Memorable MLB All-Star Game Moments
This week brings us the 87th edition of the MLB All-Star game, maybe the most relevant, and entertaining of all the All-Star games, if such a thing can be said about an All-Star game. I think what makes the MLB All-Star game have more memorable moments than others, is because the players generally play shorter amounts than the other games, and because baseball is not a high stress sport, aside from pitching, the players can afford to go all out when needed. And when that happens, we get plays that are remembered throughout history. These are arranged in chronological order.
1941 – Williams Walk-Off
Ted Williams came into the Mid-Summer classic batting a blistering .405, in a year where he would finish at .406. But with the American League down a run, and two men on base, one of whom was heated rival Joe DiMaggio, Williams connected and hit a 3-run walk-off home run to give the American League the victory. Most notable in this moment, is that Williams was playing in the 9th inning, and didn’t come out after 3 innings like today’s stars do.
1970 – Rose Runs Fosse
A play that shows how much the All-Star game used to matter, and one of the most memorable for all the wrong reasons. In the bottom of the 12th inning of the 1970 game, Rose rounded 3rd with a chance to score the winning run, and Ray Fosse stood blocking the plate. Rose came barreling in, and destroyed Fosse, and ended up scoring the winning run. Fosse came away with a separated shoulder, and effectively ended his career on the play. Not surprisingly, Rose was unapologetic.
1972 – Reggie Hits the Roof
In the bottom of the 3rd, Reggie Jackson, then with Oakland stepped up and hit one of the biggest home-runs in All-Star history, literally. Jackson connected on a ball that traveled over 520 feet, clearing the upper deck in right field at Tiger Stadium before crashing into a light tower, and falling back down to the playing field.
1989 – Bo Knows Baseball
Bo Jackson was a legendary two-sport start whose career was cut short due to a hip injury suffered on the football field. Despite being a superior athlete, Bo only made one appearance in the MLB All-Star Game, during the height of his stardom in 1989. He made that appearance memorable by crushing a lead-off home-run and later stealing a base.
1993 – Kruk Needs New Shorts
Randy Johnson was hell on left-handed hitters in his prime, and John Kruk, never one to be shy, made it known he was not excited to face the Big Unit during the All-Star game. On the first pitch of their encounter, Johnson fired one 8 feet over the head of Kruk, who looked like he had just seen a ghost after the pitch blazed by. From there Kruk may as well have been swinging from the bench, because he went down flailing at the next three pitches, never coming close to making contact.
1999 – Ted Williams Returns
Ted Williams famously returned to the place that made him famous and became the main attraction. Driven onto the field in a golf cart, he was surrounded on the mound by every player on both teams, just hoping for a chance to meet the legend. Later helped to the mound by Mark McGwire and Tony Gwynn, he threw out the first pitch. Famous for not tipping his cap to the Boston crowd after his final MLB at-bat, Williams obliged, creating an unforgettable moment, that left almost everyone watching with tears in their eyes.
2001 – Cal Ripken’s Home Run
In the All-Star game for the 19th time at age 40, Ripken, most famous during his career as a shortstop, was elected as a third baseman to start the game. Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez was elected to start at short, however, Rodriguez insisted that Ripken play shortstop for the first inning. Cal Ripken stepped up to the plate in the 3rd inning to a standing ovation, and delivered, hitting the first pitch he saw into the stands in left, becoming the oldest player to hit a home run in the All-Star game, guiding the AL to a victory, and taking home the game’s MVP in the process.
2002 – Bud’s Tie Game
Just one year after Cal Ripken shined at the Al-Star Game, Bud Selig experienced one of his lowest points as MLB Commissioner. This game is memorable for all of the wrong reasons, and is the reason that Playoff home-field advantage is now decided at the All-Star Game. The game was famously declared a tie by Bud Selig after both teams ran out of pitchers in the 11th inning. Managing rosters at the ASG has completely changed as a result of this infamous failure.