Monday, July 07, 2008
REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM: ALL-STAR GAMES
All kinds of hype, hoopla and probably histrionics will be part of the scene for Yankee Stadium's final All-Star Game set for the 15th of July 2008. This will be the fourth mid summer classic staged at the "House That Ruth Built."
The first one at the Stadium took place on the eleventh of July 1939 before 62,892. The big ballpark in the Bronx was chosen as the site to coincide with the World's Fair of 1939. As the American League lineups were announced, a fan bellowed: "Make Joe McCarthy play an All-Star American League team. We can beat them, but we can't beat the Yankees!"
Marse Joe McCarthy paid the fan no heed. Six starters were Yankees: Red Rolfe, Bill Dickey, George Selkirk, Joe Gordon, Red Ruffing and Joe DiMaggio. Other Yankees on the AL squad included Frank Crosetti, Lefty Gomez and Johnny Murphy. In all, counting McCarthy, there were ten Yankees on the All-Star team. The half dozen position starters played the entire game.
Lou Gehrig was there, too, an honorary member of the American League team. It was just a week after his “luckiest man” speech at the Stadium.
McCarthy pitched Red Ruffing for three innings, then brought in Tommy Bridges and closed out with rookie, twenty-year-old Bob Feller who was touched for but one hit in his 3 2/3 innings. Later he said: "I was never nervous on a pitching mound. I just reared back and let them go."
One of the big moments of the game for the home town fans was Joe DiMaggio’s fifth inning dinger highlighting the 3-1 American League triumph. After the All-Star break, the Yanks went on a tear winning 35 of 49 games.
From 1959 to 1962, Major League Baseball conducted two All-Star Games. Yankee Stadium hosted baseball's second All-Star Game in three days. On July 13th Seven Yankees were on the American League squad: starters Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle , Roger Maris and Bill Skowron. The Yankee reserves were Jim Coates and Elston Howard.
The first All-Star game of 1960 had been played two day’s before. Perhaps that was why attendance was just 38,362 for this second one. Whitey Ford started for the American League against Pittburgh’s Vernon Law. Al Lopez was the AL manager and Walt Alston was the National League pilot. For many New York baseball fans, the special appeal of the game was the return of the great Willie Mays to the city he starred in. The “Say Hey Kid” went three for four – one of his hits was a home run. The National League prevailed, 6-0.
On July 19, 1977 Yankee Stadium was once more the site of the All-Star Game. The teams prepared to square off before 56,683. The managerial matchup was Billy Martin of the Yankees against Sparky Anderson of Cincinnati. Joe DiMaggio was the AL Honorary Captain and Willie Mays had that role for the National League. DAN MARENG0: I had a seat behind home plate in the upper deck. I knew the press always made a big deal about the feud between Munson and Fisk. I looked down and the two guys were around the batting cage enjoying a conversation
with each other, smiling. What do you believe?
Willie Randolph recalled: “I was a young kid in that All-Star Game, in front of my hometown fans, my family, playing in the game with guys I had grown up idolizing like Reggie Jackson and Rod Carew.”
ROD CAREW: To play in the All-Star game with my mom there in the stands was a thrill. Just being in Yankee Stadium was an incentive to do well. The fans are special. They'll root for you if they like you. I think they knew I was from New York so they gave me a good ovation that day
and every time I played in the Stadium. Pitcher Jim Palmer took the mound for the AL. He lasted two innings, gave up five runs on five hits, walked one and was the losing pitcher. Joe Morgan led off the game with a home run.
DENNIS ECKERSLEY: I was like 22 years old. Before the game, Billy Martin -- who was a nut but I loved him -- told me I was going to pitch the fourth through sixth innings. Well, our starter Jim Palmer couldn’t get out of the third. They lit him up. I came in a little earlier and pitched two scoreless innings.
The National League prevailed in 1977, 7-5, and the 48th All-Star game was a matter of record.
Now Yankee Stadium, the place of mystique and memories, awaits its fourth and final All Star Game. All kinds of history will be made and millions will be watching.
Harvey Frommer is his 33rd consecutive year of writing sports books His REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, an oral/narrative history (Abrams, Stewart, Tabori and Chang) will be published in September.
The Harvey Frommer "BOOK TOUR" for REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM (as of July 7)
September 3 Wednesday/talk/signing 7:30 PM Barnes & Noble, 396 Ave. Americas NY (8th St.) (212) 674-8780
September 4th, 7:45 PM Varsity Letters 302 Broome St. NYC 212-334-9676
September 5th, 7pm Friday Book Revue 313 New York Avenue Huntington, NY 11743 Ph. 631-271-1442
Sept. 20, 2008 / 7 p.m. Northshire Bookstore 4869 Main Street Manchester Center, VT 05255 802-362-3565
September 26 afternoon Fall for the Book Festival George Mason University Fairfax, VA 22030 Phone: (703) 993-3986 FftB@gmu.edu www.fallforthebook.org
October 11th. Dartmouth Bookstore, Hanover, NH (afternoon) firstname.lastname@example.org
November 1, 2008 Saturday 11:30 AM Books & Greetings 271 Livingston Street, Northvale,NJ 07647 201-784-2665
December 4 Thursday 7PM /RJ JULIA, Madison, CT 800 747 3247 talk and signing