When the first All-Star Game was played in 1933 it was tied in as a promotional device to Chicago's gala world's fair, The Century of Progress. A newspaper vote elected 18 players to each squad and named Connie Mack and John McGraw as managers. Babe Ruth hit a home run, and everything went beautifully. Even so, no one really expected the game to survive, and critics later actually called for its abandonment. But, as the pictures on these pages demonstrate, its perfection as a showcase for the great players and its habit of producing unforgettable moments caused it to flourish beyond all expectation, until now, as it celebrates its silver anniversary, it ranks second only to the World Series as baseball's great annual event.
The first All-Star teams 1933
Front row: Eddie Collins (coach), Tony Lazzeri, Al Crowder, Jimmy Foxx, Art Fletcher (coach), Earl Averill, Ed Rommel (coach), Ben Chapman, Rick Ferrell, Sam West, Charley Gehringer, bat boy. Back row: Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Oral Hildebrand, Connie Mack (manager), Joe Cronin, Lefty Grove, clubhouse boy, Bill Dickey, Al Simmons, Lefty Gomez, Wes Ferrell, Jimmy Dykes, clubhouse boy. Collins, Foxx, Gehringer, Gehrig, Ruth, Mack, Cronin, Grove, Dickey and Simmons were later elected to baseball's Hall of Fame. The American League won the first All-Star Game 4-2.
Front row: bat boy, Pepper Martin, Lon Warneke, Tony Cuccinello. Second row: Bill Hallahan, Dick Bartell, Bill Terry, Bill McKechnie (coach), John McGraw (manager), Max Carey (coach), Chick Hafey, Chuck Klein, Lefty O'Doul, Wally Berger. Back row: Gabby Hartnett, Jimmy Wilson, Frank Frisch, Carl Hubbell, Bill Walker (batting practice pitcher), Paul Waner, Woody English, Hal Schumacher, Pie Traynor, Andy Lotshaw (trainer). National Leaguers had special uniforms made for the game. Hall of Famers: Terry, McGraw, Hartnett, Frisch, Hubbell, Waner, Traynor.
THE GREAT PITCHERS
Carl Hubbell and Lefty Gomez. In 1934 game Hubbell struck out Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Simmons and Cronin in succession. Gomez started five All-Star Games, was winning pitcher in three; no one else has won even two.
Dizzy Dean, 26, gazes sadly at big toe broken by line drive in 1937 game. Injury led to the arm trouble that ruined his brilliant career.
Bob Feller, only 20, is greeted (left) by Joe Cronin and Catcher Bill Dickey as he relieves in sixth inning after Nationals, losing 3-1, filled bases with one out. Feller threw just one pitch (center), got Arky Vaughan to hit into "fastest double play ever made"—Second Baseman Joe Gordon to Cronin (pivoting past runner Mel Ott) to First Baseman Hank Greenberg.
THE GREAT HITTERS SHOW OFF AT ALL-STAR TIME
Youthful Ted Williams (he was only 22) laughs with delight after his three-run homer with two out in ninth gave American League 7-5 win.
Longest All-Star Game ever played was won by the Nationals in 14th inning when Red Schoendienst (below, rounding third) hit homer.
The second longest game was won by Schoendienst's longtime friend and roommate, Stan Musial. With the score tied 5-5, Musial hit the first pitch in the last half of the 12th inning for a home run. The National League bench boiled onto the field (right) to welcome Musial as he reached home plate with the winning run. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S readers are invited to try to identify the National Leaguers welcoming Musial.
The first postwar All-Star Game was a 12-0 rout of the National League by the American, and once again the hero was Ted Williams, back from his first tour of military duty and playing in Fenway Park before a home-town crowd of appreciative Boston Red Sox fans. Up five times, he walked, hit two singles and two homers, scored four runs and batted in five. The climax of the game was his second home run (above), the first ever hit off Rip Sewell's famous supersoft "blooper" pitch.
Richie Ashburn's amazing leap and one-handed grab of a fly ball against the outfield fence is only one in a long series of superb fielding plays that have decorated the All-Star Game. Fans still talk of Joe Gordon and Enos Slaughter and even Ted Williams, who made a brilliant catch in 1949.
MORE THAN ANYTHING THE FIELDING IS ALL-STAR CALIBER
There has never been a more acrobatic display of infielding skills than that put on by Ken Boyer in 1956. In the first inning (top strip) he dove headlong to his left to catch a line drive hit by Harvey Kuenn. In the fifth he dove just as far to his right to stop a sharp ground ball hit by Kuenn, then rose and threw Harvey out at first base.
ONE GREAT ARGUMENT
Red Schoendienst tried to steal home with two out in the eighth inning and was called out. National Leaguers bitterly insisted that the American League pitcher had balked. Here Charlie Grimm (40) continues protest, with Leo Durocher and Al Dark standing by. Schoendienst turns to fire a parting shot, but Stan Musial slumps away to dugout and Manager Walt Alston goes to mound. Umpire Stewart ignores them all.