MLB All-Star Game 2011: 15 Greatest Moments in All-Star Game History

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2011

MLB All-Star Game 2011: 15 Greatest Moments in All-Star Game History

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    The 2011 MLB All-Star Game is Tuesday, July 12th as baseball fans everywhere look forward to yet another memorable Midsummer Classic.

    Through the years, it has been proven time and again that when you get the best players in the game together, more times than not the fans are in store for a phenomenal game.

    Here are the 15 greatest moments in All-Star game history, as some of baseball's best have shined on the biggest stage to give us some of the most memorable moments in baseball history.

Bo Jackson: Athletic Ability on Full Display in 1989

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    Jackson was voted to start the 1989 All-Star Game in what would be the only All-Star nomination of his career. However, he made the most of it, as he pulled out all the stops in displaying what a phenomenal athlete he was.

    In the first inning, he made a fantastic catch on a line drive to left-center field to save two runs, and then he led off for the American League in the bottom of the first and hit a mammoth home run to dead center off Rick Reuschel.

    He then beat out a routine double play in the second inning to tally the game-winning RBI and followed that with a steal of second base, as he became just one of two players to hit a home run and steal a base in the same All-Star game, joining Willie Mays.

Michael Young: Walk-Off Sacrifice Fly in 15th Inning in 2008

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    The 2008 All-Star Game was already a special one, as it was held in Yankee Stadium in what would be the final season that the Yankees played in the "House That Ruth Built" before moving into their new stadium in 2009. With a bevy of Yankees greats on hand, the game itself seemed to take a back seat early on.

    However, when the teams took a 3-3 tie into the 15th inning, it was clear that this was no ordinary All-Star game. Following the embarrassing All-Star game tie in 2002, both teams were down to their final pitcher and staring down another potential tie.

    However, when the American League loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 15th, Michael Young came through with a deep fly ball to right field, as Justin Morneau tagged up and scored just ahead of Corey Hart's throw.

Fred Lynn: Grand Slam in 1983

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    Making his last of nine straight All-Star appearances and his third as a member of the Angels, Lynn got the starting nod in center field for the American League in 1983.

    With the AL leading 2-1 heading into the bottom of the third, Lynn stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and smashed the first and only grand slam in All-Star game history, as the AL exploded for seven runs in the inning.

    The AL eventually piled on more runs and came away with a 13-3 win, and Lynn took home MVP honors for his grand slam.

Torii Hunter: Robs Barry Bonds Home Run in 2002

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    While the 2002 All-Star Game ended in one of the most controversial finishes in baseball history, with the contest being called in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings, it started out with one of the best defensive plays ever in the Midsummer Classic.

    In the first inning, Barry Bonds blasted a drive to right-center field, where Torii Hunter made a phenomenal catch to rob Bonds of a home runโ€”what would have been a game-changing blast and helped avoid a tie.

    While that would have made for a better outcome and perhaps prevented Bud Selig from making the All-Star game "matter" when it comes to World Series home-field advantage, had Bonds cleared the fence, it would have been just another All-Star game home run instead of one of the game's most memorable defensive moments.

Babe Ruth: First All-Star Game HR in 1933

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    In 1933, the city of Chicago hosted the World's Fair, and local sports columnist Arch Ward suggested that there was no better place and time to display the game's top talent in the first ever MLB All-Star game.

    Ward's brainchild was to only be a one-time event, but it was hugely successful and became a yearly tradition, thanks in part to one Babe Ruth.

    At 38 years old, just two years from retirement, Babe Ruth was still the game's biggest draw and the man everyone wanted to see. He did not disappoint.

    In the third inning, Ruth did what everyone in the stadium wanted him to do, taking a Bill Hallahan offering deep for a two-run home run and giving the AL a 3-2 lead, as it would go on to win 4-2.

Moises Alou: Walk-Off Double in 1994

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    The 1994 All-Star Game was perhaps the final bright spot in a 1994 season that would be marred by the labor strike, as there was no World Series that season. Nonetheless, it was a fantastic All-Star game, especially if you were a National League fan.

    With the American League leading 7-5, Orioles closer Lee Smith took the mound in the bottom of the ninth, and after walking Marquis Grissom to lead off the inning, he got a fielder's choice before pinch hitter Fred McGriff launched a game-tying two-run home run.

    After the AL was held scoreless in the top of the 10th, the NL wasted no time in the bottom of the inning against the White Sox' Jason Bere, who was on in relief. Tony Gwynn led off with a single, and Moises Alou followed that with a double to left center that scored Gwynn for the walk-off win.

Pete Rose: Collision with Ray Fosse in 1970

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    Call it great hustle, call it a dirty play, call it what you wantโ€”it is one of the top moments in All-Star game history.

    With the game knotted at 4-4 in the bottom of the 12th and Rose standing on second base, Jim Hickman singled up the middle, and Rose decided to push it.

    Center fielder Amos Otis made a great throw to catcher Ray Fosse, who blocked the plate well, as Rose looked to be dead in the water. However, a violent collision ensued, and Rose jarred the ball loose and gave the NL the walk-off win.

    Fosse had a dislocated shoulder and was never the same player again. As unfortunate as that was, the collision is still one of the images that will forever be remembered about the All-Star game.

Cal Ripken Jr.: MVP in Final All-Star Game in 2001

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    Ripken was putting the finishing touches on a Hall of Fame career when he was elected to the All-Star game in 2001, the last season of his storied career and his 19th consecutive All-Star appearance.

    Despite a less than impressive line of .240 BA, 4 HR, 28 RBI in the first half, Ripken was voted in as the AL's starting third baseman.

    He wouldn't start the game at third, however, as Alex Rodriguez switched positions with him to start the game, allowing Ripken to play one last All-Star game at his original shortstop position.

    Had it ended there, this would still have been one of the All-Star game's most memorable moments.

    Ripken was far from done, though.

    Leading off the third inning, with the game still scoreless, Ripken hit the first pitch he saw over the left field wall, making him the oldest player ever to hit a home run in the All-Star game. The solo blast earned him MVP honors, as the AL prevailed 4-1, and Ripken had one last shining moment on the national stage.

Reggie Jackson: Home Run Off the Light Tower in 1971

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    Every year, fans marvel at the tremendous power of sluggers as they put on a show in the Home Run Derby. However, there may be no more majestic All-Star home run than the towering shot hit by Reggie Jackson in 1971.

    Jackson, then a member of the Oakland Athletics, stepped up to the plate in the third inning as a pinch hitter.

    Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis tried to blow a high fastball by Jackson and failed. Jackson absolutely crushed the ball, with modest estimates placing the shot at 520 feet.

    Many believe it would have traveled in excess of 540 feet had it not slammed off a light tower on the roof of Tiger Stadium that stood some 100 feet above field level and 380 feet from home plate.

Johnny Callison: Walk-Off Home Run in 1964

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    The American League took a 4-3 lead into the ninth inning of the 1964 All-Star Game, and it looked as though they were on their way to picking up just their second win in the last seven Midsummer Classics.

    However, after Willie Mays drew a walk and then stole second base, he scored on an Orlando Cepeda single, and it seemed as though the game may be headed to extra innings.

    Johnny Callison saw to it that that did not happen, though, as he stepped to the plate with two on and two out and drilled a walk-off home run to right field, the last walk-off home run to be hit in an All-Star game.

Ted Williams: Walk-Off Home Run in 1941

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    The 1941 season was a great one for the baseball record books, with Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio fighting it out for the AL MVP.

    Williams entered the break hitting .405 and would finish the season at .406, marking the last time anyone topped the .400 mark. DiMaggio, not to be outdone, entered the break with a 48-game hitting streak on his way to his record 56 straight games.

    With the two hitting No. 3 and 4 in the AL lineup, the AL still trailed 5-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

    After DiMaggio reached on a fielder's choice, Williams stepped into the box with two outs and stole the show, hitting a three-run walk-off home run to give the AL the victory.

    "Halfway down to first, seeing the ball going out, I stopped running and started leaping," Williams said. โ€œI was so happy I laughed out loud.โ€œ

Stan Musial: Walk-Off Home Run in 1955

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    With the American League leading by a 5-0 margin after six innings, the National League slowly mounted a comeback.

    A pair of runs in the seventh were followed by three more in the eighth, setting up just the second extra innings All-Star game.

    After the 10th and 11th innings went by without scoring, Musial led off the bottom of the 12th and promptly launched the game-winning walk-off home run, giving the NL a 6-5 comeback win.

Pedro Martinez: Five K's in Two Innings in 1999

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    In 1999, Pedro Martinez got the start for the AL, and he struck out the side in the first inning, setting down Barry Larkin, Larry Walker and Sammy Sosa.

    After fanning Mark McGwire to start the second, he was one punchout away from tying Carl Hubbell's All-Star game record.

    Matt Williams broke up the streak, reaching on an error, but Martinez was quickly out of the inning, striking out Jeff Bagwell and catching the stealing Williams to end the second.

    The two dominant innings were enough to secure the MVP for Pedro in front of the hometown fans, as he showed why he was so impressive during the regular season.

Ted Williams: Two HR, Five RBI in 1946

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    In his first season back after serving three years in the military, Ted Williams didn't miss a beat, and he showed everyone just how good he was during the All-Star game.

    Williams finished the game 4-for-4 with two HRs, five RBI and four runs scored, as he set numerous records during the game, and the AL ran away with a 14-3 win.

    However, the game is most remembered for the showdown between Williams and Rip Sewell in the eighth inning.

    Sewell possessed the game's best eephus ball, a high, arcing pitch that drops lazily into the strike zone and is rarely hit hard.

    Williams asked Sewell before the game if he would throw that pitch in a game like this, and Sewell promised to throw it to Williams if he faced him.

    Sure enough, the two matched up, with Williams shaking his head "no" as he stepped into the box, and Sewell nodding his head in disagreement.

    After Sewell made Williams look bad on an eephus and then surprised him with a fastball, Williams drove the next eephus he saw into the stands for his second home run of the game.

Carl Hubbell Fans Five Straight Future Hall of Famers in 1934

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    When you have 253 career victories and are in the Hall of Fame, but you are most remembered for your performance in an exhibition game, that speaks volumes to what an impressive performance it was.

    Enter Carl Hubbell.

    In 1934, coming off a season in which he won 23 games and took home NL MVP, Hubbell was the starting pitcher for the NL in the All-Star game.

    Hubbell, who featured a devastating screwball, had the dubious honor of facing an absolutely stacked AL lineup, but he was more than up to the task.

    Starting with the legendary Babe Ruth, Hubbell would strike out five consecutive future Hall of Famers, with Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin following Ruth on the long walk back to the dugout.


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