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Saturday, July 10, 2021

‘All your baseball cards came to life’: The night, 50 years ago, when 22 Hall of Famers played in an All-Star Game for the ages

“All your baseball cards came to life,” said Joe Torre, who started at third base for the National League team. “It was like walking into the Hall of Fame. You say, ‘Wow, all of these guys are all Hall of Famers.’ You’re still gaga over it.’‘

Eventually, 22 players and managers from that game would make it to Cooperstown, 17 would win an MVP and seven would earn a Cy Young, making this night perhaps the greatest collection of talent ever assembled on one field at one time in the history of baseball.

“I was in awe,’’ Torre said. “I was leading the league in hitting, but I was still overwhelmed.”

No other All-Star Game has featured 20 Hall of Fame players. Let all the names on this field on this one night sink in: Rod Carew, Brooks Robinson, Luis Aparicio, Frank Robinson, Carl Yastrzemski, Reggie Jackson, Al Kaline, Harmon Killebrew, Jim Palmer, Johnny Bench, Willie McCovey, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Willie Stargell, Lou Brock, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Ferguson Jenkins, Juan Marichal and Roberto Clemente, who would sadly be there for the final time. The managers, the Orioles’ Earl Weaver and the Reds’ Sparky Anderson, are also in the Hall of Fame.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 10, 2021 at 11:02 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: all-star game

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   1. dejarouehg Posted: July 10, 2021 at 04:30 PM (#6028492)
What a great way to describe this game! It also happens to be, in my opinion as well as that of many collectors, one of the most well-liked set designs in Topps history.

   2. Howie Menckel Posted: July 10, 2021 at 05:13 PM (#6028496)
yes, I still have virtually every card in that set. great combination of young studs and all-time legends.
   3. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: July 10, 2021 at 06:06 PM (#6028509)
First AS game I ever saw. Reggie's colossal HR is emblazoned in my mind.
   4. rr: cosmopolitan elite Posted: July 10, 2021 at 06:16 PM (#6028510)
The full game is in youtube, and it was in Tiger Stadium, making it even cooler. Also Frank Howard is in it as the last Washington Senator to be in the ASG
   5. shoelesjoe Posted: July 10, 2021 at 06:53 PM (#6028515)
Played in two hours and five minutes, start to finish. My guess is back then any hitters who spent a minute and a half dawdling and preening outside the batters box between pitches would have gotten one in the ear. Last ASG where all the players wore wool uniforms. Ray Fosse was on the AL squad, but didn’t play due to injury. Anybody know if he was still hurt from when Pete Rose blew him up a year earlier at the 1970 ASG?
   6. Booey Posted: July 10, 2021 at 07:12 PM (#6028516)
My favorite All Star weekend was still 1999: new single season HR champ McGwire putting on that epic HR derby performance (it's been surpassed several times since, but it was a single round record at the time), the All Century Team festivities with possibly the largest collection of baseball greats gathered in history, Ted Williams emotional return to Fenway, and then of course prime Pedro's Carl Hubbell imitation in the game itself.

And for the rosters, this one would actually be right there or even slightly surpass the 1971 AS game from the article in sheer number of HOFers if it wasn't for PED's and other factors outside the numbers (though it wouldn't have as many inner circle HOFers, as several of the best players of the era - Bonds, Clemens, Maddux, ARod - actually weren't selected this year). Still...

* Would be in the HOF if not for various character issues

AL:
Harold Baines (I know, I know)
Rafael Palmeiro*
Roberto Alomar
Ken Griffey Jr
Omar Vizquel* (K, he probably wouldn't be in yet, but he was well on his way)
Ivan Rodriguez
Mike Mussina
Jim Thome
Pedro Martinez
Mariano Rivera
Derek Jeter
Joe Torre (manager)

NL:
Tony Gwynn
Barry Larkin
Larry Walker
Curt Schilling*
Gary Sheffield*
Randy Johnson
Sammy Sosa*
Mark McGwire*
Mike Piazza
Jeff Bagwell
Trevor Hoffman
Vladimir Guerrero
Bruce Bochy (manager, lock for future election)

Also potential future VC candidates like David Cone, Kenny Lofton, Bernie Williams, Jeff Kent, and Billy Wagner
   7. dejarouehg Posted: July 10, 2021 at 07:27 PM (#6028518)
Rico Petrocelli told a store on Ed Randall's radio show this AM recounting how in the 1967 ASG, HP Umpire Ed Runge told anyone who could listen that they better be swinging at the plate because he had a hot date after the game. (Rico has been known to engage in hyperbole.) OF course, the game went 15 innings but Rico said that if the first two pitches were anywhere near the plate, it was strike one and two. He said the pitcher had to earn strike 3.
   8. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 10, 2021 at 07:28 PM (#6028519)
Reggie's colossal HR is emblazoned in my mind.


Same here.
   9. Booey Posted: July 10, 2021 at 07:35 PM (#6028521)
Add Cal Ripken Jr to my list in #6. Not sure how I missed him...
   10. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 10, 2021 at 07:42 PM (#6028522)
50 years later, (and I know this is highly subjective), it isn't just the amazing number of HOFers in that game, but the "A-List", inner-circle quality of a number of those Hall of Famers. I would say the inner-circle players would include:

Aaron
Mays
Reggie
Bench
Seaver
Carlton
Carew
Yaz
Clemente
Man, you could include McCovey, Stargell, Palmer...when you take a minute and really think about this collection of players, it really is amazing.

Think about this: On the top 100 in career WAR, the 1971 game had
5. Mays
7. Aaron
22. Seaver
23. Frank Robbie
33. Yaz
37. Clemente
42. Kaline
45. Carlton
55. Jenkins
61. Carew
64. Rose (he isn't on this list, but he was in the game)
68. Brooks Robinson
80. Bench
85. Reggie

That's 14 of the top 85 in WAR in history (and 2 of the top 7) in the game - and that is 50 years after the game was played! That is amazing.
   11. John Northey Posted: July 11, 2021 at 01:11 AM (#6028562)
But is 22 a high number?

1985 was one of my favorite seasons (Jays fan, the year they won 99 and made the playoffs for the first time ever).
AL: Rickey Henderson (best leadoff ever in one of his best seasons ever), George Brett, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr. (Iron Man), Dave Winfield, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Jack Morris in the starting lineup - only Lou Whitaker hasn't made the HOF from that starting lineup and he should be there. Reserves for the AL included future HOF'ers Wade Boggs, Paul Molitor, Harold Baines*, Alan Trammell, and Bert Blyleven. So 12 HOF'ers plus Baines (technically a HOF'er but few think of him at that level) so far from that team with 1 more likely in sweet Lou.

NL: Tony Gwynn, Ozzie Smith, Pete Rose**, Ryne Sandberg, Gary Carter, Tim Raines, Rich Gossage, Nolan Ryan = 7 HOF'ers plus Rose.

A total of 20 plus Pete Rose and Lou Whitaker - one out due to gambling the other due to drunk voters (imo) so that year could easily be 22. Henderson an easy inner circle HOF'er, Ripken set the consecutive games record, Brett and Boggs both among the top 5 third basemen ever, Fisk & Morris both had WS moments that will never be forgotten. And that was just a year I picked due to my age - a favorite year of mine.

Lets go with a more recent one - 2002 (more random, more recent)
AL: HOF: Derek Jeter, Roy Halladay, Pedro Martinez, Mariano Rivera (only guy to get 100%). Locks for HOF: Ichiro Suzuki. Steroids: Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez. Might get in: Omar Vizquel
NL: HOF: Larry Walker, Vladimir Guerrero, Mike Piazza, Tom Glavine, Trevor Hoffman, Randy Johnson, John Smoltz. Near lock: Curt Schilling, Scott Rolen, Todd Helton. Steroids: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa. Has a chance but unlikely: Andruw Jones.

So I get 11 HOF'ers so far, 4 locks or near locks, 4 PED guys who'd be locks otherwise, and 2 who might sneak in. = 20 possible, just 14 a lock though. Funny who isn't there - Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux (only a 159 ERA+, what a slacker), Chipper Jones, Albert Pujols, Jeff Kent (potential HOF'er still), Gary Sheffield (part of the PED gang), Rafael Palmeiro (PED), Jeff Bagwell, Curt Schilling (likely). 9 HOF'ers or 'but for PEDs' who should've been there.

Seems 22 is a bit above average with this fast look, but not grossly so.
   12. MuttsIdolCochrane Posted: July 11, 2021 at 06:37 AM (#6028564)
For everyone who remembers it, yes an amazing amazing day.

But...

Is Bench almost unanimously considered the best? Should he?

Yogi's lifetime BA. .285
Bench .267

HRs
Yogi 358
Bench 389

RBIs
Yogi 1430
Bench 1376

OPS
Yogi .830
Bench .817

MVPs
Yogi 3
Bench 2

MVP Career Shares
Yogi 3.98 (16th)
Bench 2.77 (43rd)

Caught Stealing %
Yogi 49%
Bench 43%

Postseason BA
Yogi .279
Bench .266

Postseason RBIs
Yogi 39
Bench 20

Postseason HRs
Yogi 12 (all WS)
Bench 10

All-Star Games
Yogi 18
Bench 14

Rings
Yogi 10
Bench 2

And in all that hype of The Big Red Machine, Bench hit .237 (that's a rousing .237!) for the 1976 season.
   13. GregD Posted: July 11, 2021 at 08:32 AM (#6028567)
Context….how does it work?

WAR
Bench 75
Berra 60

   14. Hank Gillette Posted: July 11, 2021 at 09:23 AM (#6028568)
Postseason RBIs
Yogi 39
Bench 20

Postseason HRs
Yogi 12 (all WS)
Bench 10
Postseason Games

Yogi 75
Bench 45
   15. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: July 11, 2021 at 10:30 AM (#6028572)
Great story. The non-hall of famers in that game are great as well. Vida Blue! Mickey Lolich! Doc Ellis!
   16. Booey Posted: July 11, 2021 at 12:19 PM (#6028581)
#11 -Yeah, that's what I was thinking too. I went back and looked at the rosters of all the 1990's All Star teams that I grew up watching and they all had something like 17-24 HOFers (counting guys who would have been elected sans PED's or Twitter trolling). 20 HOFers per AS game seems about average. And that's not counting managers, or potential future VC selections (guys like Kent, McGriff, and Lofton would seem to have a decent chance, no?).
   17. Mefisto Posted: July 11, 2021 at 12:20 PM (#6028582)
One other point about the number of HoF'ers at each game: the roster for the All-Star game has increased over the years. It probably makes more sense to talk about percentages.
   18. AndrewJ Posted: July 11, 2021 at 12:36 PM (#6028584)
Last ASG where all the players wore wool uniforms.

PEDANT ALERT: That would have actually been the 1970 ASG in Cincinnati — the Pirates introduced double-knit uniforms when they opened Three Rivers Stadium later that same week.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: July 11, 2021 at 06:05 PM (#6028642)
#13 ... but context is maybe half the WAR difference. Offensively they are pretty much the same. Even by bWAR, Bench has a +43 Rbat advantage but gives back 40 of it on Rbase and Rdp so that's a wash. The main WAR differences are

Rpos -- although they have essentially the same # of starts at C, Bench has a 40-run advantage here. We can't say that's wrong but it seems rather a lot.

Rdef -- Bench with another 40-run advantage here. Folks don't have a lot of faith in TZ anyway but it has especially been questioned for Cs pretty much from day one. Of course no reason to think Berra was better.

scoring context -- Yogi's 342 RAA translates to 34 WAA, a standard 10 runs = 1 win conversion. Bench's 425 RAA translates to 46.5 WAA a bit over 9 runs = 1 win. That should be reflecting real differences in scoring context and seems legit and adds up to 4 extra wins for Bench.

league quality -- Bench picks up another 30 RAR on Rrep despite nearly equal playing time. About 10 of that is due to an extra half-season of PAs (probably mainly due to longer seasons) and the rest seems due to league quality estimates (arising from the AL being so slow to truly integrate). An aside: personally I think the league quality for players should be on the RAA side, not the Rrep side, either as a separate field or part of the RAA-WAA conversion. But I can see why Sean has done it that way.

Anyway, of the 15-WAR difference, it looks like 6 of it is context. The rest is 9 dWAR vs 20 dWAR (I know that adds up to 17, not 15, a bit of double-counting methinks). That's probably the best estimate of historical defensive differences that we're ever gonna have but it's not one we should have heaps of faith in. Bench probably was the better of the two but it's not clear he was better by 1 win per year.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: July 11, 2021 at 06:19 PM (#6028645)
Before you get too worked up about the 2 hours and 5 minutes ... the game featured only 65 PA. Only 12 hits total, 6 were HR (sound familiar?) A typical game these days is about 78. That would still only push it out to about 2:30 which is still a lot shorter than these days (and I assume especially a lot shorter than the typical AS game) although I'm pretty sure some chunk of that is longer commercial breaks.

In fact, the 2019 AS game had 66 PA ... it took 2:48. The 2018 game was a slugfest featuring 90 PA and took 3:34, an extra 2 min per PA. There were only 3 mid-inning pitching changes so that wasn't a big factor.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: July 11, 2021 at 06:23 PM (#6028646)
6028516)
My favorite All Star weekend was still 1999
I misread the title initially and thought that's what this was about : 22 years ago and Joe Torre (manager).
   22. GregD Posted: July 12, 2021 at 08:29 AM (#6028700)
Walt, thanks for your super helpful posts. Appreciate the detail

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