Tag Archives: all-star game

A STORY FROM JAN 30TH IN BASEBALL HISTORY: ALL-STAR GAME FAN-VOTE “A JOKE”

TODAY’S STORY TAKES US BACK TO NEW YORK CITY IN 1958. #Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick saw a lot of red at the 1957 all-star game and he didn’t like it. He called the fan-vote for starting position players “a joke.” Starting with the 1958 midsummer classic, starting lineups would be determined by a vote of players, coaches and managers.

Frick must have thought, ‘Hold on. No Mays, no Musial! No way.' Frick replaced Bell and Crowe with the two future hall of famers.

The problem in 1957 was Cincinnati fans stuffed the ballot boxes enough that almost the entire NL all-star team was Redlegs (The Cincinnati Reds was called the Redlegs in the 1950’s and 60’s because of paranoia during the red scare of communism. Anything “red” was considered verboten).

As it turned out, 5 Cincinnati Redlegs were in the starting lineup: Frank Robinson, Don Hoak, Roy McMillan, Ed Bailey and Johnny Temple, except for Robinson, not exactly household names. Gus Bell and George Crowe also appeared to have enough fan support to make the starting lineup.

Frick must have thought, ‘Hold on. No Mays, no Musial! No way.’ Frick replaced Bell and Crowe with the two future hall of famers.

According to MLB.com, players, coaches and managers chose the starters for the all-star team through 1969. The starting lineups, except for starting pitchers, went back to a fan-vote in 1970.

Contributing Sources:
MLB.com all-star game roster rules
Fred DeLuca, International News Service (INS), January 31, 1958
Baseball-almanac
MLB all-star game Wikipedia

A STORY FROM JAN 16TH IN BASEBALL HISTORY – TWEAKING THE ALL-STAR GAME

We go back to 2003 for our story. Major League Baseball owners met Scottsdale, Arizona on this date in 2003 to rectify a public relations embarrassment. The 2002 all-star game did not end well.

Commissioner Bud Selig stopped a tied game in the 11th inning because both teams ran out of pitchers. Fans felt cheated. The game was played in Milwaukee, Selig’s home town.
 
The owners decided to tweak the summer classic to make it more than an exhibition. Starting in 2003 the league that wins the all-star game will have home-field-advantage in the World Series. Fifteen of the previous 17 World Series champions had home-field advantage. The two leagues had been alternating home-field-advantage since the World Series began in 1903.
 
Teams will be urged to save pitchers and other position players for the eventuality of the game going into extra innings.
 
The January 16, 2003 rule change lasted about a dozen years. As of December 2016, the owners changed the home-field-advantage rule again. Starting with the 2017 post-season, home-field-advantage for the World Series goes to the team with the best regular season record.

Contributing sources:
MLB All-Star game
SBNation home-field-advantage
World Series recaps

The First Big Crowd

July 20, 1858 | LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK – It’s not significant by today’s standards, but it was monumental 150 years ago. According to Koppett’s Concise History of Major League Baseball, the first big crowd to watch a baseball game, “no fewer than 1,500″ paying spectators,” came out to a Race Course on Long Island on July 20, 1858 to watch an all-star game.

The best players of New York City took on the best Brooklyn had to offer. Back then they were two separate cities. New York won 22-18, and promoters saw dollar signs.  The main reason admission was charged was to defray the cost of converting a field into a baseball diamond – there weren’t too many around back then. The gate receipts added up to over $700 dollars – a big chunk of change before the Civil War.

The event showed that if you put teams together with good players, fans will pay money to watch, and there will be more money to buy better players. The first big crowd had a ripple effect. As Leonard Koppett wrote,

“…those who would travel far and then pay 50 cents to watch a game would undoubtedly pay a penny or two to read about one.”

Newspapers soon found another way to attract readers; baseball scores, eventually box scores. And there were new ones every day.

Contributing Source:
Koppett’s Concise History of Major League Baseball, 2004, by Leonard Koppett, Carrol & Graf Publishers, New York 

 

July 9 – Hero’s Welcome

1946 | BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – World War II is over. The all-star game is back – after a one-year hiatus – so is Ted Williams.

It was fitting that the mid-summer classic was played in Boston on this date in 1946. Seven Red Sox were on the American League squad, and they did not disappoint the home town crowd, especially Williams.

Like many players, “Teddy Ball-game,” as he was known, was in his first full season back after serving in World War II as a Marine fighter pilot.

Williams went 4 for 4 with two home runs and 5 RBI on this day. The most memorable moment was Williams clobbering Rip Sewell’s eephus pitch into the right-center field bullpen.

The American League crushed the National League on that day 12-0.

CONTRIBUTING SOURCES:
1946 All-star game box score
History of the All-star game