A Once Exciting Annual Contest Has Become Pathetically Bad
Photo below: 1968 All-Star Game Hank Aaron Swipes 2nd Base In A Competitive Game
National League’s Hank Aaron (44) steals second base in sixth inning. Rod Carew takes throw with umpire Mel Steiner on top of play in All-Star game. July 9, 1968 Photo :George Honeycutt Houston Chronicle
While reluctantly watching this year’s baseball All-Star Game there was a pre-game tribute to Hank Aaron who passed away January 22, 2021. This may have been the high point of the evening as the Fox broadcast and the game itself was lacking in any drama or competitiveness.
Where’s The Drama?
The All-Star Game has become a love-fest between the players and interleague play has ruined what was once a fierce rivalry between the American and National Leagues. In the 1950 All-Star Game in Chicago, Ted Williams fractured his left elbow making a leaping, off-the-wall catch on a Ralph Kiner smash in the 1st inning. Williams remained in the game, and put the American League ahead, 3 – 2, in the fifth inning with an RBI single. Ted Williams said he was never the same after fracturing his elbow. Williams, like many players went all out playing in the All-Star Game, which is an exhibition game with no meaning in the standings. The AL and NL teams used to badly want to beat the opposition in the annual showdown.
Thurman Munson Is Out And Billy Martin Does Not Agree
There was no instant replay back when this scene occurred on July 21, 1978 as Billy Martin pleads his case in vain to umpire Durwood Merrill. Believe it or not, they are arguing that Munson should have been called safe when he attempted to steal home.
The Yankees were playing the Minnesota Twins at Metropolitan Stadium, a place very familiar to Yankees manager Billy Martin and the theft of home. When Martin managed the Twins in 1969 he taught Rod Carew how to swipe home and Carew ended up with a record seven steals of home.
It was not a big deal that Munson was called out in this instance, as the Yankees won the game 4-0.
The Most Exciting Play in Baseball Was Accomplished by Rod Carew Seven Times in 1969
Rod Carew’s 2nd steal of home in 1969 – April 19, 3rd inning vs. California Angels. Harmon Killebrew is #3.
It’s a play you hardly see anymore- the pure stealing of home plate. Not part of a double steal or a failed suicide squeeze attempt.
At the urging of Minnesota Twins manager Billy Martin in 1969, second baseman Rod Carew swiped home an astonishing seven times in one season, tying the major league record of Pete Reiser of the Brooklyn Dodgers set back in 1946.
You’d think that Carew must have stolen a lot of bases that year considering his constant stealing of home. Amazingly, Carew stole a total of only 19 bases that year!
Carew, the future Hall of Famer, told the story of how he perfected the steal of home in his 1979 autobiography Carew by Rod Carew with Ira Berkow (Simon and Schuster ,1979) which is excerpted here.
Carew stole home his record tying seventh time on July 16, 1969 in the second inning against the Chicago White Sox in the first game of a double header at the Twins home park, Metropolitan Stadium. The Twins ended up winning the game 9-8. Continue reading →