ALL-STAR BASEBALL: Since 1933 by Robert Obojski


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A game-by-game account of every All-Star Baseball contest from the 1933 opener at Chicago's Comiskey Park--with Babe Ruth's two-run homer pacing the American League to a 4-2 win--through 1979 when Lee Mazzilli of the Mets walked in the top of the ninth at Seattle's Kingdome, forcing in the run that gave the Senior Circuit its 31st victory in 50 outings. (The American League has won 18 times, and the second game in 1961--there were two a year during the 1959-62 period--ended in a 1-1 tie.) There have been, as the author recounts, some memorable moments in the ""midsummer classic"": Carl Hubbel's consecutive strikeouts of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin in 1934; Ted Williams' three-run homer in the last of the ninth that gave the AL a 7-5 win in 1941; and the batting heroics of Steve Garvey, a write-in starter, in 1974. Unfortunately, for all his enthusiasm and diamond-in-the-rough clichÉs--blazing fastballs, crafty veterans, tape-measure blasts, close decisions, etc.--Obojski can't make cash-on-the-line showcases into dramatic contests. (""You can't judge the relative merits of either league on the basis of the All-Star Game,"" notes one player, ""because it's an exhibition and there's no money involved. Players don't get all excited playing for the pension fund. . . ."") In any event, the first All-Star Game was organized by Arch Ward, sports editor of the Chicago Tribune, strictly as a one-shot promotional adjunct to the Windy City's Century of Progress Exposition. Team owners kept the revenue-raising contest on the mid-season schedule, though, since fans seemed to enjoy the match-up of best against best; at least they cast more votes to select the starting line-ups than in any but a presidential election. For those among them who want pictures, highlight replays, and complete box scores of every All-Star Game to date, this illustrated text could be just the ticket.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1980
Publisher: Stein & Day