Since the 2011 MLB All Star Game is scheduled for next week (July 12th) I thought I would toss out All Star trivia.
THE FIRST ALL STAR GAME
The All-Star Game, made its debut on July 6, 1933, at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. It was the idea of Arch Ward, a sports editor for the Chicago Tribune, to coincide with the celebration of the city’s “Century of Progress” Exposition. It was initially intended to be a one-time event. By the 1930′s, baseball had established itself as America’s favorite pastime and the national exposition provided the perfect stage to introduce baseball’s best to the rest of the country. Many Americans were skeptical about its success. For the most part those who lived in the western states had never been to a major league baseball game. However, it was a great success with 49,200 people in attendance.
In the first two years, All-Star teams were selected by the managers and the fans. The players were also excited about the prospect of seeing other players for the first time. Wild Bill Hallahan, the National League (NL) starter was quoted as saying “We wanted to see the Babe,” “Sure, he was old and had a big waistline, but that didn’t make any difference. We were on the same field as Babe Ruth.” Maybe Wild Bill had second thoughts after Babe hits the first home run in All-Star Game history, a two run shot off him in the 3rd inning. Ruth, was 38 and just two years away from retirement, also made a spectacular catch in the eighth inning to rob Cincinnati’s Chick Hafey of a hit. Ruth’s Yankee teammate, Lefty Gomez, started the game for the American League (AL) and became the All-Star Game’s first
winning pitcher in the 4-2 AL victory.
Carl Hubbell gave up a leadoff single to Charlie Gehringer and a walk before setting the All-Star record by striking out five consecutive Hall of Famers; Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin during the 1934 game.
The All-Star Game was played at night for the first time in 1942, at the Polo Grounds.
TWO GAMES A YEAR
From 1959 to1962 Major League Baseball played two All-Star Games each season. As part of an effort to boost the players’ pension fund, the league break from tradition and schedules two All Start Games. The first game was held on July 7 at Forbes Field, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League. The second game was held on August 3 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers also of the NL. The first game resulted in a 5-4 victory for the NL. The AL won the second game by a score of 5-3. The experiment of staging two All-Star Games each year continued through the 1962 season, after which the playing of one annual game resumed.