The MLB All-Star Game is an exhibition baseball game that takes place each year. Also known as the “Midsummer Classic”, the game features stars from both the American and National League, playing against each other at the symbolic halfway point of the long, MLB season. For players, it is a nice opportunity to be recognized for their accomplishments on the field. They also get to play alongside athletes they normally would compete against. And for fans, it is a great chance to see the game’s best players on the field all at once.
In recognition of this time-honored tradition, we’ve decided to look back at some of the most memorable MLB All-Star games in history. Which one was your favorite? Did we get the list right? Make sure to let us know in the comment section below!
The 10 Most Memorable MLB All-Star Games
1. 1933: Babe Ruth Hits First Homer
Intended to be a one-time event to boost morale during the Great Depression, the very first MLB All-Star Game was held at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1933. The game was important in that it began what would become a longstanding tradition. It also featured the very first home run in All-Star Game history, coming in the bottom of the third inning from none other than the Sultan of Swat himself, Babe Ruth.
2. 1941: Williams Hits Game-Winning Home Run
The 1941 MLB All-Star Game at Briggs Stadium in Detroit was memorable for how it ended. The National League was leading 5-4 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, when Ted Williams hit a walk-off three-run homer to give the American League the win. This was the year that Williams finished the season batting .406. The game also featured Joe DiMaggio, who was in the midst of his 56-game hitting streak (and yes, he did get a hit in the All-Star Game too).
3. 1949: Breaking the All-Star Game Color Barrier
Jackie Robinson famously broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947, but it wasn’t until 1949 that the first All-Star Game with African-American players in the line-up took place. That year, Robinson started for the National League at second base. His teammates, catcher Roy Campanella and pitcher Don Newcombe, were also on the team. On the AL side, Cleveland outfielder Larry Doby also played, helping usher in a more inclusive era of baseball.
4. 1967: Pitching Dominates
The 1967 MLB All-Star Game in Anaheim, California, was memorable for a few reasons. First, there was the length–the game went for a record 15 innings. The 1-1 tie was broken by Tony Perez of the Reds in the top of the 15th. The game was also noted for its pitching–the two teams’ pitching staffs combined for a then-record 30 strikeouts. And lastly, one year after becoming the first African-American umpire in MLB history, Emmett Ashford became the first African-American umpire to work an All-Star Game in 1967.
5. 1970: Fosse and Rose Collide
The first MLB All-Star Game ever played at night, Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati had only been open two weeks when the game took place. This All-Star Game is memorable for a different reason, however. In the bottom of the 12th with the game tied 4-4, Pete Rose was heading home for the winning run, but the ball was relayed to catcher Ray Fosse in time to tag him out. But the man nicknamed ‘Charlie Hustle’ had other ideas. He crashed into Fosse so hard that he dropped the ball. Rose was fine, scoring the winning run. But Fosse suffered a fractured shoulder. The play would polarize fans, some finding it dirty, while others admiring the competitive spirit of it.
6. 1971: Jackson’s 520 Foot Bomb
The 1971 All-Star Game in Detroit was memorable for the star-studded displays of power. All ten runs scored in the game came off home runs. Future Hall of Famers, like Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Roberto Clemente, Frank Robinson, and Harmon Killebrew would all hit homers in the game. But it was the third-inning shot from Reggie Jackson, which traveled an estimated distance of 520 feet, that is still talked about by fans today.
7. 1983: Lynn’s Grand Slam
Marking the 50th anniversary of the inaugural All-Star Game, the 1983 version came back to where it all started–Comiskey Park in Chicago. But it wasn’t the important anniversary that made this game stand out. Fans remember it today as the first (and thus far only) time a grand slam has been hit in an All-Star Game. The Angels’ Fred Lynn accomplished the feat. And he was also the game’s MVP.
8. 1994: Gwynn Scores Winning Run
Held at the Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, the 1994 game had one of the best finishes in All-Star history. For six years, the American League had dominated the All-Star Game, and it looked like they would do the same in 1994. But down 7-5 in the bottom of the 9th inning, pinch-hitter Fred McGriff hit a two-run shot off veteran closer Lee Smith to tie the game. The next inning, Moisés Alou hit a double that allowed Tony Gwynn to score all the way from first base, just sliding under a tag from Ivan Rodriguez to give the National League a much needed win.
9. 1999: The All-Century Dream Team
The 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park in Boston was memorable in that it featured nominees for the All-Century Team. All living members of the team were in attendance, including players like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. The star of the event, however, was former Red Sox great Ted Williams. He was honored before the game and threw out the first pitch. Pedro Martinez, who struck out the first four batters of the National League, was the game’s MVP.
10. 2008: The Longest All-Star Game
While it tied the 1967 All-Star Game for most innings (15), the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium takes the cake as the longest All-Star Game ever played. Taking 4 hours and 50 minutes to complete, the game didn’t end until 1:38 a.m. the following morning. It was the last All-Star Game played at the old Yankee Stadium, and the team invited every living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to the game.
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