MLB Allstar Game Brings Back Memories

An All Star game is by its very definition merely an exhibition.  Every sport has some sort of a game to honor the sports best of that particular season but I’m of the opinion that The Major League All Star game is the best of them all.  My enjoyment of the game has ebbed a bit in recent years but it  is still appointment TV for me.  I fill out my All-Star game ballot, as I have ever  since I was a teenager,.  and I still watch every year to see if the Royals token representative will see playing time    With the 2011 game scheduled for next Tuesday, I was inspired to think of my top five favorite All Star moments. 

1970….Pete Rose runs over Ray Fosse.  The play remains vivid in my mind.  Jim Hickman singles to center…Amos Otis comes up throwing…3rd base coach Leo Durocher…wves Pete Rose home…The ball and the runner arrive at the same and Pete Rose bowls over Ray Fosse a promising young catcher. The play gave the National League a 5 to 4 victory.   For Rose it was a signature moment in a Hall of Fame career.  For Fosse he was never the same player and never fulfilled the promise he had as a 23 year old catcher.

 1971….When I was a teenager the National League always won the All Star Game, but not this year.   A young Reggie Jackson hit the longest homerun in All Star game history.  Appearing in the game as pinch hitter Reggie hit a Dock Ellis slider not just out of the park but nearly out of Tiger Stadium.  If the ball hadn’t hit a light transformer 100 feet above the field it is estimated that the home run would have measured 532 feet. 

1989 Bo Knows Baseball…….It was a moment when marketing and performance met.  Nike was set to unveil a shoe commercial showing Bo Jackson playing guitar with Bo Diddley.  As luck would have it Bo seized the moment with a jaw dropping homerun to center field.  Bo was a legendary athelete whose career was made up of moments of greatness.  This was probably the highlight of Bo’s baseball career.  A few years later he hurt his hip playing football and was never the same player. 

 1999…Ted Williams steals the Show…  I was too young to have witnessed any of Ted Williams career moments.  But a tear came to my eye the year that baseball honored the All Century team at the 1999 All Star game.    Escorted to the field in Fenway Park ,Williams stood up long enough to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.  He enjoyed the cheers of the players on the field and recieved his last standing ovation from the fans in Fenway, where he played for 19 glorious seasons.

1986…Dick Howser’sl ast game.  This one is entirely personal.   Dick Howser the manager of 1985 World Champion Kansas City Royals complained of being sick before the game.  During the game it was obvious something was wrong, as he kept messing up signals when he was changing pitchers.  The game ,won by the AL, was to be the last game he ever managed.  Several days later he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and he died less than a year later.

If these All Star moments interest you, I suggest you browse these books in the Library’s collection.  Bo Knows Bo, by Dick Schaap.  Reggie Jackson: The Life and Thunderous Career of Baseballs Mr. October, by Dayn Perry.  Baseballs 25 Greatest Moments, by Ron Smith.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Sports Trivia, Friday Night July 22, from 6:00-8:30. Form a team of up to eight people to compete against other area sports enthusiasts. Ten rounds of ten questions from all over the sports world, past and present, with prizes awarded for the top three teams.  Registration is required and can be done in person at the Red Carpet Desk, by phone at 580-4545, or by email at nhohl@tscpl.org.  We look forward to seeing you there!

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