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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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: all stars, american league, charity, cleveland, service team

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   1. bachslunch Posted: March 20, 2020 at 12:16 PM (#5932253)
I’ve looked at the squads for the 1959-1962 all star games. It looks like they were similar, though there were some variations. Obviously, they didn’t simply use the exact same payers for both games. Anybody know how these teams were selected?

Thanks!
   2. bobm Posted: March 21, 2020 at 01:25 PM (#5932491)
In 1947, fans were given the opportunity to vote on the eight starting position players, but in 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds stuffed the ballot box (see below), and elected a Red to every position except first base. Commissioner Ford Frick stepped in and removed two Reds from the lineup. As a response to this unfairness, fan voting was discontinued; players, coaches, and managers were given the sole authority to elect starting position players, for the next dozen years.

Between the lack of fan input and over-exposure due to the double All-Star games in 1959–1962, interest in the game was thought to be waning. As part of the rise of the MLB Promotion Corporation's attempts to modernize marketing of baseball, fan balloting for the starting eight was restored for the 1970 game. [...]

Stuffing the ballot box

In 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds stuffed the ballot box and elected 7 Reds players to start in the All-Star Game: Johnny Temple (2B), Roy McMillan (SS), Don Hoak (3B), Ed Bailey (C), Frank Robinson (LF), Gus Bell (CF), and Wally Post (RF), and the only non-Red elected to start for the National League was St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Stan Musial.

While the Reds were a good offensive team, most baseball observers agreed that they did not deserve seven starters in the All-Star Game. An investigation ordered by Commissioner Ford Frick showed that over half of the ballots cast came from Cincinnati, as the Cincinnati Enquirer had printed up pre-marked ballots and distributed them with the Sunday newspaper to make it easy for Reds fans to vote often for their favorite stars.

Commissioner Ford Frick appointed Willie Mays of the New York Giants and Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves to substitute for Reds players Gus Bell and Wally Post, and took fan voting rights away in future games; Bell was kept as a reserve, while Post was injured and would have been unable to play in any event.

Managers, players, and coaches picked the entire team until 1969, when the vote for starters again returned to the fans.




Link

   3. bobm Posted: March 21, 2020 at 02:28 PM (#5932500)
See also roster rules discussed on page 170 with respect to 1959 All Star Game 2 in "The Midsummer Classic: The Complete History of Baseball's All-Star Game" By David Vincent, Lyle Spatz, David W. Smith

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