With other major sports in limbo during July, the MLB takes advantage of the month with the MLB All-Star Game. Since 1933, the All-Star Game has become one of the biggest spectacles in sports. The best players from each league showcase their talents on the same field. With the added stipulation of home field advantage throughout the World Series, the All-Star Game has gone from an exhibition contest to a game with more importance than any single regular season game.
Despite its success, the MLB All-Star game has suffered from controversies and winning streaks that extend over a decade for each league. With such predictability, poor stipulations, and the expansion of other sports leagues in the US, the All-Star Game continues to lose luster.
Here is a list of five of the worst All-Star games in MLB history.
5th Worst MLB All-Star Game: 1969
Baseball popularity was peaking in the late 1960s. The All-Star Game’s TV ratings reached their plateau in 1970 and the NFL hadn’t established itself as America’s primary sport. The All-Star Game of 1969 had the potential to be one of the best.
Mother Nature had other ideas.
The 1969 MLB All-Star Game was postponed because of a rain storm. When it was played the following day, the AL starting pitcher, Dave McNally, was unable to play until the fourth inning because he arrived late from an appointment he had scheduled that day. By the time he came in, the AL had already given up 8 runs and would lose 9-3, extending the AL’s losing streak to seven games over the NL.
The postponement harmed ratings. The MLB All-Star Games in 1968 and 1970 scored 25.8 and 28.5, respectively. The 1969 All-Star Game scored a 15.1, the lowest rating it would score until 1992. Bad ratings, postponement, and an early onslaught from the NL made this one of the worst All-Star games ever.
4th Worst MLB All-Star Game: 1961 (2nd)
Two All-Star games were played in 1961. The second All-Star Game in 1961 was rained out after nine innings of a 1-1 game. The game was called off, resulting in the first of two MLB All-Star game ties. Since an All-Star game was already played this season, this wasn’t the travesty that 2002 was.
3rd Worst MLB All-Star Game: 2005
With an 8.1 rating, the 2005 MLB All-Star Game is the lowest rated all-star game of all-time. In the midst of the American League’s unbeaten streak that’s lasted since 1997, the AL jumped all over the National League en route to a 7-0 lead at the end of six. The National League made the score respectable by scoring in each of the final three innings, but the AL prevailed with a 7-5 victory.
2nd Worst MLB All-Star Game: 1987
If you’re into offense, then the 1987 All-Star game isn’t for you. Known for its big sluggers, the 1987 All-Star Game was void of scoring until the thirteenth inning. Before this, an All-Star game had never gone past the sixth without runs being scored. The National League would win 2-0 on a 2-run triple in the thirteenth by Tim Raines, but fans that expected fireworks may have felt they were watching a soccer game between two weak teams.
The Worst MLB All-Star Game: 2002
There are two MLB All-Star Games I’ll never forget. The 2008 game was so bad that it became the most entertaining MLB All-Star game of all time. Had J.D. Drew been given the opportunity to pitch against Dan Uggla for the rights to home field advantage throughout the World Series, there’d be no doubt about it being the best All-Star Game of all-time in any sport.
But the stage for the 2008 MLB All-Star fiasco was set from the 2002 MLB All-Star Game fiasco. In the eleventh inning, the game was still tied 7-7. As both teams ran out of pitchers, Bud Selig decided to stop the game in a tie. As the MLB was already suffering from a ratings decline in the All-Star game and a steroids scandal, this didn’t go well with baseball fans.
At the time, the 2002 MLB All-Star was the lowest rated All-Star game in history. Selig countered this issue by giving home field advantage throughout the World Series to the league that won the All-Star game. Unfortunately, the ratings continue to fall after Selig’s ridiculous proposition.
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Associated Press, “All-Star Game Gets Worst Ratings Ever.” CNNSI. July 10, 2002. June 20, 2010.
Baseball Almanac, “All-Star Game Television Ratings.” June 20, 2010.
Baseball Almanac, “1969 Baseball All-Star Game.” June 20, 2010.
MLB.com, “All-Star Game Recap from 1961.” June 20, 2010.
MLB.com “2005 All-Star Game Box Score.” June 20, 2010
Baseball Almanac, “All-Star Game Recap from 1987.” June 20, 2010