The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
5 Things You Should Know About the MLB All-Star Game

Baseball’s mid-summer All-Star Game classic is one of sport’s highlights each season.  It’s a chance for baseball fans to vote for their favorite players to fill out the game’s starting lineups.  The event also generates a lot of excitement with it Futures Game featuring baseball’s top prospects and the ever-popular Home Run Derby.  This year’s contest in Miami was the 88th occurrence of the exhibition game, providing another chapter in the long history of the event.

Below are five facts about some of the history of the popular event.

  1. The American League’s 2-1 win over the National League last Tuesday marked the 5th straight win for the junior league.  The classic is no stranger to experiencing winning streaks.  The American League won 13 straight from 1997 to 2009.  The National League won 11 consecutive games from 1972 to 1982 and held another winning streak of 8 games from 1963 to 1970.  Despite these streaks, however, the overall record for all years is currently a dead-even tie, 43-43 and two tied games.

  2. Baseball’s first All-Star Game was held in 1933, spear-headed by Chicago sportswriter and promoter Arch Ward.  He suggested the concept of all-star teams representing the National and American leagues to play in an exhibition game to support the players’ pension fund.  Also, since the time was during the Great Depression, Ward felt the sport needed to show “it was not in a state of decadence.”  Before a crowd of over 47,000 fans in Comiskey Park, Babe Ruth appropriately hit the first home run in the game and powered the American League to a 4-2 win.

  3. The All-Star Game was cancelled in 1945 due to war-time travel restrictions in the Unites States during World War II.  Before the season, it was agreed by league officials that there would be no All-Star Game, but instead cities with two major league clubs (New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and St. Louis) would host inter-league exhibition games as charity events to minimize travel.  After Germany surrendered on May 7, there was a proposal by the Army Special Services on Entertainment to play an all-star game in Nuremberg Stadium Germany featuring overseas major-league players, but that plan was ultimately nixed by major-league officials.

  4. From 1959 to 1962, there were two all-star games played each season. Major League Baseball broke from tradition in 1959 by playing two games, on July 7 in Pittsburgh and August 3 in Los Angeles, in an attempt to increase the coffers of the players’ pension fund.  One of the more memorable games during this timeframe occurred in 1961 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.  In a stadium known for its extreme windy conditions, National League pitcher Stu Miller, a smallish player at only 165 pounds, reportedly was blown off the mound during one of his windups and a balk was called on him.  The National League won the game in the 10th inning when Roberto Clemente hit a walk-off single to score Willie Mays.

  5. This year’s game no longer had significance for determining the home-field advantage for the World Series, a practice started in 2003 by Commissioner Bud Selig after the 2002 game ended in a tie after 11 innings.  Selig wanted to assure the game maintained its relevance, but many baseball officials and analysts were critical of this approach because it bore no relation to the regular season results of the teams playing in the World Series.  Of the 13 World Series to have home-field determined by the outcome of the All-Star Game, the home team won 10 of them.  These results illustrate the significance of the home-field advantage in the Fall Classic.  One of new baseball commissioner Rob Manfred’s changes was to eliminate the use of the All-Star Game as the mechanism for deciding which World Series participant holds the home-field advantage. Now, the All-Star Game determines only bragging rights for the winning league.

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