After a hiatus in 2020, the MLB All-Star Game is back at Coors Field in Denver on July 13. The Midsummer Classic is the symbolic midway point of Major League Baseball’s season and has been a popular summer tradition since 1933.
The lineup is set through commissioner appointments and public voting, so fans get to watch their fantasy baseball teams from the American League and National League compete for bragging rights. As you count down the days, relive these four memorable moments in All-Star game history.
1941: Ted Williams hits a bottom of the ninth home run
Anyone in the crowd at Briggs Stadium in Detroit was present for a moment “pulled from the pages of a movie script,” according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The National League was ahead, 5-4, in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and two players on base, when Red Sox batter Ted Williams approached the plate. He was already a recognized offensive force on the field when he hit the ball over the right field wall to secure the win.
“I’ve never been so happy,” Williams said, according to BaseballHall.org. “Halfway down to first, seeing that ball going out, I stopped running and started leaping and jumping and clapping my hands, and I was so happy I laughed out loud.”
1999: Pedro Martinez strikes ‘em out
Martinez was in front of a hometown crowd at Fenway Park when he became the first pitcher in the event’s history to strike out the first three batters of the game.
“He entered the game with 182 strikeouts, worked his magic on the National League’s finest and struck out Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, and Sammy Sosa consecutively in the first inning,” according to Baseball Almanac.
In the second inning, Martinez struck out Mark McGwire and then managed a strike-‘em-out, throw-‘em-out double play when he struck out Jeff Bagwell, and catcher Ivan Rodriguez threw out Matt Williams.
2001: Cal Ripken Jr. plays his final All-Star Game
Ripken’s career spanned 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and included many awards, a 2,632-consecutive game streak, and 16 appearances in All-Star Games. In his final All-Star Game, third baseman Alex Rodriguez swapped positions with Ripken, so the legend could play his original shortstop position.
Then, when Ripken stepped up to the plate in the third inning, “the fans gave Cal one of the longest standing ovations ever bestowed on an All-Star player, and he tipped his batting helmet in appreciation,” according to Baseball Almanac. Ripken hit a home run on his first swing and ended up winning the game’s MVP award.
2008: Yankee Stadium hosts the All-Star Game in its final year
With the announcement that 2008 would be the final season the New York Yankees would play at their original stadium, it came as no surprise when it was announced as the All-Star Game venue.
That wasn’t the only special thing about the game, though. It ended up being the longest All-Star Game in history, at 4 hours and 50 minutes.
“It seemed like the stadium didn’t want it to end,” Derek Jeter said, according to Baseball Almanac. “That’s what we were talking about. It just wanted baseball to continue, and I thought it was fitting.”
Get excited for this year’s All-Star Game with fellow baseball fans at Sanderson Ford, where you can schedule your next service or shop new and used vehicles. For more information, visit SandersonFord.com.