The 80th All Star Game is about to be played in St. Louis, MO on Tuesday July 14th 2009. The All Star Game is relatively new in terms being compared to the World Series. The game originated in 1933 and by the late 1950’s the game became so popular, they started to hold two games per season that were known as the “All Star Game”. This practice only lasted 4 seasons when the two games were held, but it gave both a National League team and an American League team the chance to host the event in the same year.
The first All Star Game in 1933 was held in Comiskey Park (1), which was the original ballpark with that name, and the AL was the winner over the NL that year by a score of 4-2. The game was over in a quick 2 hours and 5 minutes but the game that has become known as the “Midsummer Classic” was born and ever since then, we’ve been enjoying this game. There were two guys named ‘Lefty’ in the first All Star Game, Lefty Gomez, who started the game for the AL, and Lefty Grove who was a pitcher and got the save for the AL All Stars that year. Other players on the AL included Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig. For the NL stars, the names of the players included Chuck Klein, and Pie Traynor, who both went onto the Hall of Fame along with Ruth, and Gehrig.
No player was named MVP of the All Star Game until 1962 when the first MVP was named. The first MVP was Maury Wills and he also shared the honors of being named MVP of the All Star Game in 1962 with Leon Wagner who was also named MVP in the second All Star Game of 1962 which was the last year the MLB held two games in the same year to be called the All Star Game. Since 1962, a piece of trivia involves the All Star Game also in regards to the MVP. Name the MVP of the 2002 All Star Game? The answer is: No one. They didn’t designate an MVP in this game as the game was suspended after 11 innings when both the NL and the AL managers convened with Bud Selig and determined they didn’t have any pitchers left to pitch and the game that was tied 7-7 into the 11th inning would be called a ‘tie’. The famous ‘tie’ game was held in Miller Park in Milwaukee.
The AL has won the last 12 games of 13 of the All Star Games, of course the other game ended in a tie. This dominance by one league has not been seen since the NL was on a tear from 1972 to 1985 a span of 14 seasons in which the AL only won the game once which came in 1983. Now the game determines in which city the World Series starts in, if the AL wins it, it will start in the AL team’s home, and if the NL wins the All Star Game, the series opens in the NL home city. So that adds some importance to this game as well. This system of determining home field advantage for the World Series started in 2003 just a year after the All Star Game actually ended in a tie because no when was left to pitch in the game into the 11th inning on either team. It is a system that few fans and players actually like. Many players have railed against the system of this game actually determining home field advantage and think it shouldn’t be used for this. The old method of alternating each year between cities works better they claim. For now though, with Selig still in charge of the MLB, it remains.
The 1985, the All Star Game tied in with other events such as the Home Run Derby and the All Star Game Fan Fest and other corporate sponsored events centered around the All Star Game. This has added more interest in the actual game itself on the night or day before the All Star Game and has brought a lot of interest to Major League Baseball in those events.
Overall Record for the All Star Game prior to July 14 2009
National League leads 40-37-2
Two ties occured in the All Star Game in 2002 and 1961 – the ‘61 game was the second ‘All Star Game’ of the season that year. The All Star Game wasn’t played in 1945 due to World War II.
Here's the plate appearances leaders in the All Star Game:
Here's the Home Run leaders in the All Star Game in which 175 total home runs have been hit, leading up to Tuesday's game in St. Louis: (the first All Star Game home run was hit by Babe Ruth)
Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com for the stats information!