Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente Before The 1961 All-Star Games

Before The Mid-Summer Classics Of 1961

NL All Stars 1961 Mays Cepeda Murtaugh Burgess Clemente

Pittsburgh (July 1) – All Stars – Danny Murtaugh, manager of the world champion Pittsburgh Pirates (center), looks over some mighty potent bats in the hands of four National League stars named for the All-Star baseball games July 11 at San Francisco and July 31 at Boston. They are (l to r) Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda of San Francisco and Smoky Burgess and Roberto Clemente of Pittsburgh (AP wire photo) 1961

For 1959 – 1962 two baseball All-Star games were played during the summer.

The National League won the first game on July 11, 1961 by a score of 5-4. Both Mays and Clemente played the whole game. Mays went 2 for 5 scoring twice and driving in a run when Mays doubled home Hank Aaron and scored on a single by Clemente in the tenth inning. Clemente went 2 for 4, scored one run and drove in two including the game winner.

This was also the legendary game where pitcher Stu Miller was allegedly blown off the mound in San Francisco’s windy Candlestick Park. To this day Miller denies it even though he was quoted after the game saying, “The wind blew me off the mound.”

In the second All-Star game at Boston’s Fenway Park July 31, 1961, the game was called after the ninth inning, a 1-1 tie. Again Mays and Clemente played the entire game with Mays going 1 for 3 and Clemente going 1 for 2.

The Pirates starting catcher Smoky Burgess always looked old in every photo I’ve ever seen of him. In 1961 he was only 34. If you met Smoky on the street you would probably think he was anything but a ballplayer – possibly a postal clerk or a truck driver. But Burgess, was indeed a six time all-star with a .295 career batting average, even if he didn’t look the part.

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