The Mid-Summer Classic is something fans across Major League Baseball eagerly await every season. It’s an incredibly fun exposition of the League’s most elite talent and even holds a stake in the Fall Classic as it decides which League will have home field advantage. This year’s addition will be the 86th in MLB history, and from those, here are the 5 moments that stand out the most (according to yours truly of course).
#5: 15 inning marathon in the Bronx (2008)
The 2008 MLB season saw Baseball wave goodbye to Old Yankee Stadium, and the final All-Star game in the House That Babe Built was truly memorable. A 4:50 duration made it the longest in MLB history in terms of time and its 15 innings tied it for longest in that regard. The AL triumphed over the NL in the bottom of the 15th 4-3 thanks to a Michael Young sacrifice fly. Boston’s JD Drew was named MVP for his 2-run shot in the 7th which tied it and helped set-up the iron-man match. The marathon contest and its memorable pre-game ceremony with the MLB’s All-Time greats helped make this Mid-Summer Classic one of the greatest ever.
#4: Stalemate at Miller Park (2002)
Yes, this moment is not memorable in the positive sense, but nonetheless it still makes the list because no one will ever forget the controversial end to the 2002 game in Milwaukee. Knotted at 7 in the bottom of the 11th inning, Commissioner Bud Selig and Managers Joe Torre and Bob Brenly met and decided to call the game a draw if the NL couldn’t walk-off in the inning, seeing as both Leagues had only one pitcher remaining. The NL came close but could not get it done against Seattle’s Freddy Garcia and the game ended in a 7-7 tie. The reaction from the Milwaukee crowd was extremely negative as the fans rained down boos and chants of “let them play” throughout the final half-inning. No MVP was named and the field was littered with garbage thrown from the stands. Selig and the MLB garnered intense heat as a result and the game goes down as one of the worst ever played. But, everyone remembers it well.
#3: Pedro puts on a show (1999)
The last All-Star game of the 20th century was played at Fenway Park in Boston. The introduction of the All-Century team before the game and the emotional return of Ted Williams to Fenway gave the game a big time feel. AL starter and home town representative Pedro Martinez was in the midst of one of the greatest seasons in MLB history at the time, and he took the mound and dazzled the 34,187 in attendance. Ks of 5 of the first 6 batters (the one that reached was later caught stealing by Ivan Rodriguez) got Fenway buzzing in a way it hadn’t in a long time. The AL edged the NL 4-1 and Martinez was named MVP in the third of 13 straight victories for the AL. Fans around the MLB have praised the game and it stands out as one of the best ever in many aspects, partly in thanks to Pedro.
#2: Farewell, Captain (2014)
The 2014 Mid-Summer Classic in Minnesota was the 14th and final for Derek Jeter, one of the most beloved and respected players in MLB history. Jeter was elected to start his final All-Star game, in which he had 2 hits and scored a run. When Alexi Ramirez replaced him at SS in the top of the 4th, the Captain of all of Baseball walked off the field by himself to a standing ovation from the 41,048 at Target Field that lasted a few minutes. Jeter simply responded the way he did throughout his entire career, with respect and class, tipping his hat to the crowd and saying thank you. Every player on the field and in both dugouts clapped for the Captain as he said goodbye to the fans. It was a bittersweet moment in the sense that Jeter would never be seen in a ASG again, but it will be a lasting image in the history of the game.
#1: Williams’ Walk-Off
In the 1941 All-Star Game at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Ted Williams stood in in the bottom of the 9th with two men on and the AL trailing by one, 5-4. He worked Pitcher Claude Passeau of the Cubs to a 2-1 count. The next pitch was a waist-high fast ball, and Williams would not disappoint, cracking it into the upper Right Field grandstand to give the AL a dramatic 7-5 win. The Splinter danced around the bases and crossed home plate with a smile from ear to ear as he shook hands with his friend and rival Joe DiMaggio. 74 years ago this summer was that hit and it hasn’t lost any of its significance or legacy in all that time. Williams is undoubtedly one of the best of all time and he had a list of accomplishments a foot long. But, he will always stand out for that moment especially; the most famous home run in All-Star Game history and the most memorable moment of any as well.
Agree? Disagree? What moments make your list? Tweet at me and let me know.