Sunday, February 9th, 2014

July 6, 1933 — MLB’s First All Star Game

July 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Baseball History, Baseball Writing

Arch Ward, a sports editor for the Chicago Tribune, came up with the idea for the game, originally called “Game of the Century”  to coincide with the celebration of the city’s “Century of Progress” Exposition.  By the 1930′s, baseball had already established itself as America’s favorite pastime and the national exposition provided the perfect stage to introduce baseball’s best to the rest of the country. 

The game was originally conceived as a single, one-time event to help lift the spirits of a country during our Great Depression.  However, its enormous popularity made the game an annual event. The game was held July 6, 1939 at Comiskey Park in Chicago.

The game was scheduled for a day when both leagues had no games scheduled. Retired Giants manager John McGraw was chosen to manage the National League, while Athletics manager Connie Mack led the American League.
 
“There were 47,595 fans in the stands, all eager to see a novel concept in action—action that would be performed by the most glittering assemblage of ball playing talent ever brought together on the diamond at one time,” describes The Sporting News.   
There was one player in particular who excited fans and players alike. “We wanted to see the Babe,” said NL starting pitcher Bill Hallahan. “Sure, he was old and had a big waistline, but that didn’t make any difference. We were on the same field as Babe Ruth.”
 
The first run was scored in the second inning, when AL starting pitcher Lefty Gomez drove in Jimmie Dykes with a single. In the next inning, Ruth gave fans what they came to see, hitting a two-run homer into the right-field stands. The crowd were said to have “roared in acclamation” for the homer, according to Baseball Almanac.
 
The AL went on the win the game 4-2, bolstered by Ruth’s home run, Jimmy Dyke’s two hits, and 7 inning of two run pitching by Lefty Gomez, the winning pitcher.  The National League was led by the  ”Fordham Flash”, Frankie Frisch of the Cardinals, who had two hits, including a home run and two hits by Bill Terry, the HoF first baseman of the NY Giants.
 
 Game Details Courtesy of Baseball Reference.com 

1933 All Star Game Book (to be released in Augusts 2010)

The Day All the Stars Come Out by Lew Freedman (to be released in August 2010) chronicles the Chicago Tribune’s early advocacy for the All Star contest through every play, and describes the later accomplishments of many of the individuals involved.  Freedman has authored over 20 sports books, including biographies of Early Wynn and Harvey Haddix.

 

 

 

The story of Babe Ruth’s  Home Run Ball

In the bottom of the third inning, Babe Ruth smacked a two run home run off of National League pitcher Bill Hallahan. As the first home run in All-Star Game history sailed toward right field, the fans went wild.

Earl Brown managed to get his hands on two tickets to that 1933 All-Star Baseball Game at Chicago’s Comiskey Park.  Brown had to be there. He was courting his girlfriend Mae at the time and this game was one more way to score points. Becoming part of history was not something he expected.

What added to the ball’s mystique was a period newspaper account describing exactly what happened that day. “The most prized memento of Baseball’s ‘game of the century’ played Thursday in Comiskey Park,” was the ball which Babe Ruth clouted into the stands for the two runs,” the newspaper reported. “The Ruthian circuit blow sailed the ball in question directly into the hands of Earl Brown.” 

On July 11, 2006, the baseball went on the block at Hunt Auctions All-Star Fanfest auction held in Pittsburgh, Pa.  The lot included Earl Brown’s ticket stub to the game, a newspaper box score and summary of what happened, a notarized letter from Brown’s wife and the home run baseball.   The Babe Ruth vintage baseball and accompanying items sold for $805,000.

From All Star Game Program

 

Video of lady who attended the 1933 All Star Game

 

All Star Game Firsts

  • American League manager Connie Mack, National League manager John McGraw,
  • American League and All-Star home run Babe Ruth, National League home run Frankie Frisch.
  • Did you know that the first run batted in during an All-Star Game was by a pitcher? That historic RBI belongs to Lefty Gomez who singled in Jimmie Dykes during the second inning.
  • The first stolen base went to Charlie Gehringer, sacrifice hit to Rick Ferrell, and pinch hitter to Lefty O’Doul who grounded out for Jimmie Wilson in the sixth.

Sources

  • http://www.baseball-almanac.com/asgbox/yr1933as.shtmltwo
  • http://www.baseball-almanac.com/asgbox/07061933.shtml
  • http://www.liveauctiontalk.com/free_article_detail.php?article_id=689
  • http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ALS/ALS193307060.shtml
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