Stadium: All-Star Games
All kinds of hype, hoopla and probably histrionics
will be part of the scene for Yankee Stadium's final All-Star Game set
for the 15th of July 2008. This will be the fourth mid summer classic
staged at the "House That Ruth Built."
The first one at the Stadium took place on the
eleventh of July 1939 before 62,892. The big ballpark in the Bronx was
chosen as the site to coincide with the World's Fair of 1939. As the
American League lineups were announced, a fan bellowed: "Make Joe
McCarthy play an All-Star American League team. We can beat them, but we
can't beat the Yankees!"
Marse Joe McCarthy paid the fan no heed. Six starters
were Yankees: Red Rolfe, Bill Dickey, George Selkirk, Joe Gordon, Red
Ruffing and Joe DiMaggio. Other Yankees on the AL squad included Frank
Crosetti, Lefty Gomez and Johnny Murphy. In all, counting McCarthy,
there were ten Yankees on the All-Star team. The half dozen position
starters played the entire game.
Lou Gehrig was there, too, an honorary member of the
American League team. It was just a week after his
“luckiest man” speech at the Stadium.
McCarthy pitched Red Ruffing for three innings, then
brought in Tommy Bridges and closed out with rookie, twenty-year-old Bob
Feller who was touched for but one hit in his 3 2/3 innings. Later he
said: "I was never nervous on a pitching mound. I just reared back and
let them go."
One of the big moments of the game for the home town
fans was Joe DiMaggio’s fifth inning dinger highlighting the 3-1
American League triumph. After the All-Star break, the Yanks went on a
tear winning 35 of 49 games.
From 1959 to 1962, Major League Baseball conducted two
All-Star Games. Yankee Stadium hosted baseball's second All-Star Game
in three days on On July 13th Seven Yankees were on the American
League squad: starters Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle , Roger
Maris and Bill Skowron. The Yankee reserves were Jim Coates and Elston
The first All-Star game of 1960 had been played two
day’s before. Perhaps that was why attendance was just 38,362 for this
Whitey Ford started for the American League against
Pittburgh’s Vernon Law. Al Lopez was the AL manager and Walt Alston was
the National League pilot.
For many New York baseball fans, the special appeal of
the game was the return of the great Willie Mays to the city he starred
in. The “Say Hey Kid” went three for four – one of his hits was a home
run. The National League prevailed, 6-0.
On July 19, 1977 Yankee Stadium was once more the site
of the All-Star Game. The teams prepared to square off before 56,683.
The managerial matchup was Billy Martin of the Yankees
against Sparky Anderson of Cincinnati. Joe DiMaggio was the AL Honorary
Captain and Willie Mays had that role for the National League.
DAN MARENG0: I had a seat behind home plate in the
upper deck. I knew the press always made a big deal about the feud
between Munson and Fisk. I looked down and the two guys were around the
batting cage enjoying a conversation with each other, smiling. What do
Willie Randolph recalled: “I was a young kid in that
All-Star Game, in front of my hometown fans, my family, playing in the
game with guys I had grown up idolizing like Reggie Jackson and Rod
ROD CAREW: To play in the All-Star game with my mom
there in the stands was a thrill. Just being in Yankee Stadium was an
incentive to do well. The fans are special.
They'll root for you if they like you. I think they
knew I was from New York so they gave me a good ovation that day and
every time I played in the Stadium.
Pitcher Jim Palmer took the mound for the AL. He
lasted two innings, gave up five runs on five hits, walked one and was
the losing pitcher. Joe Morgan led off the game with a home run.
DENNIS ECKERSLEY: I was like 22 years old. Before the
game, Billy Martin -- who was a nut but I loved him --told me I was
going to pitch the fourth through sixth innings. Well, our starter Jim
Palmer couldn’t get out of the third. They lit him up. I came in a
little earlier and pitched two scoreless innings.
The National League prevailed in 1977, 7-5, and the
48th All-Star game was a matter of record.
Now Yankee Stadium, the place of mystique and
memories, awaits its fourth and final All Star Game. All kinds of
history will be made and millions will be watching.
# # #
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About the Author:
Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and
"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
acclaim in 2011. The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was
Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One.
His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times,
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