Major League Baseball All-Star Game: Wikis

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President John F. Kennedy throwing out the first pitch at the 1962 All-Star Game.

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual baseball game between players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by a combination of fans, players, coaches, and managers.[1] The All-Star Game usually occurs in early to mid-July and marks the symbolic halfway point in the Major League Baseball (MLB) season (though not the mathematical halfway point; in most seasons, that actually takes place one week earlier). The game is usually played on a Tuesday, with no regular-season games scheduled on the day before or the day after. These are the only two calendar days in the year in which no regular-season or preseason games in any of the major professional sports leagues of the United States are scheduled. The other three major North American sports—basketball, football, and hockey—are in their off-seasons in the summer, but otherwise overlap each other frequently in the other three seasons.

From 1959 to 1962 there were 2 all-star games held each season but this format was abandoned.

Contents

Venues

The most recent All-Star Game (2009) was played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, with the American League again winning, 4-3. President Barack Obama threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The 2010 All-Star Game will be played at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; the 2011 All-Star Game will played at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The venue for each All-Star Game is believed to be chosen by a selection committee in the MLB. Teams lobby to host the All-Star Game at their stadium and the decision is eventually made within the MLB organization. Recent history shows that the chosen venue may be based on the opening of a new field, a historical occasion, or to commemorate a significant year.

While no official announcements have been made beyond 2011, there is speculation in the media about future All-Star Games through 2014, with the Minnesota Twins hoping to welcome back the game for the first time since 1985 by hosting the 2014 All-Star Game at their new ballpark, Target Field (scheduled to open in 2010).[2] The Sporting News reported in November 2009 that the recently renovated Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, would be named as the site of the 2012 All-Star Game at the 2009 Winter Meetings, though the report has yet to be confirmed by Major League Baseball.[3] The Boston Red Sox have also asked to host the 2012 All-Star Game at Fenway Park, to celebrate the park's 100th anniversary.[4] The Chicago Cubs plan to ask for the game at Wrigley Field in 2014 for the same reason. Rumors say that New York Mets will host the 2013 All-Star Game in their new ballpark, Citi Field, which was opened at the start of the 2009 season. In the same division, the Florida Marlins have requested the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game to be played at their new retractable roof ballpark opening in 2012.

The first All-Star Game was held as part of the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago, Illinois, and was the brainchild of Arch Ward, then sports editor for The Chicago Tribune.[5] Initially intended to be a one-time event, its great success resulted in making the game an annual one. Ward's contribution was recognized by Major League Baseball in 1962 with the creation of the "Arch Ward Trophy", given to the All-Star Game's most valuable player each year.[6]

Ballparks

The game's venue is chosen by Major League Baseball and traditionally alternates between the two leagues every year. This tradition has been broken twice. The first time was in 1951, when the American League's Detroit Tigers hosted the annual game as part of the city's 250th birthday. It was broken again in 2007, when the National League's San Francisco Giants were the host for the 2007 All-Star Game. That scheduling set it up so the 2008 game would be held in the scheduled final season at the American League's Yankee Stadium (New York). As of 2009, an American League stadium is scheduled to host the all-star game in even-numbered years and a National League stadium is scheduled to host the event in odd-numbered years. This tradition, however, might conflict with Major League Baseball's desire to show off its newest stadiums. Every American League stadium built in the last 20 years — except the new Yankee Stadium (2009) — has already hosted an All-Star game. The Minnesota Twins' new ballpark, Target Field, is scheduled to open in 2010.

Meanwhile, new National League ballparks in Cincinnati (opened 2003), New York (2009), Philadelphia (2004), San Diego (2004), and Washington (2008) — all built in the 21st century — and another N.L. stadium under construction in Miami (for the Florida Marlins; scheduled to open in 2012) have yet to be scheduled to host an All-Star game.

The "home team" is the league in which the host franchise plays its games. The criteria for choosing the venue are subjective; for the most part, cities with new parks and cities who have not hosted the game in a long time — or ever — tend to get the nod. In the first two decades of the game, ballparks in Philadelphia and St. Louis were home to more than one team. This led to some shorter-than-usual gaps between the use of those two ballparks: Shibe Park (later known as Connie Mack Stadium) in Philadelphia and Sportsman's Park (the third ballpark with that name; later known as Busch Stadium, the first of three stadiums with that name) in St. Louis. In Philadelphia, the A.L.'s Athletics hosted the game in 1943, and the N.L.'s Phillies in 1952. In St. Louis, the National League's Cardinals hosted the game in 1940, and the American League's Browns in 1948.

To date, only three franchises have never hosted a game: the Arizona Diamondbacks (will host the All-Star Game in 2011, at Chase Field), the Florida Marlins (although scheduled to host the game in 2000, Major League Baseball moved the game to Atlanta), and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Washington Nationals franchise hosted the game when they were the Montreal Expos, and All-Star Games have been played in D.C., hosted by both incarnations of the Washington Senators (now the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers).

Since 1966, the Atlanta Braves (1972 and 2000), Chicago White Sox (1983 and 2003), Cincinnati Reds (1970 and 1988), Cleveland Indians (1981 and 1997), Detroit Tigers (1971 and 2005), Houston Astros (1968, 1986, and 2004), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1967 and 1989; next scheduled to host in 2010), Milwaukee Brewers (1975 and 2002), Philadelphia Phillies (1976 and 1996), Pittsburgh Pirates (1974, 1994, and 2006), San Diego Padres (1978 and 1992), San Francisco Giants (1984 and 2007), Seattle Mariners (1979 and 2001), and St. Louis Cardinals (1966 and 2009), and the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers (1969 and 1995), have all hosted the All-Star Game at least twice, during which time the New York Mets (who last hosted in 1964) have not hosted it at all. With the exception of Cincinnati (Riverfront Stadium), the L.A. Angels (Anaheim Stadium), Philadelphia (Veterans Stadium), and San Diego (Jack Murphy Stadium), the other ten franchises who hosted two or more times in that time period did so between two stadiums.

Following the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium in 2008 (the stadium's final season), Yankee Stadium joined Cleveland's old Cleveland Stadium, also known as Municipal Stadium prior to its demolition, as the only stadium to host 4 Major League Baseball All-Star Games. No other stadium has hosted as many.

Rosters

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Managers

Selection of managers and coaches

Normally the managers of the All-Star Game are the managers who faced each other during the previous year's World Series. The coaching staff for each team is selected by its manager.

This honor is given to the manager, not the team, so it is possible that the All-Star manager could no longer be with the team with which he won. This happened in 2003, when Dusty Baker managed the National League team despite having moved from the National League champion San Francisco Giants to the Chicago Cubs. This has also included situations where the person is no longer actively managing a team. For the first All-Star Game, intended as a one-time event, Connie Mack and John McGraw were regarded as baseball's venerable managers, and were asked to lead the American and National League teams, respectively. McGraw came out of retirement for that purpose. Dick Williams resigned after managing the Oakland Athletics to the 1973 World Championship. In 1974, he became manager of the California Angels, whose uniform he wore for the game. In 1979, Bob Lemon managed the American League team after having been fired by New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

There have been many exceptional cases where the usual rule was abandoned.

After the 1964 season and the World Series, the managers, Johnny Keane of the St. Louis Cardinals and Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees, both left their teams and found new jobs in the other league—Keane was hired to manage the Yanks and Berra became a player-coach with the New York Mets. The Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds had finished in a second-place tie in the NL; the Chicago White Sox had finished second in the AL. Cincinnati's manager, Fred Hutchinson, had died in the off-season, so Gene Mauch of the Phillies and Al Lopez of the White Sox were chosen to be the managers for the 1965 All-Star Game.

There was no World Series in 1994 due to the players' strike. In 1995, Buck Showalter of the New York Yankees and Felipe Alou of the Montreal Expos were chosen as managers for the All-Star Game on the basis of their teams finishing with the best win-loss records in their respective (American and National) leagues during the previous season.

American League managers since 1998

National League managers since 1998

*Baker won the 2002 N.L. pennant with the San Francisco Giants

**La Russa also was the American League manager from 1989-1991 while manager of the Oakland Athletics.

Selection of players

Until 2009, each league's All-Star team consisted of 32 players. (For regular-season games — until September 1 — the squad size is 25 maximum, 24 minimum.) On July 1, 2009, MLB added a 33rd player to each league's team roster, allowing for an extra pitcher. The players for each league's team are selected through the following process:

  • Fan voting (8 players): Baseball fans vote on the starting position players for the All-Star Game, with ballots distributed at Major League Baseball games before mid-season and, more recently, on the Internet. When the game is played at an American League park, the designated hitter for the AL team is also selected in this manner. This method has been recently criticized because most of the starting players can come from teams that have large fan bases, such as the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.[7]
  • Player voting (16 players): Eight pitchers (five starters and three relievers) and one back-up player for each position are elected by the players, coaches, and managers.[1] If the top vote-getter at a position has also been selected via fan voting, the second-place finisher in this category is selected.
  • Manager selection (8 players): The manager of each league's All-Star team — in consultation with the other managers in his league and the Commissioner's Office — will fill his team's roster up to 32 players. At this point, it is ensured that every team is represented by at least one player.
  • Final vote (1 player): After the list of 32 players for each league is announced, fans vote (on the Internet) for one additional player, chosen from a list of 5 players that is compiled by the manager of each league's team and the Commissioner's Office.
  • Replacements: After the roster is selected, the All-Star manager and the Commissioner's Office will replace players who are injured or who decline to participate.

History of player selection methods

Seven of the American League's 1937 All-Star players, from left to right Lou Gehrig, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Charlie Gehringer, Jimmie Foxx, and Hank Greenberg. All seven would eventually be elected to the Hall of Fame.

From 1935 through 1946, the manager of each All-Star squad selected the entire team.

In 1947, fans were given the opportunity to vote on the eight starting position players. In 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds stuffed the ballot box (see below), and elected a Red to every position except first base. Commissioner Ford Frick stepped in and removed two Reds from the lineup. As a response to this unfairness, fan voting was discontinued. Players, coaches, and managers were given the sole authority to elect starting position players, for the next dozen years.

Between the lack of fan input and over-exposure due to the double All-Star Games during 1959-1962, interest in the game was thought to be waning. As part of the rise of the MLB Promotion Corporation's attempts to modernize marketing of baseball, fan balloting for the starting eight was restored for the 1970 game.

Sometime in the 1960s, the distinction between left-fielder, center-fielder, and right-fielder was dropped, and it was provided that the top 3 vote-getters in the outfield category would start regardless of position. Prior to that the situation included remarks like "If you had Clemente, you couldn't have Aaron," and so on.

Rico Carty was the first player ever selected to an All-Star team as a write-in candidate by fans, in 1970, the first year that voting was given back to the fans. Upon getting elected, he was quoted as saying "Thanks to the fans for making this possible, and thanks to Gillette for making this all necessary."[citation needed]

Steve Garvey was the second player ever selected to an All-Star team as a write-in candidate by fans, in 1974. He was later the Most Valuable Player of that game as well as the National League MVP for that year.[8]

Until 2003, reserves and pitchers were chosen by the manager. Player voting was re-introduced in 2003 because the managers were criticized for picking players from their own team over more deserving players from other teams. This was particularly evident in 2002, when National League manager Bob Brenly selected his own catcher, Damian Miller, over the more deserving Paul Lo Duca; while American League manager Joe Torre selected his own third baseman, Robin Ventura, over the Oakland Athletics' Gold Glove and Silver Slugger-winning third baseman Eric Chavez.

Before the 2009 game, Major League Baseball announced that an additional pitcher would be added to each roster, bringing the total for each league to 33 players.

One continuing controversy of the player selection process is the rule that each team has to have at least one representative on its league's All-Star roster. Opponents of the rule contend that the purpose of the game is to spotlight Major League Baseball's best players, and that some superior players are left off the roster in favor of possibly less deserving players from weaker teams. This argument is strengthened by the greater urgency of winning the game, due to the rule that the winning league attains home field in the World Series. Supporters of the rule point out that this rule spreads interest in the game, and prevents large-market teams from totally dominating the squad.

A number of compromises have been suggested in the media, such as limiting the number of representatives a particular team could have, requiring only that a certain percentage of teams be represented, or expanding the size of the All-Star rosters to mitigate the issue.

If a team trades its lone All-Star before the game, its league's All-Star Game manager is not required to include another player from that team.[9]

Stuffing the ballot box

In 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds stuffed the ballot box and elected 7 Reds players to start in the All-Star Game. They were:

Johnny Temple, 2B
Roy McMillan, SS
Don Hoak, 3B
Ed Bailey, C
Frank Robinson, LF
Gus Bell, CF
Wally Post, RF

The only non-Red elected to start for the National League was St. Louis Cardinals' first baseman Stan Musial. While the Reds were known to be a great offensive team with many outstanding position players, most baseball observers agreed that they did not deserve seven starters in the All-Star Game. An investigation showed that over half of the ballots cast came from Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Enquirer had printed up pre-marked ballots and distributed them with the Sunday newspaper to make it easy for Reds fans to vote often. There were even stories of bars in Cincinnati not serving alcohol to customers until they filled out a ballot.

Commissioner Ford Frick decided to appoint Willie Mays of the New York Giants and Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves to substitute for Reds players Gus Bell and Wally Post. In addition, Frick decided to strip the fans of their voting rights. Managers, players, and coaches picked the entire team until 1969, when the vote again returned to the fans.

To guard against further ballot stuffing, since 1969, each team has been given the same number of ballots to hand out. In 1998, that number was roughly 400,000 ballots. Since the dawn of the internet age, online voting has again raised fears of ballot stuffing. In one incident in 1999, Nomar Garciaparra gained over 14,000 votes thanks to an automated computer program.[10] Major League Baseball assures its fans that they have taken precautions to guard against this. Similarly, popular players who are injured often garner many votes despite their inability to play in the game. In 1989, Mike Schmidt was selected as the starting third baseman in the Midsummer Classic despite retiring on May 29 after a poor start to the season. Schmidt thanked the fans but did not play in the game.

The 1988 Game was surrounded by tacit accusations against Oakland A's fans of stuffing the ballot box in favor of catcher Terry Steinbach, whose qualifications as a starter were questioned by some sportswriters.[11][12][13] Steinbach wound up being named the game's Most Valuable Player.

In 2006, eight of the nine starting players for the American League team at one point in the balloting were members of the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox.

Designated hitter

In 1989, the DH position was allowed in the All-Star Game for the first time.

The designated hitter rule is applied based on the league in which the host team plays. In an American League ballpark, both teams use a designated hitter to hit for the pitcher. In a National League ballpark, lineups schedule the pitcher to hit, though pinch hitters are almost always used. The last instance in which a pitcher took his scheduled at-bat was in 2009 when AL starter Roy Halladay batted in the top of the second. In 1992 and 2004, the American League batted around in the first inning allowing starting pitchers to bat.

There is some debate as to allowing the designated hitter in every All-Star Game, since many pitchers are not adept at hitting.

Individual notes

It would be reasonable to expect that the talented players in these games could be candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame eventually. Of the eighteen players who started the 1934 game, only one, Wally Berger, is not in the Hall of Fame.

Brooks Robinson (1966) and Carl Yastrzemski (1970) are the only players to be named All-Star MVP while playing for the losing team.

In 1983, Fred Lynn became the first player to hit a grand slam in an All-Star Game.

In 1985, the American League fielded seven future Hall of Famers in its starting lineup. Rickey Henderson (CF), George Brett (3d), Eddie Murray (1b), Cal Ripken (SS), Dave Winfield (RF), Jim Rice (LF), and Carlton Fisk (C). This is the most hall of famers ever in a starting lineup for an All-Star Game (not including Veterans Committee inductees). [FYI, the other two players in the starting line up were Tigers Lou Whitaker (2b) and Jack Morris (p).

In 1991, Cal Ripken Jr. became the only player to win the Home Run Derby, All Star Game MVP and American League MVP awards during the same season.

In 2000, Derek Jeter became the first player to win All-Star Game and World Series MVP in the same year.

In 2007, Ichiro Suzuki became the first player to hit an inside-the-park home run in an All-Star Game.

Most Valuable Player Award

The Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award is given to the most outstanding player in each year's game. Awarded each season since 1962, it was originally called the Arch Ward Memorial Award, after the man who first came up with the concept of the All-Star game. In 1970, the name was changed to the Commissioner's Trophy. In 1985, the name change was reversed (so that the World Series Trophy — first awarded in 1967 — could be re-named the Commissioner's Trophy). In 2002, the trophy was renamed The Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award, in honor of former Boston Red Sox player Ted Williams, who had died earlier that year.

Uniforms

Since the first All-Star Game, players have worn their respective team uniforms rather than wearing uniforms made specifically for the game, with one exception: In the first game, the National League players wore uniforms made for the game, with the lettering "NATIONAL LEAGUE" across the front of the shirt.[14]

During the all star games of the 70s & 80s, alternate jerseys where commonly worn by players if their team has them, which was mostly worn by the American league squad. Most of that comes from representatives of the Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians & Chicago White Sox. Such team away uniforms that have a colored shirt & white pants or a blue away uniforms would confuse modern day fans as alternate jerseys. As seasons went by, less alternates were worn since almost every team required grey away uniforms. However it wasn't until the '92 game when alternates were back in use which were donned by all the representatives of the White Sox (pitcher Jack McDowell & infielder Robin Ventura). Eventually the '96 game unkowningly became the final time that players wear alternate jereys for the game. They were all donned by all representatives of the Indians (outfielders Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, catcher Sandy Alomar Jr., pitchers Jose Mesa & Charles Nagy, manager Mike Hargrove & his coaching staff)

Uniform errors

There have been some discrepancies with players' uniforms at several All-Star Games. One common occurrence is a player's donning a batting helmet of a team other than his own. For example, in 2009, pitcher Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays (who rarely got to the plate due to the designated hitter) batted with the helmet of Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays for his at-bat.[15] The Rays' logo had been removed from the front of the helmet, but it was still identifiable due to its color and Longoria's number "3" on the back.[16]

Other uniform blunders include:

1964: Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Johnny Callison sported a New York Mets helmet - many years before the teams became fierce rivals - for his ninth inning at-bat which he smacked a game-winning homer.[17]

1972: Nate Colbert of the San Diego Padres wore the wrong uniform for the Game in Atlanta. The National League was the home team, but Colbert donned his road jersey that had SAN DIEGO on the front instead of his home one that had PADRES on it.[18] Also, San Francisco Giants infielder Chris Speier sports a Houston Astros helmet for his at-bat.[19] On The American league side, during his All-Star debut at-bat, Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk sported a Milwaukee Brewers helmet, while Detroit's Norm Cash wore Reggie Smith's Boston Red Sox helmet in his late-inning at-bat. [20]

1973: During the sixth inning, Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Willie Davis wears a Atlanta Braves helmet while pinch-hitting. He smacked a home run.[21]

1975: In Milwaukee, the American League squad included players, coaches and manager Alvin Dark from the Oakland Athletics clad in four different uniforms. Infielders Gene Tenace and Bert Campaneris wore yellow jerseys [22] while outfielders Joe Rudi and Reggie Jackson and relief pitcher Rollie Fingers donned green ones [23]; all five wore white pants. Pitcher Vida Blue's shirt and pants were both yellow.[24] Dark and the coaching staff wore all-white uniforms, as did outfielder Claudell Washington.[25]

1977: Despite being teammates, Cleveland Indians' pitchers Jim Kern and Dennis Eckersley wore different jerseys for the Game in New York. Kern wore the Tribe's red shirt while Eckersley sported the team's blue top.[26] In addition, Seattle Mariners infielder Ruppert Jones - who was the first Mariner to appear in an All Star game that year - sported a Toronto Blue Jays helmet while pinch-hitting in the third inning.[21] On the National league, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Dave Parker wore a Padres helmet for his 2 at-bats.[27] For his 3rd at-bat, Parker then sports a Cincinnati Reds helmet.[28]

1979: Pete Rose of the Philadelphia Phillies wore his team's burgundy batting practice jersey for the Game in Seattle.[29] Also, New York Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson sported a numberless Mariners jersey for the portrait & then wore his Yankees jersey for the game. Also, Texas Rangers manager Pat Corrales sported a Chicago Cubs cap.[30]

1981: Kansas City Royals infielder Frank White sports a Brewers helmet while pinch-running in the sixth inning.[31] Oddly, he wears his Royals helmet for his ninth inning at-bat [32] Also, Blue Jays pitcher Dave Stieb didn't bring his batting helmet, since most American League pitchers never bat. He was forced to bat in the ninth-inning & sports a Mariners helmet.[33]

1982: Dennis Eckersley once again commits uniform error on an All-Star game following the one in the 1977 game. This time, while representing the Red Sox, he goes to bat in the second inning while sporting a Indians helmet - the team he represented in the '77 game.[34]

1984: The uniform error that occurred between the 2 Indians representatives at the '77 game occurred again for this game, but it was instead from the 2 Athletic representatives: outfielder Rickey Henderson & pitcher Bill Caudill. The American league team was the away team & Caudill sported his regular Athletics away attire (green shirt with white pants); Henderson however, sports his Athletics alternate "home" attire (yellow shirt with white pants).[35] Also, for his 2 at-bats, Royals infielder George Brett sports a blank blue helmet with only a "21" placed on the tongue portion of the helmet, but his jersey number is "5".[36] Strangley while pinch-hitting in the fifth inning, Mariners outfielder Alvin Davis - who's jersey number is "21" - sports a somewhat similar "21" helmet, only his team logo sticker is featured.[37] 2 innings later, Brett sports the blank "21" helmet again.

1985: Lou Whitaker of the Detroit Tigers forgot to bring his uniform with him to Minneapolis. He had to purchase a replica uniform at a souvenir stand, which he wore for the Game with his number 1 written on the back. His name was left off.[38] He also sports the Minnesota Twins stirrups.[39] On the National League side, Houston Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan sports a Padres helmet for his at-bat in the sixth inning.[40]

1987: Cubs pitcher Lee Smith dons a Montreal Expos helmet for his at-bat in the 13 inning.[41]

1992: Indians pitcher Charles Nagy, for his at-bat in the eighth inning, sports a right earflapped Rangers helmet.[42] He gets a base hit then trades the helmet for another Rangers helmet except it's left earflapped.[43]

1993: Marquis Grissom of the Montreal Expos, like Whitaker, did not bring a uniform with him for the Game in Baltimore. He played in a borrowed San Diego Padres' jersey to go with an Expos' cap.[44]

1997: When Indians catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. came in to take the field, he sports his usual Indians chest protector.[45] In the next inning, he sports a Captain America chest protector.[46]

2005: Twins pitcher Joe Nathan sports his regular home Twins jersey, however the dot for the "i" is missing.[47]

2009: Aside from Halladay's error, Dodgers manager Joe Torre decides to wear a Cardinals helmet while coaching first base. He played for St. Louis from 1969-1974 & managed them from 1990-1995.[48]

Tie games; Rain delays; Home-field advantage in World Series

At Fenway Park in Boston on July 31, 1961, the first All-Star Game tie in history occurred when the game was stopped after the 9th inning due to rain. The only other rain-shortened game had been in 1952, but it had a winner.

The 2002 All-Star Game, held in Milwaukee, ended in controversy in the 11th inning, when both teams ran out of substitute players available to pitch in relief. At that point, Commissioner Bud Selig (a Milwaukee native and former owner of the Brewers) declared the game to end in a tie. The crowd booed and the media were highly critical of this unsatisfying conclusion.

To provide additional incentive for victory, Major League Baseball reached an agreement with the players union to award home-field advantage for the World Series to the champion of the league that won the All-Star Game, for 2003 to 2004.[1] Since then, the agreement was extended twice, in 2005 and 2006.[49] Previously, home-field advantage in the World Series alternated between the two leagues each year. The American League has taken advantage of the new rule every year since its inception; the National League (whose last win was in 1996) has yet to do so.

Even under the new rule, there is no guarantee that a repeat of the 2002 situation might not occur. To avoid future ties due to lack of eligible players, managers have been instructed to hold back, and have voluntarily held back, a few select position players and pitchers. This has resulted in some disappointment and controversy when those players are never actually used in the game.[50] Such a catch-22 has resulted in calls to allow limited re-entry of players who have been replaced during the game (in addition to catchers, which is already allowed), thereby giving the freedom to use all the players on the roster without restricting teams into a situation where no players are available.[51]

A tie game could also be deemed a "suspended game" in which case it would become a tie if no make-up date was scheduled. It would be extremely difficult to find such a make-up date: Major League Baseball would have to postpone one or more days of the regular season and/or schedule the make-up date on the travel day between the regular season and the Division Series. However, there is an offday for all teams the day after the All-Star Game. If necessary, the game could be finished in the morning or afternoon on Wednesday.

Winning streaks; Run totals; Longest games

80 All-Star Games have been played (including two games in 1959-1962), with the National League winning 40, the American League 38, and 2 ties.

The All-Star Game has seen several "eras" in which one league tended to dominate. During the 1930s and 1940s, the American League won the majority of the games. Starting in 1950, the National League reversed that trend and from the 1960s through the mid-1980s was winning nearly every one of the games. In the late 1980s that trend reversed again, and since then the American League has won nearly all the time, including a 12-game winning streak (excluding the tie game in 2002) since 1997.

The National League and American league have each had 11-game winning streaks. The National League's 11-game streak went from 1972 to 1982. The American League victory in 2009 gave the American League a 12-game winning streak, dating back to 1997 — not including the tie game in 2002. The American League has currently dominated since 1988, having lost only 3 times and being unbeaten since 1997. The National League dominated from 1950 to 1987, winning 33 of 42 with 1 tie. This included a stretch from 1963-1982 when it won 19 of 20. This followed a stretch from 1933 to 1949 when the American League won 12 out of the first 16.

As of the 2009 All-Star Game, the cumulative run totals for all 80 games played was 675 — closely split between the leagues — with 339 runs for the American League and 336 for the National League.[52]

The longest All-Star Game — in terms of innings — lasted 15 innings, which has occurred twice: 1967 and 2008. The longest game — in terms of time — was 2008, with a total time of 4 hours and 50 minutes.

MLB All-Star Game results (1933–present)

Miscellany

The All-Star Game was played at night for the first time in 1943, at Shibe Park (Philadelphia).

In 1945, with severe wartime travel restrictions in effect, the All-Star Game scheduled to be played at Boston's Fenway Park was deferred until the next season.

There were two All-Star Games played each season from 1959 to 1962. The second game was added to raise money for the players' pension funds, as well as other causes. The experiment was abandoned on the grounds that having two games watered down the appeal of the event.[53]

In 1981, the All-Star Game was moved from July to August, for that year only. The middle portion of the 1981 season, including the scheduled All-Star break, had been erased due to the players' strike. To promote the resumption of the season, the game (in Cleveland) was moved from its original July date to Sunday night, August 9. Second-half regular-season play began the next afternoon with a game in Wrigley Field in Chicago. The 1981 game is the only MLB All-Star Game to be played on a weekend.

Other events connected with the game

Since 1985, the Home Run Derby, a contest between home run hitters, has been held on the day before the All-Star Game.

Since 1999, the All-Star Futures Game has been held during All-Star Week. The two teams, one consisting of young players from the United States and the other consisting of young players from all other nations, are usually chosen based on prospect status in the minor leagues.

Since 2001, the Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game pits teams with a mixture of former stars from the host team's past, as well as celebrities from music, film, and television. This game is held the day before the Home Run Derby. (However it is tape-delayed and broadcasted after the Derby)

Lately, the National Hockey League has been releasing the schedule for the upcoming hockey season on the day after the All-Star Game, utilizing the fact that there are no professional sports being played that day.

Since 2002, the ESPY Awards ceremony has been conducted on the Wednesday in July following the MLB All-Star Game. Because none of the major North American professional leagues have games scheduled for that day — the National Basketball Association, National Football League, and National Hockey League are not in-season, and MLB does not have games that day — major sports figures are available to attend. The show is aired on the subsequent Sunday five days later, although the results are announced on ESPN.com and thereafter across media outlets immediately after taping is complete.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Chass, Murray (May 2, 2003). "Players Union Accepts Change to the All-Star Game". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/02/sports/baseball-players-union-accepts-change-to-the-all-star-game.html?pagewanted=print. 
  2. ^ Weiner, Jay (September 9, 2008). "Twins, Minneapolis officials reportedly to announce efforts to win 2014 All-Star Game". MinnPost.com. http://www.minnpost.com/jayweiner/2008/09/09/3454/twins_minneapolis_officials_reportedly_to_announce_efforts_to_win_2014_all-star_game. 
  3. ^ Sportingnews.com (The Sporting News). November 18, 2009. http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/article/2009-11-18/mlb-award-2012-all-star-game-kansas-city. 
  4. ^ Finn, Chad (November 7, 2008). Boston.com (Boston Globe). http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2008/11/red_sox_ask_to.html. 
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  6. ^ Newman, Mark (July 10, 2006). "All-Star MVP Awaits Your Vote". MLB.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060710&content_id=1550905&vkey=allstar2006&fext=.jsp. 
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  11. ^ 1998 Cubs vs. Giants one game playoff, Sporting News
  12. ^ All-Star Voting Dismays a Fan - New York Times
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External links


Simple English

In Major League Baseball, the All-Star Game is the game between the best players from the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). The game is held in the middle of the season. The winner of the game gets home field advantage in the World Series. The National League has won the All-Star Game forty times. The American League has won it thirty-seven time. They have tied twice. The American league is currently on a 11 game win streak.

Recent results

YearWinnerScore
2003AL7-6
2004AL9-4
2005AL7-5
2006AL3-2
2007AL5-4
2008AL4-3


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