In comparison to other All-Star Games, baseball’s Midsummer Classic is probably the most genuinely contested, with the exception of what happened in the 2002 season, of course (we’ll cover that in this list). As with any other aspect of baseball history, the All-Star Game does have its share of great memorable moments that every big baseball fan remembers fondly. Some of the moments featured in this list are hilarious, while others are simply spectacular. The game itself is also a great representation of the evolution of baseball, as the All-Star Game has seen it’s share of changes over the years. As we present to you the most memorable MLB All-Star Game moments, it will be blatantly obvious that seeing the game’s best players go head-to-head isn’t something to be taken for granted, especially given how entertaining the baseball All-Star Game can be when compared to other sports.
11. Winning Team Gets Home Field (2003)
The 2002 All-Star Game at Miller Park in Milwaukee ended in a tie! That’s right, no winner was determined, mostly because neither league’s manager wanted to risk having all-star pitchers get hurt by pushing themselves into extra innings. To ensure fans that there would always be a winner in future Midsummer Classics, commissioner Bud Selig (pictured below) announced that the next season, the league that won the All-Star Game would get home field in the World Series. The American League won in 2003, and The New York Yankees would get that advantage over the Florida Marlins that fall. But as it turns out, the underdog Marlins actually took home the title. That said, there hasn’t been a tie in the All-Star Game since.
10. Cal Ripkin Jr’s Final All-Star Game
In his final season in the Majors, Cal Ripkin, Jr. made his 19th and final All-Star team. Voted in as the starting third baseman, Alex Rodriguez would insist that Ripkin switch positions with him and play shortstop for one inning, the position he played for the majority of his career. It was a generous moment from A-Rod, as it allowed Ripkin to take the record for most All-Star Game appearances at shortstop. If that wasn’t a good enough story, when Ripkin had his first at bat in the third inning, he smacked the first pitch he saw over the fence for a home run. He ended up winning the All-Star Game MVP that day, becoming only the fourth player to win it multiple times. The crowd at Safeco Field gave him a long standing ovation, acknowledging the Iron Man’s long and illustrious career.
9. Pedro Martinez Picks Up 5 K’s
There’s no doubt that Pedro Martinez was one of the most dominant pitchers in the MLB during his prime. Despite the fact that he didn’t look overpowering, he certainly could make a batter look like a fool at the plate on a regular basis. In 1999, he did just that to five straight All-Stars. Never mind striking out the bottom half of the order in a regular season game, Martinez instead went ahead and made the following guys whiff: Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Jeff Bagwell. That’s a pretty impressive list of sluggers, especially considering there’s a pretty good chance at least two of them were taking steroids during that season. That’s right, we’re talking to you Sosa and McGwire.
8. Ichiro’s Inside The Park
Ichiro Suzuki’s MLB career is nothing short of spectacular when it comes to hitting. He’s a surefire Hall Of Fame inductee when he retires. Imagine if he started out his career in the MLB, instead of Japan. At the young age of 43, he’s still playing Major League ball for the Miami Marlins. Back in 2007 though, as a member of the Seattle Mariners, Ichiro hit the first ever inside the park home run in an All-Star Game. He accomplished the feat facing off against Chris Young of the San Diego Padres. Not only does he know how to lay the lumber on the ball, but Ichiro can also get around the bases pretty quickly. It is one of the most exciting plays in baseball, especially in an All-Star content. Pretty memorable.
7. Al Rosen Plays Broken in 1954
These days, all it takes for a professional athlete to miss a game is a hamstring pull or slight cough, and that’s when were talking about the regular season or the playoffs. Guys barely need an excuse at all to skip the All-Star Game. That’s what makes what Al Rosen did in the 1954 All-Star Game so remarkable. The Cleveland Indians first baseman played in the game with a broken finger. If that didn’t already make him a badass, he went ahead and hit two home runs in the game (Yogi Berra is shown below congratulating him after the second). By the end of it all, the American League won the contest by a score of 11-9, proving once and for all that it is possible to hit multiple home runs off of an All-Star pitcher when you’re not 100 percent. Or in Rosen’s case, when you should definitely be sitting in the dugout chewing on sunflower seeds instead of playing.
6. Larry Walker Switch Hits in 1997
It takes quite a talented and capable baseball player to be able to hit the ball from both sides of the plate. As strange as that might seem for a lot of everyday people, it’s not an uncommon thing to see an MLB player bat from both sides of the dish. In the 1997 All-Star Game, Seattle Mariners ace Randy Johnson almost hit Colorado Rockies slugger Larry Walker in the head with a pitch. Of course, seeing as how it was a meaningless game (at the time), Walker laughed it off. But what he did next was pretty cool. He turned his helmet around backwards and stepped across the plate into the right-handed batters box. He eventually drew a walk against the Big Unit. It was one of the funnier and more spontaneous moments in All-Star Game history.
5. Randy Johnson on John Kruk, 1993
As it turns out, the 1997 All-Star Game wasn’t the first time that Randy Johnson scared the living crap out of an opposing hitter by throwing the ball over his head. That honor goes to John Kruk, who played for the Philadelphia Phillies back in the day. Johnson calmly stepped up to the mound and threw the first pitch well behind the Phillies slugger. Kruk was straight-up scared to step back into the batter’s box against that kind of heat. While he didn’t switch to the other side of the plate like Larry Walker, Kruk shied away from Johnson just enough to look absolutely ridiculous on the next series of pitches. He struck out to the tune of both teams laughing at him from the dugouts, as he walked of the field mildly embarrassed.
4. 1999, The All Century Team
There’s something about Fenway Park in Boston that is just magical. The Green Monster, Pesky’s Pole, and an electric ballpark atmosphere all combine to make it a truly special place. It only makes sense that the home of the Boston Red Sox was the perfect place to introduce the Team of the Century to baseball fans everywhere. A number of great players graced the field on that day, including Willie Mays and Pete Rose, along with the current roster of MLB All-Stars. However, it was only fitting to save the best for last, as Ted Williams would be driven around the stadium in a golf cart and receive the loudest cheer from the Fenway faithful. Every All-Star playing the game that night crowded around him, as people knew that it would be one of Williams’ last special moments in baseball.
3. The First All-Star Game, 1933
None of us were at the first-ever All-Star Game in MLB history. That’s because it took place in 1933. The stars of the game back then include Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth (pictured below). The American League started their early dominance of the Midsummer Classic from jump, winning the first ever game by a score of 4-2. Producing a low scoring game while facing the best hitters in baseball was a pretty impressive feat back then, since there was no such thing as relief pitching, meaning that one guy on each team would go toe-to-toe and throw the entire game. Those days are dead. There’s no doubt the game is much more of a spectacle today than it was back then, but there would be no ‘Best Moments In All-Star Game History’ without the first ever game kicking things off.
2. Bo Jackson Homers in 1989
Rick Reuschel was a pretty good sinker ball pitcher in his day, possessing the one pitch that super athlete Bo Jackson seemed to struggle to hit his entire career. To be fair, Jackson never hit for a high average as an MLB player because, after all, he was too busy playing in the NFL at the same time. However, in the 1989 All-Star Game, Jackson hit a Reuschel sinker 450 feet to straightaway center field, wowing the crowd in his very first at-bat of the game. On top of his huge home run, Jackson also made a great play in the outfield and stole a base in the game. For his efforts, he went home with the MVP trophy that day, showing off how unbelievably athletic he really was and helping the American League win the game in the process.
1. Pete Rose Crashes Into Home Plate, 1970
Before he got in trouble for betting on baseball, Pete Rose was a surefire Hall of Famer. The man could really hit the baseball. He is still the all-time hits leader in all of baseball. One of the things that made fans love him was how intense he was when he played the game. He never seemed to shift into a slower speed, going full-throttle on every play. He didn’t get the nickname ‘Charlie Hustle’ for nothing. He showed off that intensity in the 1970 All-Star Game, when he crashed into home plate to score a run, separating the shoulder of catcher Ray Fosse as a result. Love him or hate him, baseball fans have to respect the fact that Rose totally went for it on the play, especially considering how much sports fans now complain about lackluster efforts in current All-Star Games. It really is too bad that runners are no longer allowed to run into catchers anymore, a rule just recently changed by MLB in an effort to keep players safe. Pete Rose would have scoffed at the mere thought of it.