place? (i.e. Ted Williams' walk-off homer in 1941.)

    2. Game Quality: How good was the game? (i.e was it competitive? High-scoring? A snoozer?)

    3. Remembrance Factor: Do you remember it? Or have you heard about it before?

All-Star Games That Missed the Cut

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    Here are some games that were considered but missed the cut.

    2003 All-Star Game: Hank Blalock's two-run home run off Eric Gagne in the bottom of the eighth inning caps an AL 7-6 comeback win.

    1992 All-Star Game: Ken Griffey Jr. goes deep and leads the AL to a 13-6 victory over the NL at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego.

    1979 All-Star Game: Lee Mazilli homered and drew a game-winning walk in the ninth inning to lead the NL to a 7-6 victory over the AL at the Kingdome in Seattle.

10. 2008 All-Star Game: 15-Inning Marathon Closes out Old Yankee Stadium

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    Historical Significance: 9

    Game Quality: 3

    Remembrance Factor: 3

    Total: 15/30 points

    The 2008 All-Star Game was a significant game because it took place during the final year of the old Yankee Stadium. It was also the longest All-Star game in duration (four hours, 50 minutes) and tied for most innings played (15, tied 1967 All-Star game).

    The game ended when Michael Young hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 15th inning to secure the 4-3 win.

    The MVP of the game was J.D. Drew, who hit a game-tying homer off Edinson Volquez in the bottom of the seventh inning.

    There may have been better All-Star games in the history of the sport, but this offered a fitting conclusion the old Yankee Stadium.

9. 1967 All-Star Game: Perez's Home Run Caps 15-Inning Marathon

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    Historical Significance: 9

    Game Quality: 3

    Remembrance Factor: 3

    Total: 15/30 points

    The 1967 All-Star Game featured the heroics of future Reds Hall of Famer Tony Perez. With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the 15th inning, Perez belted a Catfish Hunter pitch over the wall to give the NL a 2-1 edge and eventual victory.

    Three home runs (Perez, Dick Allen and Brooks Robinson) accounted for all runs scored in the game. There were also 30 combined strikeouts in the game—six by Ferguson Jenkins.

    The 1967 classic highlighted an era of power/strikeout pitchers. Jenkins, Hunter, Tom Seaver and Bob Gibson all played prominent roles in the game.

8. 1946 All-Star Game: Williams' 4-for-4 Game Leads AL to Most Lopsided Win Ever

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    Historical Significance: 8

    Game Quality: 3

    Remembrance Factor: 6

    Total: 17/30 points

    The 1946 All-Star Game cemented Ted Williams as one of the greatest players in the game. His 4-for-4, two home run, five RBI effort helped lead the AL to a 12-0 victory. Williams' second homer of the game proved to be most memorable; he hit Rip Sewell's gimmick "eephus" pitch into Fenway's right field bullpen.

    The game also featured a dominating three-hit pitching performance by a trio of AL stars-- Bob Feller, Hal Newhouser and Jack Kramer.

    The game holds historical significance as it was the first All-Star Game to be played after World War II. It also signaled the return of stars such as Feller and Williams from wartime service.

    The 1946 All-Star Game was not pretty to watch if you were an NL fan, but it will go down as one of the most exciting games.

7. 1989 All-Star Game: Bo Knows How to Hit Home Runs

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    Historical Significance: 5

    Game Quality: 7

    Remembrance Factor: 6

    Total: 18/30 points

    The 1989 All-Star Game featured two-sport superstar Bo Jackson, as well as a 42-year-old Nolan Ryan in the twilight of his career.

    Jackson would lead off the bottom of the first inning in spectacular fashion with a home run to deep center field off Rick Reuschel of the San Francisco Giants. The shot by Jackson would be followed up by a home run by Wade Boggs as the AL erased an early 2-0 deficit.

    The game spotlight would then pass to the 42-year-old Ryan, whose two shutout innings would help lead the AL to a 5-3 victory. Ryan would secure the victory in what would be his final All-Star appearance.

    Jackson would be named MVP and would continue his meteroic rise as a two-sport star and cultural icon. His success would be short-lived, unfortunately, as he suffered a devastating hip injury during a 1990 NFL playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

    The 1989 All-Star game is remembered today for the brilliance of Jackson and Ryan. The game itself was one of the better and more competitive games during the modern baseball era.

6. 1933 All-Star Game: Ruth's 2-Run Homer Wins Inaugural Game for AL

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    Historical Significance: 10

    Game Quality: 7

    Remembrance Factor: 3

    Total: 20/30 points

    The first All-Star Game took place at the old Comiskey Park in Chicago. The idea of putting together a roster of All-Stars was suggested by Arch Ward, a sports editor with the Chicago Tribune.

    The highlight of the game was a Babe Ruth two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning off Bill Hallahan. The Ruth home run would prove to be the difference. The American League won the inaugural game 4-2.

    This game holds significance for several reasons. Besides being the first-ever All-Star game, it marked the arrival of baseball as the true national pastime. Ruth's two-run deciding homer further cemented his legacy as a baseball icon and helped propel the sport into the golden age.

    The first All-Star game deserves a spot in the top 10 based on its historical significance alone. It's hard, however, to place this game any higher than this on the list because the game took place 80 years ago and very few, if any people are still around to talk about it.

5. 1971 All-Star Game: Jackson's 520-Foot Bomb Hits Light Tower at Tiger Stadium

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    Historical Significance: 5

    Game Quality: 6

    Remembrance Factor: 10

    Total: 21/30 points

    The 1971 All-Star Game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit featured a home run deluge of biblical proportions.

    Future Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Harmon Killebrew, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Reggie Jackson all homered for their respective leagues. The most memorable blast was hit by Jackson, whose third-inning, two-run blast of the right field light tower was estimated to have traveled 520 feet.

    The AL would wind up winning the slugfest 6-4, but the Jackson blast would go down as one of the most memorable moments in the history of the All-Star Game.

4. 1955 All-Star Game: Stan the Man Seals the Comeback with 12th-Inning Homer

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    Historical Significance: 4

    Game Quality: 9

    Remembrance Factor: 10

    Total: 23/30 points

    The 1955 All-Star Game in Milwaukee showcased one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the series. The NL overcame a 5-0 seventh-inning deficit to win the game. The 6-5 comeback victory by the NL was capped by a dramatic 12th-inning walk-off homer by St. Louis Cardinals great Stan Musial.

    This would be one of the most memorable performances for Musial, who appeared in 24 All-Star Games from 1943 to 1963. The Musial home run was also voted as "top moment" by fan voting at MLB.com in 2011.

    The game itself holds historical significance for greatest comeback in the series as well as the All-Star debuts of Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks and former home run king Hank Aaron.

3. 1949 All-Star Game: African-Americans Play in Game for the 1st Time

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    Historical Significance: 10

    Game Quality: 4

    Remembrance Factor: 10

    Total: 24/30 points

    The 1949 All-Star Game featured the first African-Americans to play and be selected to the starting lineup. Jackie Robinson would start at second base for the NL, and Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe and Larry Doby would be used as replacements later in the game.

    The game itself was not awfully competitive; the AL won the game 11-7. There were six errors (five by the NL). Joe and Dom DiMaggio contributed to the AL scoring by driving in a combined four runs. The AL had dominated the All-Star Game to that point, winning 12 out of 16 contests.

    But the game will always be remembered for the integration of African-Americans into the All-Star Game for the first time.

2. 1970 All-Star Game: Charlie Hustle Knocks Over Fosse to Secure Win

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    Historical Significance: 5

    Game Quality: 9

    Remembrance Factor: 10

    Total: 24/30 points

    One of the most memorable and controversial plays in the history of the All-Star Game took place in the bottom of the 12th inning of the 1970 classic.

    The game up until the 12th inning proved to be an exciting contest. The NL overcame a three-run ninth-inning deficit to force extra frames.

    The game would become much more memorable and historic in the bottom of the 12th inning when Cincinnati Reds outfielder Pete Rose plowed through Cleveland Indians catcher Ray Fosse to secure the 5-4 NL win.

    The aftermath of the collision left both men injured. Fosse suffered a fractured and separated shoulder. Fosse would go on to play for four other MLB teams during his career but never seemed to regain his pre-injury form.

    The image of Rose plowing through Fosse is one of the most memorable images in MLB history. The 1970 All-Star Game would have made this list without the collision, but the incident is what makes this game rise to the top.

1. 1941 All-Star Game: The ‘Splendid Splinter’ Ends Game in Dramatic Fashion

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    Historical Significance: 8

    Game Quality: 8

    Remembrance Factor: 9

    Total: 25/30 points

    The 1941 All-Star Game at what would become Tiger Stadium in Detroit showcased two of the greatest players in MLB history—Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. It also would go down as the greatest All-Star game in history.

    Williams' dramatic walk-off two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth capped off a four-run rally, giving the American League the 7-5 win. DiMaggio would also add a hit in the game.

    The dramatic ending provided by the Splendid Splinter was one of the key highlights from what would become a magical season for both future Hall of Famers. Williams would go on to hit .406 and DiMaggio would hit safely in 56 games.

    The 1941 All-Star Game could be considered the greatest for a variety of reasons.

    It holds the historical significance as the first game to end in a walk-off homer. It was also a great back-and-forth game that featured three strong innings by future Hall of Famer Bob Feller and two home runs by Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Arky Vaughan. And the heroics of Williams still resonate over 70 years after the game was played.