With the 2015 MLB All Star Game just ahead, BBRT would like to devote another post to All Star game history. This time, taking a look at the very first All Star Game – played at Chicago’s Comiskey Park on July 6, 1933 – and some of the “firsts” from that game. In that initial All Star match-up – won by the American League 4-2 – the starting lineups included eleven Hall of Famers (seven for the AL and four for the NL). There were another nine future HOFers on the bench (four for the NL, five for the AL). Both managers – John McGraw (NL) and Connie Mack (AL) were headed for the Hall, as were three of the four coaches. The stage was clearly set for some memorable, big-name All Star Game “firsts” – like Babe Ruth hitting the first AS Game round tripper.
Babe Ruth, appropriately, smacked the first-ever All Star Game home run.
We’ll take a look at all the firsts from that first All Star gathering, but let me lead off with a curve ball, and take a look at some AS Game “first and only(s)” that did not take place in 1933. Here are three baseball happenings that, to date, have happened just once in All Star competition.
- Steal of Home: 1934 AS game, fifth inning, two out, two on, NL trailing 8-6 – NL 3B Pie Traynor (Pirates) notches the first (and still only) AS Game steal of home. (AL won game 9-7.)
- Grand Slam: 1983 All Star Game, third inning, bases loaded, two outs, AL leading 5-1, AL CF Fred Lynn hits first – and still only – AS Game Grand Slam. (AL wins 13-3).
Fred Lynn – Only ASG Grand Slam
- Inside-the-Park Home Run: 2007 All Star Game, fifth inning, one on, one out, AL CF Ichiro Suzuki hits first – and still only – AS Game inside-the-park home run.
Now, here’s a dozen AS Game firsts from 1933.
- First batter/pitcher matchup: NL 3B Pepper Martin (Cardinals) versus Lefty Gomez (Yankees). Gomez retired Martin on a grounder to shortstop.
- First starting pitchers: AL, Lefty Gomez (Yankees) – NL, Bill Hallahan (Cardinals). Gomez got the first All Star win, Hallahan the first loss.
- First hit: Cardinals’ Chick Hafey (leading off second inning – off the Yankees’ Lefty Gomez). Hafey was starting in LF and batting fourth for the NL.
- First run scored: AL starting 3B Jimmy Dykes (White Sox).
- First RBI: AL starting pitcher Lefty Gomez (Yankees) – drove home Jimmy Dykes (White Sox), who had walked, with a single to center field. Take that, DH Rule.
- First double: Pie Traynor (Pirates), NL pinch hitter – top of seventh off Lefty Grove (Yankees).
- First triple: NL pitcher Lon Warneke (Cubs) – top of the sixth inning off Alvin Crowder (Senators). Take that again, DH Rule.
- First home run: AL RF Babe Ruth (Yankees), two-run home run, bottom of the third, off Bill Hallahan (Cardinals).
- First walk: Bottom of first. Hitter – AL 2B Charlie Gehringer (Tigers). Pitcher – Bill Hallahan (Cardinals).
- First stolen base: Bottom of first, AL 2B Charlie Gehringer (Tigers).
- First strikeout: Final out, top of second. Pitcher – Lefty Gomez (Yankees). Hitter – NL SS Dick Bartell (Phillies).
- First fielding error: Top of the fifth, AL 1B Lou Gehrig (Yankees).
Here’s hoping we see a record-setting performance at the 2015 All Star Game. From this viewpoint, the best All Star competition in any sport.