MLB All-Star Game 2013: The haters guide to the All-Star Game, the early years


A capsule guide to some key happenings during the early years of the now-obsolete "midsummer classic."

Game 1 (1933) at Comiskey Park, Chicago: AL 4, NL 2

Yes, Babe Ruth, fat, stiff, and heading rapidly for obsolescence, hit a home run in the first All-Star game. National League manager John J. McGraw, who came out of retirement (alcoholism, prostate cancer, general malaise) to manage the squad, had three pitchers to choose from: Wild Bill Hallahan (Cardinals), Carl Hubbell (Giants), and Lon Warneke (Cubs). Both Warneke and Hubbell brought sub-2.00 ERAs into the game and were well-rested. McGraw went with Hallahan. The Giants were then leading the Cardinals by 5.5 games in the NL pennant race. McGraw was still a Giants shareholder, and I find it entirely plausible that he selected Hallahan so as to avoid putting undue stress on his team's ace. Or maybe he just chose poorly. The key lesson here is that when the opposing lineup has seven Hall of Fame types in it, the opposing manager should eschew utilizing anyone with "Wild" in their name.

Game 2 (1934) at the Polo Grounds, New York: AL 9, NL 7

Carl Hubbell, who was tabbed to start by his own manager, Bill Terry, struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin in succession, each and every one of them a future Hall of Famer. The screwball is an unjustly maligned and neglected pitch, and the fact that Hubbell spent the rest of his life with his left hand facing palm outward is of no importance.

Game 3 (1935) at Municipal Stadium, Cleveland: AL 4, NL 1

After the AL squad, managed by Tigers catcher Mickey Cochrane, left starter Lefty Gomez in for six innings and then followed with Indians righty Mel Harder for the final three, Commissioner Landis limited pitchers' All-Star appearances to three innings. That didn't stop the AL from treating the exhibition as an actual game, as we shall see.

Game 4 (1936) at Braves Field, Boston: NL 4, AL 3

The National League won its first-ever All-Star game on the fourth try. The Cubs' Augie Galan, who was basically the Bernie Williams of the 1930s, hit a home run. Joe DiMaggio, who anticipated Yasiel Puig-mania but with slightly more cause, became the first rookie to start. He went 0-for-5 and made an error.

Game 5 (1937) at Griffith Stadium, Washington, D.C.: AL 8, NL 3

In the first of many historic injuries inflicted by the All-Star Game, Indians outfielder Earl Averill hit a comebacker of the foot of NL starter and Cardinals right-hander Dizzy Dean. Told that his big toe was fractured, Dean said, ""Fractured, hell, the damn thing's broken!" Dean tried to come back too quickly, altered his mechanics, and shredded his arm. Then again, he had also pitched about 5000 innings over the previous five years, so who knows? Lou Gehrig homered for the second game in row.

Game 6 (1938) at Crosley Field, Cincinnati: NL 4, AL 1

NL manager Bill Terry didn't treat the game like an exhibition. Except for pitching changes, his starting lineup played the entire game. This was in reaction to Yankees manager Joe McCarthy, who had been handling the AL squad that way since he more or less permanently took over the squad in 1937.

Game 7 (1939) at Yankee Stadium, New York: AL 3, NL 1

The winning pitcher of the '39 All-Star game was Tigers right-hander Tommy Bridges. Known for his terrific curve ball, Bridges pitched 2.1 innings in relief, striking out three. A three-time 20-game winner who had the sixth-lowest ERA among AL pitchers during the 1930s (126 ERA+ career). With 194 career wins, he was almost exactly the David Cone of his time -- and has largely been forgotten. He had a tragic denouement, with too much drink, too little work.

Game 8 (1940) at Sportsman's Park, St. Louis: NL 4, AL 0

The NL pitched a three-hit shutout, though 10 future Hall of Famers appeared on the AL side of the box score. Braves outfielder Max West, who was not bound for the Hall, and in fact would go down as one of the most disappointing prospects of the era, hit a three-run homer off of Red Ruffing, one of the 10. Which just goes to show that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Or something.

Game 9 (1941) at Briggs Stadium, Detroit: AL 7, NL 5

This is one of those All-Star games that even an All-Star Game doubter can love, if only because it ended with a young Ted Williams hitting a walk-off three-run homer off of right-hander Claude Passeau of the Cubs. Passeau pitched a one-hitter against the Tigers in Game Three of the 1945 World Series, but you see film of Teddy Ballgame skipping around the bases far more often than you hear about that.

Game 11 (1943) at Shibe Park, Philadelphia: AL 5, NL 3

The first night game in All-Star history. Cardinals right-hander Mort Cooper lost his second straight All-Star Game. With many of the game's stars in the military, the starting lineups were dominated by less prominent players such as Elbie Fletcher and Chet Laabs. Joe DiMaggio's older brother Vince, an unjustly derided player in his own time, entered as a substitute and went 3-for-3 with a triple and a home run. Six Yankees made the All-Star team, but manager Joe McCarthy didn't use any of them, wanting to show that he could win without his personal collection of stars.

Game 12 (1944) at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh: NL 7, AL 1

Given the quality of players available by 1944, the two leagues donated the net receipts of $101,000 to the armed forces and gave up for the duration of the war. Wartime travel restrictions officially took the blame, but even without that it just wasn't worth bothering.

Game 13 (1946) at Fenway Park, Boston: AL 12, NL 0

This is the one when Ted Williams hit two home runs, the second off of Rip Sewell's eephus pitch. Sewell always contended that Williams was out of the batter's box when he hit it, and he might have been right. Note also that that as the buildings in the vicinity of Fenway Park fly by in the background of Williams' home run, they bear a passing resemblance to bombed out, liberated Berlin -- which was a suggested location for the cancelled 1945 game.

Game 14 (1947) at Wrigley Field, Chicago: AL 2, NL 1

Phillies manager Ben Chapman supposedly made himself infamous for his vicious race-baiting of rookie Jackie Robinson in the spring of 1947, but the National League made him a coach on manager Eddie Dyer's staff. With Red Sox manager Joe Cronin, one of the architects of that team's long resistance to integration, running the AL squad, the bigots were well represented in Chicago.

Game 15 (1948) at Sportsman's Park, St. Louis: AL 5, NL 2

Inaugurating a tradition, Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio skipped the game due to injuries. The AL starting outfield was Tommy Henrich, Pat Mullin, and Hoot Evers. Evers was a pretty good player for an owl, but not what the fans tuned in to see. Actually, more fans probably tuned in to hear the game in 1948, one of the last years you could say that.

Game 16 (1949) at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn: AL 11, NL 7

Putting the game in Brooklyn meant the rosters were finally going to be integrated. Jackie Robinson finally made an All-Star team, as did Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe, and Larry Doby. Robinson went 1-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored, which for him wasn't actually a very good day at the office. There were six errors made in the game, five by the NL. Future Hall of Famers with a case of butterfingers included George Kell, Johnny Mize, Pee Wee Reese, and Campanella.

Game 17 (1950) at Comiskey Park, Chicago: NL 4, AL 3

The first All-Star Game to go to extra frames was terminated by Cardinals second baseman Red Schoendienst, who hit a home run off the Tigers' Ted Gray to lead off the top of the 14th inning. The Reds' Ewell "The Whip" Blackwell induced Joe DiMaggio to hit into a game-ending double-play in the bottom of the frame. Gray had no business being in Chicago, but he had 10 wins at the break so he made the team. Ted Williams fractured his elbow making a play on a Ralph Kiner fly ball; Williams said he was never the same hitter after that, which is to say he was only capable of hitting .340-.380 instead of .400.

More from SB Nation:

Yoenis Cespedes wins the 2013 Home Run Derby

Your Chris Berman "BACK BACK BACK" megamix

Who are these guys? Meet the 39 first-time All-Stars

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Longread: Brooklyn’s field of broken dreams

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