I don’t think the All-Star game should determine the home team in the World Series, I do think baseball’s All-Star game is the best of all sports. The Orioles have had their share of great moments in the mid-summer classic.
Six times an Orioles player has been named the game’s MVP. Can you name the 5 players who’ve won the award 6 times? Here are my 5 greatest Oriole all-star memories.
5. This is actually a pre-game memory. With his streak at 2,239 Cal Ripken took a mighty blow at the 1996 all-star game in Philadelphia. The American League team picture nearly did in the Iron Man. While leaving the platform erected in center field Chicago pitcher Roberto Hernandez stumbled, in an effort to regain his balance he snapped out his left-arm connecting squarely on the bridge of Cal’s nose. The nose was bloodied and broken, Cal was taken to the trainers room. Speculation started, could this be a streak ending injury? Of course not! The nose was popped back into place and Cal played on.
4. Frank Robinson was the MVP of the 1971 All-Star game in Detroit. This was one of the most entertaining games in All-Star history. The American League win was rare (they went 1-19 during a 20 game stretch in this period).
All the runs in this 6-4 game came on home runs by future Hall of Famers. Frank’s 2-run shot game the AL a 4-3 lead. He became the first player to hit All-Star homers for both leagues. Reggie Jackson hit maybe the longest in All-Star history, estimated at 520 feet, it hit the light standard on the right field roof. Aaron, Bench, Killebrew and Clemente who was playing in his final All-Star game all went deep.
3. This one might get overlooked by a lot of people, maybe because I was there I won’t forget it. The 1980 All-Star game at Dodger Stadium featured a terrific outing by Steve Stone who was living the dream in the midst of a Cy Young season. American League manager Earl Weaver gave Stone the start and he didn’t let Earl down.
Stone pitched 3 perfect innings taming a NL roster that included Pete Rose, Steve Garvey, Dave Parker, Mike Schmidt, Dale Murphy and Dave Winfield. Nine up nine down with 3 K’s, Stone was perfect his teammates were not. National league won the game 4-2.
2. The ’91 game in Toronto was pretty much the Cal Ripken Invitational. He owned SkyDome. He hit the break hitting .348 with 18 homers and 54 RBI’s. And then he got hot! He won the HR Derby starting with 7 homers on 7 swings. He hit 12 homers with 22 swings, a HR Derby record at the time. The next day he took former teammate Dennis Martinez deep to center for a 3-run shot. When the smoke cleared Cal was the first to ever win the HR Derby and All-Star game MVP in the same season. He finished the season with 211 hits and 34 homers and was named MVP for the 2nd time in his career.
1. His .240 batting average didn’t get him there, it was more of a life-time achievement award that sent Cal to Seattle for his final all-star game in the summer of 2001. The fans voted him in at 3rd base but Alex Rodriguez pulled a last minute switch and sent a reluctant Cal to shortstop. The players and fans loved it, a blast from the past! And then it happened, the 40 year old who had recently announced this would be his final season gave the baseball world one more lasting memory.
On his first at bat he was greeted with a rousing standing ovation, with the Safeco crowd still on their feet POW!!! He took a Chan Ho Park pitch over the wall in left, The Iron Man went out with a bang, with opposing National League All-Stars cheering and a sell out crowd going crazy Cal floated around the bases and was mobbed by admiring teammates at the plate. Of course, he was the games MVP.
The 1993 All-Star game in Baltimore had it’s moments. How ’bout Randy Johnson’s heater buzzing over the head of John Kruk and Kruk’s reaction patting his heart like he was near death. And then Toronto manager Cito Gaston failing to get Oriole Mike Mussina into the game and Mussina getting up on his own in the bullpen as the fans reacted by booing Gaston.
Orioles All-Star MVP’s