Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Random All Star moments...

                                Every time the All Star game comes around, people start waxing poetic about All Star games past. The same moments always always get mentioned; Carl Hubbel striking out five Hall of famers in a row in 1934, Ted William's walk-off homer in the '41 midsummer game and so on...The '50s had an odd moment, when Cincinnati Reds fans stuffed the ballot in '57 and seven of their players were elected to start, although Mays and Aaron were later put into replace two of the Reds outfielders.  The '60s had not one, but TWO All Star games each year for a short time (59-62), one mid season, one at the end, so it was confusing as to what happened in either game (Most famous moment during this time was Stu Miller getting blown off the mound in 1962's second game , due to the high winds at San Fransisco's Candlestick park).

                I was barely a year old when Pete Rose crashed into Ray Fosse, effectively ending Fosse's career in the 1970 game.  If I had to come up with my first All Star memory, it would have to be in 1979, when the Pirates Dave Parker made a perfect throw to the Expos Gary Carter, nailing Brian Downing of the Angels at the plate. (Although it was a great throw, it was aided by maybe one of the worst slides I had ever seen by Downing).  I remember the '83 game being a big deal because the AL had won for the first time in over a decade, thanks to a grand slam by California's Fred Lynn, which came soon after a two run shot by former team mate Jim Rice of the Red Sox.  The offensive outburst came at the expense of the NL starter Atlee Hammaker, who was never the same after the experience.

            The only mid summer classic held at Fenway in my lifetime was in 1999.  Most people will remember three things about it...1) the home run hitting contest the day before, in which Mark McGuire and Ken Griffey Junior looked like a couple of kids playing wiffle ball, as ball after ball was crushed.  I'm surprised the local Giant Glass company didn't sponsor it, as many a car windshield must have been shattered in the parking lot behind the green monster, as well as unsuspecting drivers on the Mass. Pike. 2) The pregame had the All Century team, which concluded with Ted Williams coming out and all the players surrounding...I'll admit it, I cried.  3) The actual game featured Boston's own Pedro Martinez doing his best Carl Hubbel Impression, striking out a future Hall of famer, tow that may some day make it, and two who may never because of PED...(I'll give you a hint: I already mentioned one of them)

                However, my biggest memory of that game wasn't any of the above, nor was it Smashmouth doing the song "All Star" over and over again for soundcheck-my friend Jim lived across the street from the park at the time-No, the most enduring memory was right before the game, when the P.A. announcer, sporting a wicked thick Boston accent said "Ladies and gentlemen, here to sing our National anthem, Boston's own, DONNER SUMMA...

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