Local News
3:19 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

All Star games here provided lasting memories

When Major League Baseball’s All Star Game comes here in 2015, it will be only the fifth time since the “Mid-summer Classic” began in 1933 at Comiskey Park in and the first time since Great American Ball Park opened in 2003.
 

But those previous four All Star games – two at Crosley Field, two at Riverfront Stadium – are forever a part of the lore of the Cincinnati Reds, the first professional baseball team and an organization with a deep and rich history.


Each had its special memories for Reds fans:


1988:


It was the city’s Bicentennial year; and the All Star game that drew a standing room only crowd of 55,837 to the round stadium on the riverfront was the capstone of a year-long celebration of the city’s history.


Three Reds were on the National League roster for that game – a 26-year-old rookie third baseman named Chris Sabo, who would go on to be the National League Rookie of the Year that season; shortstop Barry Larkin, now in baseball’s Hall of Fame and then only in his second full season as a major leaguer; and pitcher Danny Jackson, who would have an astounding 23 wins and only eight losses that year.


Two years later, Sabo, Larkin and Jackson would be major contributions to the “wire-to-wire” Reds team that stayed in first place all season and sweep the Oakland A’s in the World Series.


Larkin went 0-2 as a sub in that game, while Sabo made an appearance as a pinch-runner; and Jackson didn’t get into the game.


Much to the chagrin of the National League crowd that jammed Riverfront Stadium, it was the unlikeliest of All Stars who was the hero and MVP of the game – Terry Steinbach, a catcher for the Oakland A’s, who hit a solo home run and drove in another run on  sacrifice fly to give the American League a 2-1 victory.

Read the box score of that game here.

1970:
 

Pete Rose. Ray Fosse.


Those are the two names that baseball fans will remember forever from the 1970 All Star Game at Riverfront Stadium, where a crowd of 51,838 watched President Richard Nixon throw out the ceremonial first pitch.


Their collision at home plate in the bottom of the 12th inning, which had Rose bowling over Fosse to score the winning run, has become an iconic image in baseball in the years since.


Rose had some teammates on that 1970 National League team – Johnny Bench was the starting catcher; third baseman Tony Perez and pitcher Jim Merritt were also on the squad.


In the bottom of the 12th, with the score tied 4-4, Rose singled and went to second on a single by infielder Billy Grabarkewitz of the Dodgers.


Then Jim Hickman of the Cubs stepped to the plate and stroked a single to center field. Amos Otis, the outfielder from the Kansas City Royals charged in, scooped up the ball and fired a bullet to home plate, with Rose rounding third.


Fosse, a catcher for the Cleveland Indians, blocked the plate,  but Rose tucked in his head and slammed into Fosse, sending him flying. Rose was called safe; and the National League had won its eighth straight All Star game.


Fosse was hurt on the play; and his baseball career was never the same after that collision. Many blamed Rose for the hit, but Fosse himself said Rose had done nothing wrong – it was his job to block the plate and Rose’s job to take him out.


It has gone down in baseball as perhaps the most exciting end to an All Star game.

Read the box score of that game here.

1953:


This was not a great year for the Reds, by any means.


They ended up in sixth place in a National League that, in those days, had eight teams, with a record of 68 wins and 86 losses.


But Crosley Field, the old bandbox of a ball park at the corner of Findlay Street and Western Avenue, played host to the All Star game that summer.


A crowd of 30,846 packed into the stands at Crosley on July 14 to root for a National League that featured future Hall of Famers like Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Warren Spahn and others.


The Reds had only two players on that National League club – the mighty slugger Ted Kluszewski, who started at first base and went 1-3; and outfielder Gus Bell, who started for the Nationals in centerfield and went hitless in three at bats.


The National League ended up winning the game 5-1.


It was a game that featured one of the great defensive plays of All Star Game history. Outfielder Enos Slaughter of the St. Louis Cardinals ran down a line drive by the Tigers’ Harvey Kuenn, diving along the right field line in what seemed to be an impossible catch.


And the crowd got to see the legendary Satchel Paige, , who was 47 at the time. Paige, who pitched for the St. Louis Browns, pitched the eighth inning but ended up giving up three hits and two runs.

Read the box score of that game here.

1938:


The 1938 All Star game – only the sixth in history – took place at Crosley Field on July 6 before a crowd of 27,607.


No less than five Reds were named to that National League squad – catcher Ernie Lombardi, first baseman Frank McCormick, outfielder Ival Goodman, and pitchers Bucky Walters, Johnny Vander Meer and Paul Derringer.


It was a harbinger of good things to come for the Reds – the next season, they won the National League pennant, only to lose the World Series to the New York Yankees;  and, in 1940, they repeated as National League champs and won the World Series against the Detroit Tigers.


Vander Meer – who, that same summer, made history by pitching back-to-back no-hitters – was the winning pitcher in a game the Nationals won 4-1.

Read the box score of that game here.