Dan's Dugout: Craziest Games in All-Star History • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Craziest Games in All-Star History

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When the best players in both leagues face off in the annual All-Star Game, strange things can happen – and often do.

The 2018 All-Star Game will be played in Washington on July 17

All-Star history is filled with extra-inning affairs, walkoff homers, and weather-related incidents. In fact, the Midsummer Classic has featured everything except a visit from Charlie Finley’s mule.

Here’s a baker’s dozen of the wildest All-Star Games ever played:

(1) Game 9, July 8, 1941, Briggs Stadium, Detroit – Claude Passeau might not be remembered except for this Ralph Branca-like moment in time. He was on the mound when Ted Williams belted a two-out, three-run homer that turned the NL’s 5-3 lead into a 7-5 defeat. With his timely hit, Williams upstaged Arky Vaughn, who became the first man to homer twice in All-Star play.

Ted Williams won the 1941 All-Star Game with a three-run homer in the ninth inning.
Credit: Topps

(2) Game 35, July 10, 1964, Shea Stadium, New York – Playing in a ballpark that opened three months earlier, the National League trailed, 4-3, when it came to bat in the bottom of the ninth against Dick (the Monster) Radatz, flame-throwing relief ace of the Boston Red Sox. After the NL scored one run, Johnny Callison came to bat with two men on and two men out. clubbed a home run that won the game for the home-standing NL, 7-4, and tie the annual series at 17 wins by each league.

(3) Game 69, Coors Field, Denver, July 7, 1998 – The Mile High City lived up to its reputation when the leagues produced the All-Star score in baseball history. The Americans won, 13-8, in a game that included 31 hits, three home runs, and three errors. Future Hall of Famers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, teammates with the Braves, held the AL scoreless over the first three frames before the Junior Circuit teed off against six relievers. Roberto Alomar won MVP honors just one year after brother Sandy did the same.

All-Star Game MVP honors helped Roberto Alomar’s successful bid for the Hall of Fame

(4) Game 79, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY, July 15, 2008 – With a 4-3 win that went 15 innings, the AL extended its victory string to an even dozen. It also used the same number of pitchers, a record for a single All-Star Game. The longest game by time (4:50), it tied for the longest game by innings (also 15 in 1967). The leagues combined to use a record 63 players, three more than in 2002.

(5) Game 74, U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, July 15, 2003 – The Nationals led, 5-1, but lost, 7-6, when late American League power reversed the outcome. In his first All-Star at-bat, pinch-hitter Hank Blalock hit the decisive home run against eventual Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne, who got his only blown save of the season that night. Even worse for the Senior Circuit was the sudden decision to award World Series home-field advantage to the league that wins the All-Star Game. That practice has since been scrapped.

(6) Game 78, July 10. 2007, AT&T Park, San Francisco,  – The difference in this 5-4 AL victory, the 11th in a row by the Americans, was an inside-the-park home run with a man on base in the eighth inning. That shot, by Japanese import Ichiro Suzuki, remains the only All-Star home run that did not go over the fence.

(7) Game 75, July 9, 2002, Miller Park, Milwaukee – In a huge embarrassment to Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who had been the owner of the Brewers, the All-Star Game in brand-new Miller Park was halted after 11 innings because neither league had any pitchers left. The Nationals had frittered away an early 4-0 lead, especially when its bullpen collapsed in the AL’s four-run seventh. Arizona’s Byung-Hyun Kim, a disaster in the previous World Series, was the chief culprit. Both teams used all 30 of their players, with 19 pitchers working, and did not want to proceed with position players on the mound. Officially, this fiasco was a 7-7 tie.

Bud Selig was a lightning rod for controversy during his 22-year tenure as baseball’s czar

(8) Game 2, July 10, 1934, Polo Grounds, New York – In the first and second innings, star southpaw Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants used his screwball to fan five future Hall of Famers in order: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin. It happened in the first two innings of a game the American League won, 9-7.

(9) Game 3, July 8, 1935, Cleveland Municipal Stadium – Lefty Gomez, who also started the first two All-Star Games, went a record six innings (that’s no typo) of a 4-1 AL triumph. These days, pitchers work only an inning or two and are not allowed to go more than three.

(10) Game 39, July 9, 1968, The Astrodome, Houston – The only 1-0 game in All-Star history was also the first to be played indoors and the first with no earned runs yielded by a pitcher. After the Nationals scratched out an unearned run in the first, thanks in part to the speed of Willie Mays, neither team scored again.

(11) Game 38, July 11, 1967, Anaheim Stadium — This prolonged, 15-inning pitchers’ duel ended when Tony Perez lined a solo home run against Catfish Hunter, who had pitched four scoreless innings in relief. Dick Allen and Brooks Robinson also homered with the bases empty, accounting for the 2-1 score that favored the National League.

Pete Rose hopes to get back in the game

(12) — Game 41, Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati — Trailing 4-1 entering the ninth inning, the NL rallied for three runs. That set the stage for a 12th-inning rally that started with two outs and nobody on base. Pete Rose, Bill Grabarkewitz, and Jim Hickman then cracked consecutive singles that plated the winning run — and probably ruined the career of Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse when Rose bowled him over at home plate.

(13) Game 5, July 3, 1937, Griffith Stadium, Washington – Dizzy Dean was at the top of his game when an Earl Averill line drive smashed into his left foot in the third inning. He suffered a broken toe and never fully recovered. Adding insult to injury, he was the losing pitcher in an 8-3 NL defeat.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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