Throwback Thursday: Baseball’s Midsummer Classic History & Trivia

1937 All-Stars and future HOFers from left to right: Lou Gehrig, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Foxx, and Hank Greenberg. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

July brings Baseball’s All-Star Game. Some fans love it; the fantasy league manager’s dream; a perfect opportunity to see the fans’ favorite ballplayers performing in one stadium. But some fans loathe it. They see the All-StarGame as a distraction from the season, or a silly exhibition game, or an injury risk for their team’s stars.

Regardless of your opinion on Baseball’s Midsummer Classic, it is, indeed, a classic. Read on in today’s Throwback Thursday for a brief history and trivia surrounding the game.

The first All-Star Game went down in 1933 at Comiskey Park in Chicago with 42,900 fans in attendance and a bang from the Babe. The story seems almost too good to be true: Babe Ruth recorded the first-ever All-Star Game home run. After the final out, the game went to the American League, after nine innings with a score of 4-2, and the win recorded to Lefty Gomez.

In 1945, the All-Star Game was scheduled to be played at Fenway Park, in Boston. However, due to travel restrictions surrounding World War II, the game was post-poned to the following year. (As an aside, I dug up a fascinating article from the Los Angeles Times that recounts Times of Crisis and how sporting events were effected.)

The All-Star Game has ended in a tie only twice. In 1961, the Midsummer Classic was held at Fenway Park in Boston, but the game ended prematurely due to rain. The game was recorded a tie, with a measly score of 1-1 on the board after nine (wet) innings of play.

In 2002, at Miller Park in Milwaukee, as the game went on into the 11th inning, the bullpens for both teams were slowly sucked dry. With the game tied at 7 runs apiece, the umps, managers, and Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig reached an agreement to cut off the game in a tie.

Twice the All-Star Game has dragged to the 15th inning: first in 1967 in Anaheim Stadium, and for a second time in 2008 at Yankee Stadium, as many readers might remember (I remember going to bed before it was over). The 2008 game in New York ran for 4 hours and 50 minutes.

1985 was the first year that the Home Run Derby accompanied the All-Star Game, a tradition that has been held since.

And what is a history without a little scandal? In 1957, fans of the Cincinatti Reds stuffed All-Star Game ballot boxes! Read more about it on Red Reporter, where, naturally, the incident is listed as one of their “Greatest Moments in Reds All-Star History!”

 

Do you have a favorite baseball tradition? Is there a particular ghost of baseball past you would like to revisit? Ever wonder why they do what they do, and when they started doing it? If you have a suggestion, question, or submission for Throwback Thursday, contact Elise by tweeting @Elise_Myers.

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