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Thursday, April 16, 2020

How They Got There: The 1990-1999 AL MVPs

Last week, I revisited how the National League MVPs of the 1990s were acquired. Six were either signed as free agents or acquired via trade, which is in stark contrast to the American League list. Of the eight different AL MVPs, six were homegrown and one of the other two had been re-acquired by his original team at the time he won. Only one of those six homegrown players, however, remained with their respective team throughout their entire career, as Chipper Jones and Barry Larkin did on the NL side.

Here’s a look back at how the AL MVPs of the 1990s were acquired.

For those curious as to how MVP recipients ended up with their teams.

 

QLE Posted: April 16, 2020 at 02:14 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: american league, mvp

Friday, March 20, 2020

’42 AL All-Stars Do Double Duty

Most seamheads will recall that once upon a time (namely 1959 to 1962) there were two major league All-Star games. The reason – no surprise – was to make more money. But it was for a good cause, the Players Pension Fund, so griping was minimal. The same was true in the war year 1942 when the American League played two All-Star games – on consecutive days – for a good cause.

The regularly scheduled major league All-Star game was played on Monday, July 6 at the Polo Grounds in New York, with proceeds going to the Army-Navy Relief Fund and the Bat and Ball Fund (a charity that provided baseball equipment for servicemen). As with every All-Star game, before and since, it was well chronicled. The second game, for the benefit of the same charities, was played the next night at Cleveland Stadium. Better known as Municipal Stadium in later years, cavernous Cleveland Stadium had already hosted the 1935 All-Star game and would do so again in 1954, 1960, 1963, and 1981.

The presence of Indian All-Stars Ken Keltner, Lou Boudreau, and Jim Bagby on the AL squad doubtless attracted the Cleveland faithful, but the hometown heroes’ appearance was not assured until the conclusion of the Polo Grounds contest, as the winner of that game would move on to Cleveland for the second game. The competition in that game would be provided by a team of former professional players who were serving in the Army and Navy. This second game was not as well chronicled as the “official” All-Star Game but it drew almost twice as many fans.

As it turned out, the Polo Grounds game was something of a quasi-last hurrah for serious All-Star competition, as 14 of the 50 players on the two squads would be in the military when the 1943 game was played in Philadelphia. The game itself was not one of the more memorable contests in All-Star history. The AL scored three runs (a solo homer by Lou Boudreau and a two-run shot by Rudy York) in the top of the first inning and never looked back. Final score: AL 3, NL 1. A pinch-hit homer by Mickey Owen (he hit none during the regular season) accounted for the only NL run.

 

QLE Posted: March 20, 2020 at 01:03 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: all stars, american league, charity, cleveland, service team

 

 

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