Midsummer Classic: Midsummer Mockery
two decades ago, Garry Templeton of the St. Louis Cardinals said this
about the All-Star Game: "If I ain’t startin’, I ain’t departin’.”
politics, incentive clauses, managerial prejudices, ballot stuffing and
mindless rules, like you can be on the disabled list and appear, in the
All-Star game make the Midsummer Classic in many ways - Midsummer Mockery.
wasn't always this way and it wasn't intended to be this way.
original idea was conceived in 1933 by Arch Ward, the Chicago Tribune’s
sports editor. He saw the game as a one-shot deal to be played in
conjunction with Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition. He said the
event should be called the "Game of the Century". The plan was
to give the fans a real baseball rooting interest by allowing them to vote
for their favorite players via popular ballot.
first game was played on July 6, 1933, a sweltering afternoon at the old
Comiskey Park in Chicago. There were 47,595 fans in attendance to see the
National League team managed by John J. McGraw go against the American
League squad managed by Connie Mack.
rosters were limited to 18 players. Mack made just one starting lineup
change and wound using a total of 13 players. McGraw employed 17 players,
including four pinch hitters.
first American League team had sluggers like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie
Foxx and Al Simmons. Lefty Gomez of the New York Yankees was the starting
and winning pitcher for the American League and Wild Bill Hallahan of the
St. Louis Cardinals was the starter and loser for the National League.
fanned Ruth in the first inning, but he was not as fortunate in the third
inning of that first All-Star Game. The Babe came up with Detroit’s
Charlie Gehringer on first base.
38-year-old Ruth slugged a Hallahan pitch just inside the right-field foul
line and into the lower stands. That two-run homer was the margin in the
American League’s 4-2 victory.
wanted to see the Babe," said Wild Bill Hallahan "Sure, he was
old and had a big waistline, but that didn't make any difference. We were
on the same field as Babe Ruth."
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Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
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"Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE
STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to
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Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One.
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