Major League Baseball’s All Star Game has gone through numerous changes since the first home run in All Star Game history was clobbered by Babe Ruth in 1933. An aging Babe Ruth, just two years from retirement, also made a spectacular catch in the eight inning to help the American League to a 4-2 victory.
Much has changed in the 77 years since the first MLB All Star Game. For the first 40 years or so the All Star Game was a hotly contested battle royal between the American League All Stars and the National League. All that was tempered after a controversial play that involved Pete Rose and Oakland catcher Ray Fosse.
Pete Rose Collision at the Plate Changes All Star Game Rules
Pete Rose changed the demeanor of the All Star Game forever in 1970. Pete Rose, playing on his home field at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, hits a single and is moved over to second on a single by Billy Grabarewitz. With Rose in scoring position at second base in the tenth inning the outfield moves in for a possible play at the plate.
The next hitter, Jim Hickman singles and Rose rounds third base as third base coach Leo Durocher waves him home. As Rose nears home plate, Ray Fosse moves up the line to take the on target throw. Rose with nowhere to go barrels into Fosse, knocking the ball free and tags home plate and gives the National League a 5-4 victory. For Fosse, the play landed him on the Disabled List with a separated shoulder.
All Star Game Transitions to an Exhibition Game
The All Star Game lost it’s edge after the Rose/Fosse collision in 1971. Now the All Star Game has become nothing more than a three day vacation from the regular season for fans and players. The most anticipated feature for the All Star Game now is the Home Run Derby the Monday night before the game. The Home Run Derby is still informal but there is always one player that excels and impress the packed stadium and television audience every year.
All Star Game’s Most Embarrassing Moment Leads to New Rule
By far, the most embarrassing moment in All Star Game history was the extra inning fiasco in Milwaukee. The 2002 MLB All Star Game ended in a 7-7 tie after both managers used all their available pitchers. In an even more embarrassing move, both managers left their dugouts and consulted MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig. 1961 was the only other All Star Game to end in a tie. Selig was left to make the unpopular decision to call the All Star Game over and this created a new rule.
The new rule was released with much fanfare. “The All Star Game, this time it counts.” The slogan and the rule has remained in place to this day and now the winner of the All Star Game begins the World Series with home field advantage.
www.mlb.com All Star Game history.