Major League Baseball AllStar Game

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The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is an annual exhibition baseball game between the best players from the National League and the American League. The All-Star Game usually occurs in early to mid-July and marks the symbolic halfway point in the Major League Baseball (MLB) season.

The first All-Star Game was held as part of the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago and was the brainchild of Arch Ward, then sports editor for The Chicago Tribune.

Choosing the Venue

The venue is chosen by Major League Baseball and traditionally alternates between the two leagues every year. (This tradition was first broken in 1951, when the Detroit Tigers were chosen to host the annual game as part of the city's Sesquibicentennial at Briggs Stadium, and will be broken again in 2007, when the San Francisco Giants will be the host for the 2007 All-Star Game. Pittsburgh Pirates will host the 2006 event. Both the Giants and the Pirates are NL teams.) The "home team" is the league in which the host franchise plays its games. The criteria for choosing the venue are subjective. For the most part, cities with new parks and cities who have not hosted the game in a long time tend to get the nod. In 2005, Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, hosted the "Midsummer Classic", as the All-Star Game is popularly nicknamed.

The designated hitter rule is applied based on the league in which the host team plays. In an American League ballpark, both teams use a Designated Hitter to hit for the pitcher. In a National League ballpark, both team's pitchers must hit.

The Teams

The manager for each league's team is the manager of the previous year's league champion. Note that this honor is applied to the person, not the team, so it's possible that the All-Star manager could no longer be with the team he won with (as happened in 2003, when Dusty Baker managed the National League team despite having moved from the champion San Francisco Giants to the Chicago Cubs in the off-season). The coaching staff is selected by the manager.

Each team consists of 32 players, selected in one of the following ways, listed in order:

  • Fan Voting: Baseball fans vote on the starting position players for the All-Star Game, with ballots distributed at baseball games before mid-season and, more recently, on the Internet. When the game is played at an American League park, the Designated hitter for the AL team is also selected in this manner.
  • Player Voting: As of 2005, pitchers and one back-up player for each position are elected by the other players. If the top vote-getter at a certain position is also being voted in via Fan Voting, then the second-place finisher in this category is chosen for the team.
  • Manager Selection, Part One: The manager and the Commissioner's Office will fill the roster up to 31 players.
  • Final Vote: After the lists of 31 players for each league is announced, fans will vote for one additional player, chosen from a list of 5 players provided by the manager and the Commissioner's Office.
  • Manager Selection, Part Two: After the Final Vote, the manager and the Commissioner's Office will replace players who are injured or declined to participate. Each major league team is guaranteed to have at least one player selected to participate.

Between 1935 and 1946, the manager of each all-star squad selected the entire team. Fans received the right to vote on the eight starters (excluding the pitcher) starting in 1947. In 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds mounted a campaign to stuff the ballot box, and elected a Red to every position, except first base. The Commissioner, Ford Frick, stepped in and removed two Reds from the lineup. Fans thus lost the power to elect the non-pitching starters until 1970. From 1958 through 1969, players, coaches, and managers made the choice.

Ties

At Fenway Park on July 31, 1961, in Boston, Massachusetts, the first All-Star Game tie in major league baseball history occurred when the game was stopped in the 9th inning due to rain.

Following a highly controversial situation in the 2002 game when both teams ran out of pitchers in the 11th inning, and in response the game was forfeited, Major League Baseball changed the rules to give the All-Star game "meaning" and additional incentive for victory. From the 2003 season up to present, the champion of the league that won the All-Star game was to be given home-field advantage for the World Series. Previously, home-field advantage in the World Series alternated between the two leagues each year.

Oddities

In 1945, with severe wartime travel restrictions in effect, the All-Star Game scheduled to be played at Boston's Fenway Park was canceled.

There were two All-Star Games played each season from 1959 to 1962. The second game was added to raise money for the players' pension funds, as well as other causes.

Stuffing the Ballot Box

1947 was the first year that baseball allowed fans to vote for the starters on the All-Star team.

In 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds stuffed the ballot box and elected 7 players Redlegs to start in the All-Star game. They were:

Johnny Temple, 2B
Roy McMillan, SS
Don Hoak, 3B
Ed Bailey, C
Frank Robinson, LF
Gus Bell, CF (father of Buddy Bell)
Wally Post, RF

The only non-Red elected to start for the National League was Stan Musial at first base. While the Reds were known to be a great offensive team with many outstanding position players, most baseball observers agreed that they did not deserve seven starters in the All Star game. An investigation showed that over half of the ballots cast came from Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Enquirer had printed up pre-cast ballots and distributed them with the Sunday newspaper to make it easy to vote early and often. There were even stories of bars in Cincinnati not serving alcohol to customers until they filled out a ballot.

Commissioner Ford Frick decided to appoint Willie Mays of the New York Giants and Henry Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves to substitute for Reds players Gus Bell and Wally Post. In addition, Frick decided to strip the fans of their voting rights. Managers, players, and coaches picked the entire team again until 1969 when the vote again returned to the fans.

To guard against further ballot stuffing, since 1969 each team has been given the same number of ballots to hand out. In 1998, that number was roughly 400,000 ballots.

Since the dawn of the internet age, online voting has again raised fears of ballot stuffing. Yet Major League Baseball assures its fans that they have taken precautions to guard against this. In 1999, a hacker from Massachusetts was caught casting 39,000 online votes for Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra.

Other All-Star Weekend Events

Since 1985, the Home Run Derby, a contest between home run hitters, has been played on the day before the All-Star Game. Also, a celebrity softball game is held the day before the Home Run Derby. The teams are usually a mixture of former stars from the host team's past plus some celebrities from music, film, and television. Since 1999, the All-Star Futures Game has been held during All Star weekend. The two teams, one consisting of young players from the United States and the other consisting of young players from all other nations of the World, are usually chosen based on prospect status in the minor leagues.

Major League Baseball All-Star Games (1933-present)

YearWinnerScore Venue/Host teamMVP
1933American4-2 Comiskey Park, Chicago White Sox 
1934American9-7 Polo Grounds, New York Giants 
1935American4-1 Municipal Stadium, Cleveland Indians 
1936National4-3 Braves Field, Boston Braves 
1937American8-3 Griffith Stadium, Washington Senators 
1938National4-1 Crosley Field, Cincinnati Reds 
1939American3-1 Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees 
1940National4-0 Sportsman's Park, St. Louis Cardinals 
1941American7-5 Briggs Stadium, Detroit Tigers 
1942American3-1 Polo Grounds, New York Giants 
1943American5-3 Shibe Park, Philadelphia Athletics 
1944National7-1 Forbes Field, Pittsburgh Pirates 
1945Not held.
1946American12-0 Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox 
1947American2-1 Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs 
1948American5-2 Sportsman's Park, St. Louis Browns 
1949American11-7 Ebbets Field, Brooklyn Dodgers 
1950National4-3
(14 innings)
Comiskey Park, Chicago White Sox 
1951National8-3 Briggs Stadium, Detroit Tigers 
1952National3-2
(5 innings, rain)
Shibe Park, Philadelphia Phillies 
1953National5-1 Crosley Field, Cincinnati Reds 
1954American11-9 Municipal Stadium, Cleveland Indians 
1955National6-5
(12 innings)
County Stadium, Milwaukee Braves 
1956National7-3 Griffith Stadium, Washington Senators 
1957American6-5 Sportsman's Park, St. Louis Cardinals 
1958American4-3 Memorial Stadium, Baltimore Orioles 
1959-aNational5-4 Forbes Field, Pittsburgh Pirates 
1959-bAmerican5-3 Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles Dodgers 
1960-aNational5-3 Municipal Stadium, Kansas City Athletics 
1960-bNational6-0 Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees 
1961-aNational5-4
(10 innings)
Candlestick Park, San Francisco Giants 
1961-bTIE1-1
(9 innings, rain)
Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox 
1962-aNational3-1 D.C. Stadium, Washington SenatorsMaury Wills, Los Angeles (NL)
1962-bAmerican9-4 Wrigley Field, Chicago CubsLeon Wagner, Los Angeles (AL)
1963National5-3 Municipal Stadium, Cleveland IndiansWillie Mays, San Francisco (NL)
1964National7-4 Shea Stadium, New York MetsJohnny Callison, Philadelphia (NL)
1965National6-5 Metropolitan Stadium, Minnesota TwinsJuan Marichal, San Francisco (NL)
1966National2-1
(10 innings)
Busch Memorial Stadium, St. Louis CardinalsBrooks Robinson, Baltimore (AL)
1967National2-1
(15 innings)
Anaheim Stadium, California AngelsTony Perez, Cincinnati (NL)
1968National1-0 Astrodome, Houston AstrosWillie Mays, San Francisco (NL)
1969National9-3 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington SenatorsWillie McCovey, San Francisco (NL)
1970National5-4
(12 innings)
Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati RedsCarl Yastrzemski, Boston (AL)
1971American6-4 Tiger Stadium, Detroit TigersFrank Robinson, Baltimore (AL)
1972National4-3
(10 innings)
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta BravesJoe Morgan, Cincinnati (NL)
1973National7-1 Royals Stadium, Kansas City RoyalsBobby Bonds, San Francisco (NL)
1974National7-2 Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh PiratesSteve Garvey, Los Angeles (NL)
1975National6-3 County Stadium, Milwaukee BrewersJon Matlack, New York (NL)
Bill Madlock, Chicago (NL)
1976National7-1 Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia PhilliesGeorge Foster, Cincinnati (NL)
1977National7-5 Yankee Stadium, New York YankeesDon Sutton, Los Angeles (NL)
1978National7-3 San Diego Stadium, San Diego PadresSteve Garvey, Los Angeles (NL)
1979National7-6 Kingdome, Seattle MarinersDave Parker, Pittsburgh (NL)
1980National4-2 Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles DodgersKen Griffey, Sr., Cincinnati (NL)
1981National5-4 Cleveland Stadium, Cleveland IndiansGary Carter, Montreal (NL)
1982National4-1 Olympic Stadium, Montreal ExposDave Concepcion, Cincinnati (NL)
1983American13-3 Comiskey Park, Chicago White SoxFred Lynn, California (AL)
1984National3-1 Candlestick Park, San Francisco GiantsGary Carter, Montreal (NL)
1985National6-1 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minnesota TwinsLaMarr Hoyt, San Diego (NL)
1986American3-2 Astrodome, Houston AstrosRoger Clemens, Boston (AL)
1987National2-0
(13 innings)
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland AthleticsTim Raines, Montreal (NL)
1988American2-1 Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati RedsTerry Steinbach, Oakland (AL)
1989American5-3 Anaheim Stadium, California AngelsBo Jackson, Kansas City (AL)
1990American2-0 Wrigley Field, Chicago CubsJulio Franco, Texas (AL)
1991American4-2 SkyDome, Toronto Blue JaysCal Ripken, Jr., Baltimore (AL)
1992American13-6 Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego PadresKen Griffey Jr., Seattle (AL)
1993American9-3 Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore OriolesKirby Puckett, Minnesota (AL)
1994National8-7
(10 innings)
Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh PiratesFred McGriff, Atlanta (NL)
1995National3-2 The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas RangersJeff Conine, Florida (NL)
1996National6-0 Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia PhilliesMike Piazza, Los Angeles (NL)
1997American3-1 Jacobs Field, Cleveland IndiansSandy Alomar, Cleveland (AL)
1998American13-8 Coors Field, Colorado RockiesRoberto Alomar, Baltimore (AL)
1999American4-1 Fenway Park, Boston Red SoxPedro Martinez, Boston (AL)
2000American6-3 Turner Field, Atlanta BravesDerek Jeter, New York (AL)
2001American4-1 Safeco Field, Seattle MarinersCal Ripken, Jr., Baltimore (AL)
2002TIE (In the 11th inning due to insufficient players)7-7 Miller Park, Milwaukee Brewersnone
2003American7-6 U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago White SoxGarret Anderson, Anaheim (AL)
2004American9-4 Minute Maid Park, Houston AstrosAlfonso Soriano, Texas (AL)
2005American7-5 Comerica Park, Detroit TigersMiguel Tejada, Baltimore (AL)
2006TBDTBD PNC Park, Pittsburgh PiratesTBD
2007TBDTBD SBC Park, San Francisco GiantsTBD

Future schedule host teams

Among the cities in the running for 2008's All-Star Game are St. Louis, San Diego, Cincinnati, Anaheim (whose stadium was so completely transformed in the late 90's and early 2000's that some people almost consider it a whole new entity). Phoenix, Washington, and Tampa Bay are also possibilities. The Minnesota Twins are also contenders, as they have plans to construct a new stadium by 2008. Comissioner Selig said during the 2005 All-Star Break that the 2008 game will definitely go to an American League city. His statement would eliminate the cities of Arizona, Washington, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and San Diego.

The Toronto Blue Jays are planning to make a bid to host the Major League Baseball's 2008 All-Star Game.

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