The last 50 years have given us some great Mid-Summer Classics, but what are the best moments? There are many fantastic instances, but to fit in as many as possible, a few have to be combined.
Don’t be alarmed if your favorite moment is missed: plays like Chipper Jones’ last hit won’t be included because incredible players retire every year, and in Chipper’s case, he got aboard on Ian Kinsler letting a ground ball get by him for a “hit.” If you really feel as if a moment that should’ve been here wasn’t, remember that this is only a review of the last 50 All-Star Games, from the 38th in 1967 in Anaheim to last year’s 87th in San Diego. If you still feel left out, feel free to leave a comment about it and there will either be a response in the comments, or, provided there are enough requests, they will be responded to in another article.
5: Torii Hunter robs Barry Bonds 2002 in Milwaukee
In the 7-7 tie, the Minnesota Twins’ Torii Hunter was to take part of the blame for the draw. If it were not for his first inning play, robbing the San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds of a solo shot, the game would have ended in a National League victory. Of course, in the 2013 American League Championship Series, the Boston Red Sox David Ortiz and bullpen cop, Steve Horgan, made Hunter’s robbing a home run look like a fevered dream.
4: Randy Johnson vs. John Kruk and Larry Walker 1993 and ‘97 in Baltimore and Cleveland
These two count as one because both involved the Seattle Mariners’ Big Unit, Randy Johnson, embarrassing a National League left-handed star. In ‘93, the Philadelphia Phillies’ John Kruk took the stand and after Johnson fired one over his head, Kruk’s one hope was to not get killed at Camden Yards that day. The next few pitches, which led to a strikeout, involved spinning, twirling, and, yes, even some dancing as after he thankfully “swung” at strike three he promptly and joyfully tossed his bat and helmet aside with a major grin spread across his face.
It was a similar case with the Colorado Rockies’ Larry Walker in ‘97 when Johnson threw one over his head in Cleveland, only Walker took a different stance… literally. Walker, a lefty, took initiative and went to the right handed batter’s box. Walker only spent one pitch with his helmet backwards on the right side of the plate before going back, but thankfully for him, Johnson walked him.
3: Cal Ripken Jr. Homers In Final ASG 2001 in Seattle
Under different circumstances, such an occasion as a hit in a player’s final ASG would not be mentioned, but the Baltimore Orioles’ Cal Ripken Jr. went out in pretty historic fashion. The first pitch from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chan Ho Park looked good enough, and Ripken sent it into the left field stands. Ripken’s third inning shot stands above Hunter’s home run robbing grab and Randy Johnson making Kruk and Walker look silly at number 3.
2: Pedro Martinez Fans Five And The All-Century Team 1999 in Boston
The two great events at historic Fenway Park are combined into one unbelievable moment for this list. The pregame began with Red Sox’ Hall of Famer Ted Williams touring the field that he played on just over 50 years before and shaking the hands of all the all-stars on either team and with the present members of baseball’s “All-Century Team.” It was an incredible sight to see the greatest players in the world congregate around the then greatest living player inside baseball’s greatest ballpark.
Sox future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez started the game by doing the seemingly impossible: with the first four batters in the NL lineup being future Hall of Famers (in order) the Cincinnati Reds’ Barry Larkin, the Rockies’ Walker, the Chicago Cubs’ steroid age power hitter, Sammy Sosa, and the St. Louis Cardinals’ steroid age power hitter, Mark McGwire, getting through even a small portion of the lineup without a scratch looked to be a daunting task for Pedro. Pedro amazingly cut down Larkin, caught Walker looking, pushed another K past Sosa, and started off the second by making McGwire look like a Little Leaguer. While the next batter, the Arizona Diamondbacks Matt Williams reached base when the second baseman, the Cleveland Indians’ Roberto Alomar, made an error, Pedro lucked out when Williams was caught stealing second and the next batter, the Houston Astros’ Jeff Bagwell, struck out; an inning-ending double play.
1: Pete Rose Collides With Ray Fosse 1970 in Cincinnati
Imagine, if you will, you’re set and ready to receive the throw from the Kansas City Royals’ Amos Otis in the bottom of the 12th inning as the Cincinnati Reds’ Pete Rose barrels around third. You’re the Cleveland Indians’ catcher, and friend of Rose, Ray Fosse, and just as you’re about to put your glove on the ball to get ready to tag Charlie Hustle, he trucks you and steps on home plate as the walk-off, winning run while you topple backwards, doubled-over in pain.
The hometown Cincinnati crowd was excited to see their beloved Rose hustle his way to the winning run for the NL over the AL in the 1970 All-Star Game at Riverfront Stadium, but concern quickly arose after seeing Fosse be hurled backwards. Fortunately, he played another nine seasons, so he turned out to be okay, but every baseball fan knows about this historic moment. Rose’s collision with Fosse to win the ‘70 ASG in extra innings is not only the greatest and most famous All-Star Game play from the last 50 years, but perhaps the greatest and most famous All-Star Game play of all-time.
There have been many, many incredible plays, events, and moments in MLB ASG history and these are the top five from just the last 50 years; the first 37 All-Star Games aren’t even represented, here. Keeping that fact in mind, if you feel that an important moment was left out, please make yourself heard in the comments! Your feedback will be appreciated.
The next Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. Who knows, maybe there will be something from the game twelve days from now to report on net year’s list…