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MLB All-Star Game: The Tie that Changed Everything
Ten years ago yesterday was one of the most famous games of the first decade of the 21st century. It is certainly the most famous game that didn’t count.
On July 9, 2002, the NL and AL squads met up in the annual All-Star game. That time, it didn’t count, as the game rather embarrassingly ended in a tie that led to a change in All-Star game rules.
Milwaukee’s Miller Park hosted it, right in the front yard of baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
Heading into the game, the AL had won the last five of these midseason exhibition contests, but early on it looked like it would be the NL’s day as the senior circuit burst out to a 4-0 lead. It could’ve been an even bigger lead, but Twins centerfielder Torii Hunter leaped over the wall to rob Giants superstar Barry Bonds of a home run in the first inning. That would prove to be a very key run lost.
The AL came back, though. A four-run top of the seventh by the AL gave the junior circuit a 6-5 lead. However, the NL immediately stormed back for a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the frame. That didn’t end the fun, though, as an Omar Vizquel triple drove in Robert Fick, tying the game at 7-7. Though Vizquel was on third with just one out, neither All-Stars Garret Anderson nor Randy Winn could drive him in, leaving the contest tied.
And that was the problem. Like all games in recent years, managers Joe Torre and Bob Brenly did their best to get as many guys in the game as they could. All the starting position players played the first three innings, but in the middle third of the game, they bowed out for backups.
In the bottom of the sixth, Torre pulled catcher Jorge Posada, the last remaining AL starting position player. The NL had two starters left at that time: outfielder Vladimir Guerrero and third baseman Scott Rolen. However, Guerrero was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the sixth. Rolen lasted all the way until the top of the eight, when he also departed.
More problematically, the teams had done an impressive job churning through their pitchers. The AL had only nine arms available for the game. They used just three games in five innings, but then guys lasted one inning or fewer. When the AL tied it 7-7, they had just used their sixth pitcher, Kazuhiro Sasaki, but his bad inning of work gave the NL two runs.
So the AL had three pitchers left with the score tied, 7-7. Two of their remaining pitchers were relievers: Ugueth Urbina and Mariano Rivera.
The NL had 10 pitchers available, but after starting pitcher Curt Schilling departed in the second, manager Bob Brenly didn’t let anyone last more than three outs. Also, he went through two relievers in the AL’s four-run seventh inning. The upshot was that when the AL tied the game, Brenly had reliever Robb Nen on the mound with just two more arms left in the bullpen: John Smoltz and Vicente Padilla. Well, Nen just blew the lead, so he wouldn’t come back.
If someone team didn’t score soon, the game would end in a tie.
In the bottom of the eighth, Urbina pitched for the AL. In the top of the ninth, Smoltz retired the AL without incident. A former starting pitcher, Smoltz could conceivably pitch more than one inning, but he was due to bat in the bottom of the ninth, and the NL pulled him for a pinch-hitter.
That pinch-hitter, Benito Santiago, singled off Yankee reliever Rivera in the bottom of the ninth, but he never advanced to second, and the game entered extra innings. AL manager Joe Torre had been willing to use Rivera for more than one inning in postseason appearances, but the stakes weren’t that high here, so Rivera only worked the one inning.
In other words, after nine innings, both teams had just one remaining pitcher: Seattle’s Freddy Garcia and Philadelphia’s Vicente Padilla. Both would last two more innings.
Neither were great pitchers, but then again, by this time it was the second- or even third-line All-Star hitters in the game. Heck, in the 11th both pitchers came to the plate. Each team had run out of possible pinch hitters.
Padilla got to face seven batters in all: Garcia, A.J. Pierzynski, Robert Fick, Johnny Damon, Omar Vizquel, Garret Anderson, and Tony Batista. It wasn’t exactly a Murders Row. Vizquel walked, but no one else got on.
Garcia had to face the following guys: Adam Dunn, Shawn Green, Andruw Jones, Jose Hernandez, Luis Castillo, Mike Lowell, Padilla, and Benito Santiago.
With those hitters, no one could score. Thus, after 11 frames, the game was still tied. Heading into the bottom of the 11th, there was a giant, lengthy meeting between the umpires, managers, and commissioner Selig. The decision was made that the game would end in a tie if neither team scored.
When it was announced, the fans were unhappy and began chanting “Let them play! Let them play!” But the decision had been made. It was an embarrassment for Selig, which is why the rules were soon changed to make the game determine World Series home-field advantage.
Regardless, it was the least satisfying All-Star game of them all, and it happened exactly 10 years ago.
Besides that, many other events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim.
3,000 days since Omar Vizquel joins the 2,000-hit club. He does it in his 2,006th career game.
3,000 days since Jim Edmonds suffers through his worst game ever according to WPA, going 0-for-5 with two whiffs and a GIDP for a –0.406 WPA.
4,000 days since Tampa trades Fred McGriff to the Cubs.
4,000 days since John Olerud hits 200 home runs.
7,000 days since Montreal retires Rusty Staub’s number.
8,000 days since a wild Rangers-White Sox game. Early on, Nolan Ryan plunks Craig Grebeck. It’s retaliation for the last time Chicago faced Ryan and Grebeck and Ozzie Guillen, of all people, hit back-to-back homers off Ryan. Later, White Sox pitcher Greg Hibbard plunks Steve Buchele leading to a bench-clearing brawl.
Nolan Ryan lasts 10 innings, the last time any Texas pitcher has gone that long, and leaves with a Game Score of 101: 10 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, and 15 K. It’s Ryan’s longest game without a walk. (He only has five zero-walk games that last nine innings). Texas wins, 1-0.
Frank Thomas has maybe the worst game of his career, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Teammate Carlton Fisk homers to makes him the all-time White Sox home run leader, and the all-time major league homer king for catchers. (Both marks have since been broken.)
20,000 days since Alfredo Griffin is born.
20,000 days since the Shoe Polish Game in the World Series. Milwaukee tops the Yankees, 7-5 in 10 innings. In bottom top of the tenth with the Yankees leading 5-4, Milwaukee’s Nippy Jones is awarded first base on a hit-by-pitch when he shows the umpire that his shoe polish is on the ball. That kicks off a rally that results in a Braves upset win.
30,000 days since Babe Ruth homers three times in the game and then comes up with a chance for a fourth home run. He decides to get cute and bat right-handed against pitcher Jack Quinn. After two quick strikes, Ruth goes back to left handed but fans anyway.
30,000 days since Max Bishop draws five walks in a game for the second time in his career. He’s the only man ever to do it twice.
1874 Jack Powell, 200 game winner, is born.
1886 Joe Start, one of the best baseball players of his generation, appears in his final game. He's 43 years old.
1894 Baltimore’s Steve Brodie gets six hits in one game.
1895 Pink Hawley, a pitcher who normally had very poor run support, helps his own cause by lacing an inside-the-park home run off Hall of Famer Kid Nichols.
1901 The Pirates win, putting the career record of manager Fred Clarke over .500 (296-295), where it will stay. Though Clarke is rarely thought of as a manager, for a brief spell he was the all-time winningest manager until John McGraw overcame him.
1902 A’s 4, Red Sox 2 (17) in game where Rube Waddell and Bill Dinneen both go the distance.
1904 Iron Man Joe McGinnity wins two games in one day, though in an oddity for him, both wins are in relief, not two complete games.
1912 The White Sox purchase pitcher Eddie Cicotte from the Red Sox. He’ll be a star with Chicago until he’s forced out of the game as one of the Black Sox.
1914 The Red Sox purchase Babe Ruth from Baltimore in the International League for more than $25,000.
1918 Larry Cheney of the Dodgers throws five wild pitches in one game.
1921 Hippo Vaughn plays his last game. It’s just a few years after he was a premier pitcher.
1921 For the only time in his career, Babe Ruth gets eight at-bats in one game. He’s 1-for-8 with an RBI and two whiffs as the Yankees lose, 10-9, to the White Sox.
1921 Pittsburgh's director of public safety, Robert J. Alderdice, says Pirates fans can keep balls hit into the stands.
1922 Burleigh Grimes, Hall of Fame spitballer, allows a leadoff home run for the only time in his career. Max Flack of the Cardinals hits it.
1925 Dazzy Vance becomes the only pitcher ever to club an inside-the-park home run off fellow Hall of Famer Pete Alexander.
1925 Pie Traynor sets a record for third baseman by starting four double plays in one game.
1927 Babe Ruth drives in a personal-best seven runs in one game. He’ll tie that mark three times. In this game, Ruth is 5-for-6 with two doubles and two homers. His 13 total bases in one game also are a personal record (which he tied in his last great game in 1935).
1927 Ted Lyons ties a personal high with his ninth straight quality start. He went 6-3 with 83 IP, 64 H, 28 R, 16 ER, 19 BB, 12 K, and a 1.73 ERA. Only 12 strikeouts! This game was also his 17th straight complete game, but that wasn’t a personal best.
1929 Billy Southworth plays his last game. He’ll become a Hall of Fame manager. (He began his managing career this year, but it won’t take off until the 1940s).
1931 Freddie Lindstrom breaks his ankle sliding into third base.
1932 Ben Chapman of the Yankees hits three homers in a game, two of which were inside the park.
1937 Joe DiMaggio goes 5-for-5 for the only time. He hits for the cycle, with two home runs.
1938 Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Gordon enjoys the first of 22 career multi-home run games.
1940 The first shutout in the All-Star Game: NL wins 4-0.
1943 Bucky Harris manages his 3,000th game. (He’s 1,452-1,522 for his career thus far).
1944 Mel Ott goes 0-for-3 with 3 strikeouts for the only time.
1946 The All-Star Game returns after a one-year wartime hiatus. AL wins, 12-0.
1948 It’s a very belated major league debut for Satchel Paige.
1951 Hall of Famer outfielder Harry Heilmann dies.
1953 Philadelphia relieves starting pitcher Robin Roberts in the eighth inning, ending a streak of 28 consecutive complete games for Roberts.
1954 Red Schoendienst has his longest hitting streak max out at 28 games. He goes 48-for-124 with 11 doubles and three triples in that span.
1955 Arch Ward, the sportswriter who first proposed the All-Star Game, dies.
1955 Willie Wilson is born.
1956 The BBWAA votes 14-12 to establish the Cy Young Award for the best pitcher in baseball each year.
1958 The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Anti-Trust Monopoly has hearings on baseball’s anti-trust exemption. Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle and other baseball figures speak. Stengel gives an extended talk in Stengel-ese gibberish that no one can comprehend. When Mantle testifies immediately afterward, he gets a big laugh by deadpanning, “My views are the same as Casey’s.”
1960 The Dodgers release pitcher Tommy Lasorda. He’ll be back.
1961 Ninth-inning pinch-hit grand slam by Sherm Lollar gives the White Sox a 7-5 win over the Indians.
1961 Cleveland's Willie Kirkland hits three homers and then comes up in the ninth with a chance for immorality by hitting his fourth homer. He takes a pass on that opportunity, and instead lays down a sacrifice bunt. Give him credit of selflessness, but don't give Indians manager Jimmy Dykes credit for strategy.
1965 Frank Howard fans seven times in one doubleheader.
1966 Astroturf is installed in Houston’s outfield.
1967 Dick Allen hits his 100th home run.
1968 NL 1, AL 0, in the lowest scoring All-Star Game ever.
1969 Lou Brock hits his 100th career home run.
1969 Seattle Pilots pitcher Fred Talbot hits a grand slam. In a radio promotion, a listener receives $27,000 for it. As recounted in the book Ball Four, Talbot’s teammates decide to set up a practical joke. They send him a fake telegram from the fan saying he’ll give Talbot $5,000 of his winnings.
1969 Tom Seaver has his would-be perfect game. In the ninth inning, the Cubs' Jim Qualls hits a single for the only baserunner Seaver allows all game. Seaver fans 11 batters in his victory.
1970 Tom Seaver hits his first career home run.
1970 Atlanta’s Chief Nok-a-Homa is joined by his cousin Chief Round-the-Horns. It doesn't take.
1970 Detroit’s Dalton Jones passes a teammate on the bases after hitting a grand slam. He has to settle for a three-run single.
1971 Vida Blue and Rudy May square off in a great pitchers' duel. They both go 11 innings and neither allows a single run. Blue has a Game Score of 100, and May ends at 103, the last time both starters have a Game Score in triple digits, which has never happened again. The A’s top the Angels, 1-0, in 20 innings.
1971 5-foot-3 Freddie Patek hits for the cycle.
1971 Leo Foster of Atlanta has one of the most hellish debuts in history. He commits an error on the first ball hit to him. In his first time at the plate, he hits into a double play. In the seventh inning, he tops that by hitting into a triple play.
1972 Nolan Ryan posts a Game Score of 100 in a one-hitter with 16 strikeouts versus only one walk. The only hit is a first-inning single by Carl Yastrzemski.
1973 The Expos and Reds combine for 25 walks in one game. Montreal wins, 11-6.
1973 Mets honcho M. Donald Grant addresses the team, leading reliever Tug McGraw to declare right afterward, “He’s right! He’s right! Just believe! You gotta believe!” After McGraw convinces Grant he didn’t mean to mock his speech, McGraw’s statement becomes the rally cry for the surprising NL pennant winners.
1976 Reggie Smith collects his 200th career home run.
1976 Houston’s Larry Dierker no-hits the Expos.
1976 Tom Yawkey, Red Sox owner, dies at age 73 of leukemia.
1977 Mario Mendoza, famous for his horrible hitting, has his only walk-off hit: a single off Gene Garber for a 9-8 Pirates win in 12 innings.
1977 Phil Niekro picks off three baserunners in one game.
1985 The Dodgers trade Al Oliver to the Blue Jays.
1986 Dale Murphy takes the day off, ending his streak at 740 consecutive games played.
1988 Chris Speier, of all people, hits for the cycle for the second time.
1988 Nolan Ryan wins his 100th game as an Astro, becoming the seventh pitcher to win 100 or more games for more than one team.
1988 The Rangers release Larry Parrish.
1989 Terry Francona is ejected after an intentional walk. He and umpire Ken Kaiser had an earlier run-in when Francona made a joke when bat splinters hit Kaiser in the throat.
1992 The Rangers fire manager Bobby Valentine.
1995 Chuck Finley allows his first ever grand slam after 1,729.1 innings. It’s the 152nd home run hit off him.
1995 Bud Black plays his last game.
1995 Major league debut: Joe Borowski.
1995 A worker installing lights into the Sky Dome falls 25 feet to his death.
1997 The Royals fire manager Bob Boone.
1998 In Triple-A, Benny Agbayani marries his fiancé at home plate.
1998 Bud Selig finally becomes outright commissioner, not just interim.
1999 The uniform Lou Gehrig wore in his "luckiest man" speech sells for $451,541 at an auction.
2000 Milwaukee’s Tyler Houston smacks three home runs in one game.
2003 The Diamondbacks' all-time franchise record peaks at 82 games over .500 (491-409).
2003 Randall Simon of the Pirates taps the Italian Sausage with his bat in the Sausage Race game. The Italian Sausage falls, taking the Hot Dog down with her. The Polish Sausage helps them, but the Brat keeps motoring on.
2005 After 11 years, Coors Field hosts its first 1-0 game, as the Rockies beat the Padres.
2005 Adam Greenberg makes the most unfortunate major league debut ever. He gets beaned in the face in his first time up, is removed from the game, and never plays in the majors again.
2006 Ruben Sierra plays in his final game.
2007 The Angels release Shea Hillenbrand.
2008 Mark Mulder plays his last game.
2009 Florida overcomes a 7-0 deficit versus the Diamondbacks to win, 14-7. They score 10 runs in the eighth.
2010 The Mariners trade Cliff Lee to the Rangers.
2011 It’s 3,000 hits for Derek Jeter, and he joins the club in style. He goes 5-for-5 for just the second time in his career with a home run for hit No. 3,000 itself.
2011 Ouch! The Padres have a no-hitter going with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against the Dodgers only to allow a double and single for a 1-0 loss. The Padres have one hit all game long themselves. Luke Gregerson, the fourth Padre pitcher on the day, gets the loss. Until the ninth, the only hit was a fifth-inning single by Cameron Maybin. Both starting pitchers are pulled in the game for pinch hitters.
History instructor by day, statnerd by night, Chris Jaffe leads one of the most exciting double lives imaginable; with the exception of every other double life possible to imagine. Despite his lack of comic-book-hero-worthiness, Chris enjoys farting around with this stuff. His new book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers is available for order. Chris welcomes responses to his articles via e-mail.
Read more great baseball stuff at The Hardball Times.