Major League Baseball All-Star Game

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Major League Baseball All-Star Game
2009 MLB All-Star Players.jpg
2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
FrequencyAnnual
Location(s)Varies (see prose)
Inaugurated1933
Most recentJuly 15, 2014 (Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States)
Previous eventJuly 16, 2013 (Citi Field, Queens, New York, United States)
Next eventJuly 14, 2015 (Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States)
ParticipantsAmerican League and National League baseball players
Organized byMajor League Baseball
 
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"Midsummer Classic" redirects here. For the NASCAR race at Eldora Speedway, see Mudsummer Classic.
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
2009 MLB All-Star Players.jpg
2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
FrequencyAnnual
Location(s)Varies (see prose)
Inaugurated1933
Most recentJuly 15, 2014 (Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States)
Previous eventJuly 16, 2013 (Citi Field, Queens, New York, United States)
Next eventJuly 14, 2015 (Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States)
ParticipantsAmerican League and National League baseball players
Organized byMajor League Baseball

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, also known as the "Midsummer Classic", is an annual baseball game sanctioned by Major League Baseball (MLB) between professional players from the National League and the American League, currently selected by fans for starting fielders, by managers for pitchers, and by managers and players for reserves.

The game usually occurs on either the second or third Tuesday in July, and is meant to mark a symbolic halfway-point in the MLB season (though not the mathematical halfway-point which, for most seasons, is usually found within the previous calendar week). Both of the major leagues share a common All-Star break, with no regular-season games scheduled on the day before or the day after the day of the All-Star Game itself. Some additional events and festivities associated with the game take place each year close to and during this break in the regular season. For a brief period in MLB history, two All-Star games had been held during each of the four seasons 1959 through 1962, but this format was subsequently abandoned.

MLB All-Star Game results (1933–present)[edit]

Venues[edit]

The venue for each All-Star Game is chosen by a MLB selection committee. This choice may be made to commemorate a particular historical occasion, the opening of a new ballpark, or a significant year. The Minnesota Twins successfully bid for the 2014 All-Star Game in their home ballpark, Target Field, which was opened in 2010; before they last hosted recently in 2014, the Twins had not hosted the All-Star Game since 1985.

Although the game's venue traditionally alternates between the two leagues from year to year, this tradition has been broken twice in past seasons: 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 hosted an All-Star Game. That scheduling paved the way for the 2008 game to be held in an American League venue, (the original) Yankee Stadium in (the) Bronx, New York, to historically mark its final season (the Yankees moved to a newer stadium the following season). 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 chosen to host it in odd-numbered years.

The 2015 All-Star Game will be played at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio, home of the Cincinnati Reds.

The first All-Star Game was held as part of the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago, Illinois, at Comiskey Park and was the brainchild of Arch Ward, then sports editor for the Chicago Tribune.[1] 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.[2]

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 NL'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 two Major League Baseball franchises have never hosted an All-Star Game: the Miami Marlins (although initially scheduled to host the game in 2000, MLB moved the game to Atlanta), and the Tampa Bay Rays. Though the Washington Nationals franchise haven't yet hosted the game in their current home ballpark, they did host one when they were the Montreal Expos; All-Star games have been played in D.C. however, having been hosted by both (past) incarnations of the former Washington Senators (now known as the Minnesota Twins and as the Texas Rangers).

Of the remaining 28 franchises, the New York Mets had gone the longest period without hosting since their sole hosting duty in 1964, but this streak came to an end in 2013. The Dodgers are now the team with the longest active hosting drought (since 1980).

Eighteen teams have hosted an All-Star Game at least twice since 1964: 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), Kansas City Royals (1973 and 2012), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1967, 1989, and 2010), Milwaukee Brewers (1975 and 2002), Minnesota Twins (1965, 1985, and 2014), New York Yankees (1977 and 2008), 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), St. Louis Cardinals (1966 and 2009), and Washington Senators / Texas Rangers (1969 and 1995).

New stadiums that have not hosted the All-Star Game in markets that have hosted it previously are: Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PETCO Park in San Diego, Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., and the new Yankee Stadium in New York. However, one such ballpark has been selected for an upcoming All-Star Game: Great American Ball Park will host in 2015.

Following the game at the first Yankee Stadium in 2008 (the stadium's final MLB season), the Bronx's old stadium joined Cleveland's old Cleveland Stadium (also known as Municipal Stadium prior to its own demolition) as the only venues that hosted four Major League Baseball All-Star games.

Rosters[edit]

Managers[edit]

Selection of managers and coaches[edit]

Normally the managers of the game are the managers of the previous year's league pennant winners. 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 Series. In 1974, he became manager of the California Angels, whose uniform he wore for the game. Tony LaRussa, who managed the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, and retired after the season, came back to manage the National League in 2012.

In 1979, Bob Lemon managed the American League team after having been fired by New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Lemon led the Yankees to the 1981 World Series but did not make it to the '82 All-Star Game as manager after again being fired by Steinbrenner, so Billy Martin, skipper of the 1981 AL runner-up Oakland Athletics, led the All-Star squad.

There have been some 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.

Because of the season-ending 1994-95 MLBPA strike where the season was abandoned without official league champions, the 1995 game featured the "unofficial" league champions, the managers of the clubs leading their respective leagues' won-loss records, Buck Showalter of the New York Yankees and Felipe Alou of the Montreal Expos for the All-Star Game.

Selection of players[edit]

Until 2009, each league's All-Star team consisted of 32 players. On July 1, 2009, the MLB added a 33rd player to each league's team roster.

On April 28, 2010, MLB announced several rules changes for future All-Star games, effective with the 2010 edition.[3]

The players for each league's team are selected through the following process:

History of player selection methods[edit]

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, but 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 the 1959-1962 seasons, 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. Oft-heard remarks prior to this time included ones such as "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. 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.[6]

Since 2002, the final roster selection has been made by the public via the All-Star Final Vote.[7]

Until 2003, reserves and pitchers were chosen by the manager. Player voting was re-introduced in 2003 after 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. The following year, MLB announced that an extra position player would be added to each roster for the 2010 game and beyond, bringing the total to 34 for each league.[3]

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. Supporters of the rule point out that this prevents the large-market teams from totally dominating the squad, and keeps fan and media interest in the game, as fans would not be interested in the game if their team did not have any players involved. Opponents of the rule contend that the purpose of the game is to spotlight Major League Baseball's best players, and that some players from stronger teams are left off the roster in favor of possibly less deserving players from weaker teams.

Both these arguments are strengthened by the greater urgency of winning the game, due to the rule that the winning league attains home field advantage in the World Series. A number of compromises have been suggested in the sports/news media as measures to mitigate these selection issues, including limiting the number of representatives a particular team could have; or requiring only that a certain percentage of the 30 teams be represented; or expanding the size of the All-Star rosters.

The only exception is if a team trades its lone All-Star before the game; in this case, its league's All-Star Game manager is not required to include another player from that team.[8]

Stuffing the ballot box[edit]

In 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds stuffed the ballot box and elected 7 Reds players to start in the All-Star Game: Johnny Temple (2B), Roy McMillan (SS), Don Hoak (3B), Ed Bailey (C), Frank Robinson (LF), Gus Bell (CF), and Wally Post (RF), and the only non-Red elected to start for the National League was St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Stan Musial. While the Reds were a great offensive team, most baseball observers agreed that they did not deserve seven starters in the All-Star Game. An investigation ordered by Commissioner Ford Frick showed that over half of the ballots cast came from Cincinnati, as 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 for their favorite stars.

Commissioner Ford Frick appointed Willie Mays of the New York Giants and Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves to substitute for Reds players Gus Bell and Wally Post, and took fan voting rights away in future games; Bell was kept as a reserve, while Post was injured and would have been unable to play in any event. Managers, players, and coaches picked the entire team until 1969, when the vote for starters again returned to the fans; to prevent a repeat of this incident, since 1970 until the start of internet voting, each team has been given the same number of ballots to hand out. In 1998, that number was roughly 400,000 ballots.

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.[9][10][11] Steinbach wound up being named the game's Most Valuable Player, hitting a home run and a sacrifice fly to get both RBIs in a 2–1 win.[12]

Since the dawn of the internet age, online voting has again led to ballot stuffing. In 1999, Chris Nandor, a Red Sox fan, utilized a simple computer program to vote for Nomar Garciaparra over 39,000 times. Upon discovery, MLB disallowed the votes.[13] Major League Baseball assures that they have taken precautions to guard against this.[citation needed]

Designated hitter[edit]

In 1989, a designated hitter was allowed in the All-Star Game for the first time. Until 2010, the designated hitter rule was applied based on the league in which the host team plays; it was used for games played in American League ballparks – in each such instance, both teams used a designated hitter – while in National League ballparks, lineups have scheduled the pitcher to hit, though pinch hitters have almost always been used. In 2010, Major League Baseball announced the designated hitter rule would apply for every All-Star Game; while the 2010 game was already to have the DH, the 2011 game was the first played in a National League park with a DH.[3]

Most Valuable Player Award[edit]

The 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 renamed 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[edit]

Since the first game, American League players have worn their respective team uniforms rather than wearing uniforms made specifically for the game, while National League players waited until the second game to do this. In the first game, they wore uniforms made for it with the lettering "NATIONAL LEAGUE" across the front of the shirt.[14]

During the games of the 1970s and 1980s, alternate jerseys were commonly worn by players from the Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. When the late 1980s and early 1990s approached, fewer alternates were worn for the games. They were back in use for the 1992 game by White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell and infielder Robin Ventura, and for the final time in the 1997 game by Seattle Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey Jr..[citation needed] Game-specific uniforms are made every year, but are not worn for the game itself. Instead they are worn during batting practice and the Home Run Derby.

Tie games, rain delays and home-field advantage in World Series[edit]

See also: Home advantage

The first tie in an All-Star Game occurred on July 31, 1961 at Fenway Park in Boston when the game was called at 1–1 after nine innings due to rain; the only other rain-shortened game (5 innings) as of 2012 was in 1952, but the National League defeated the American League, 3–2.

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 that the game would end after 11 innings, and it ended in a 7–7 tie. The crowd booed and threw beer bottles onto the field, and the media were highly critical of this unsatisfactory 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 and 2004.[5] Since then, the agreement had been extended twice, in 2005 and 2006, and has been made permanent.[15]

Previously, home-field advantage in the World Series alternated between the two leagues each year. The American League took advantage of the new rule in each of its first seven years: between 2003 and 2009, the American League won four series and the National League won three. The National League champion benefited from this rule for the first time in 2010.

Even under this new rule, there is no guarantee that a repeat of the 2002 situation will not occur; to avoid future ties due to lack of available players, managers have been instructed to (and have voluntarily) hold back a few select position players and pitchers. This has resulted in some fan dissatisfaction and controversy when these players are never actually used in the game, for example Tim Wakefield in the 2009 All-Star Game. Such a move 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 leaving teams with the situation where no players are available, as was the case in 2002. Starting with the 2010 game, each league's manager is allowed to designate one position player who can re-enter the game to replace an injured or ejected player at any position, in addition to the existing rule covering catchers.[3][16][17]

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, but it would be extremely difficult to find such a make-up date in any event as 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, the latter which would be unfair to teams involved in that series. However, there is an off day for all teams the day after the All-Star Game, and if necessary, the game could be finished in the morning or afternoon on Wednesday if the situation warranted it.

Winning streaks; run totals; longest games[edit]

85 All-Star games have been played (including two games per year from 1959–1962), with the National League winning 43, the American League 40, and 2 ties. The All-Star Game has seen several "eras" in which one league tended to dominate. From 1933 to 1949, the American League won 12 out of the first 16. The National League dominated from 1950 to 1987, winning 33 of 42 with 1 tie. This included a stretch from 1963 to 1982 when it won 19 of 20, including 11 in a row from 1972 to 1982. Since 1988 the American League has dominated, winning 20 of 27 with 1 tie, including a 13 game unbeaten streak (12–0–1) from 1997 to 2009.

As of the 2014 All-Star Game, the cumulative run totals for all 85 games played was 704 – closely split between the leagues – with 349 runs for the American League and 355 for the National League.[18]

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.

Scheduling[edit]

Since 1963, the All-Star game (ASG) has been played on a Tuesday in July every year except three:

The game was played at night for the first time in 1942, at the Polo Grounds, located in New York City, New York. Since 1970 every ASG has been played under the lights, though when held at venues near enough to the west coast, the game has usually starts in daylight due to the late-afternoon hour scheduled for its first pitch.

In 1945, with severe wartime travel restrictions in effect, the 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 through 1962. The second game was added to raise money for the MLB players' pension funds, as well as other causes. The experiment was later abandoned on the grounds that having two games watered down the appeal of the event.[19]

In 1981, the game was moved from July to August, after the middle portion of the 1981 season, including the scheduled All-Star break, had been erased due to the MLB players' strike. To promote the resumption of the season, the game (in Cleveland) was moved from its original July date to August 9. Second-half regular-season play began the next afternoon with a game in Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Other events connected with the game[edit]

Since 1985, the Home Run Derby, a contest among 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 broadcast after the Derby.)

Since 2002, the ESPY Awards ceremony has been conducted on the Wednesday in July following the 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 used to air on the subsequent Sunday five days later, with the results announced on ESPN.com and thereafter across media outlets immediately after taping was complete. In 2010, the ESPY Awards were shown live for the first time since 2003.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "All-Star Game History". Baseball Almanac. 
  2. ^ Newman, Mark (July 10, 2006). "All-Star MVP Awaits Your Vote". Major League Baseball. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Stephens, Bailey (April 28, 2010). "Modifications in Place for All-Star Game". Major League Baseball. Retrieved April 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ Newman, Mark (April 18, 2007). "Voting Under Way for 78th All-Star Game". Major League Baseball. Retrieved May 27, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b Chass, Murray (May 2, 2003). "Players Union Accepts Change to the All-Star Game". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Database (undated). "Most Valuable Player Winners". Major League Baseball. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  7. ^ "Postseason Feel to All-Star Final Vote: Several Members of Potential Playoff Clubs Dot Ballot". Major League Baseball. July 4, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010. 
  8. ^ Behrens, Andy (July 9, 2009). "Pirates Looking To Trade Freddy Sanchez, Their Only All-Star". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved July 19, 2009. 
  9. ^ "1998 Cubs vs. Giants One Game Playoff". Sporting News.
  10. ^ [unreliable source?] Letter to editor (July 9, 1989). "All-Star Voting Dismays a Fan". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  11. ^ [full citation needed] The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. July 13, 1988. Page: D/1.
  12. ^ "1998 All-Star Game". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  13. ^ Rovell, Darren (June 27, 2001). "Cyber-Stuffing Remains Threat to All-Star Voting". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  14. ^ Buchanan, Lamont (1951). The World Series and Highlights of Baseball. E. P. Dutton. p. 120. OCLC 1478115. 
  15. ^ [dead link] "All-Star Game To Affect '06 World Series". Sporting News. Associated Press. June 20, 2006. Retrieved October 24, 2006. 
  16. ^ "Pujols Frustrated Not To Get into All-Star Game". ESPN.com. July 11, 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Pujols Says Relationship Intact with La Russa". ESPN.com. Associated Press. July 12, 2007. Retrieved July 11, 2012. 
  18. ^ Hoynes, Paul (July 11, 2007). "All-Star Chatter". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved July 12, 2007. 
  19. ^ Sandomir, Richard (July 15, 2008). "When Midsummer Had Two Classics". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2008. 

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