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Let’s run through some of the greatest moments in MLB All-Star Game history as we prepare for the 2019 edition on Tuesday night.
Feel free to call me biased, but of the four major American sports, Major League Baseball has the best All-Star Game. It’s also the longest-running All-Star Game, dating all the way back to 1933 with only one year off for World War II. While the other leagues tinker with the format of their respective games, baseball has had to do very little to maintain interest in the contest.
Perhaps that has something to do with a relatively low risk of injury while playing at full speed compared to the other sports. Whatever the case may be, there will always be plenty of reason to watch the All-Star Game for baseball fans.
The game has evolved over the years from one of the few times stars from opposing leagues took the field at the same time to a more pure exhibition game where the players are clearly out there to have a good time. The starting pitchers no longer throw more than an inning or two, but reach back for something extra on their fastball. Hitters lock in and swing for the fences.
The pregame introductions are always memorable, and nearly every player dials up a special pair of cleats. Unlike the other leagues, MLB’s stars wear their own team’s jersey for the All-Star Game, which creates a fun look on the field.
Whatever the case may be, the MLB All-Star Game is about as close to perfection as an exhibition sporting event can be (especially with the ridiculous World Series home-field advantage rule gone). There are almost too many to choose from, but these 10 moments stand out as the best in the long history of the first professional sports’ All-Star Game.
10. The All-Star color barrier is broken, 1949
Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, hitting .297/.383/.427, winning the NL Rookie of the Year, finishing fifth in the MVP vote and helping his team take the New York Yankees all the way to seven games in the World Series. Still, it would be another two seasons before Robinson would break the color barrier in the All-Star Game and find himself included with the game’s best players. When Robinson finally received the honor, he was joined by three African American stars, Larry Doby of the Cleveland Indians and Dodgers teammates Roy Campanella and Don Newcomb.
Doby and Campanella both went hitless, and Newcomb had a rough 2.2 innings of work, allowing three hits and two runs. Robinson, however, played a starring role for the National League. He recorded a double, a walk and scored three runs. Without Robinson’s efforts, the NL may have gone down by an even wider margin than 11-7.
All four players went on to have illustrious careers in the big leagues, with Robinson, Doby and Campanella enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Campanella’s career was tragically cut short after he was paralyzed in a car accident in 1958. While never elected to the Hall of Fame, Newcomb won 149 games in 10 seasons and took home the NL Cy Young and MVP awards in 1956 after winning 27 games.