As next Tuesday's All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium approaches, we're moving through the Stew's Most Memorable Memory Tournament: All-Star Edition. (Click on the link for winners of the previous matchups.) No need to freak here, people, it's just a fun way of revisiting some of the top reasons we love the Midsummer Classic so much.
Anyway, continuing the action, here's a faceoff apiece from the Ban Johnson and Gene Budig regionals. Cast your votes below each matchup. Polling for both closes around 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday. If you're trying to follow along, don't worry. We'll be unveiling an updated bracket as soon as all 32 of our All-Star moments are revealed, most likely some time on Friday.
Ban Johnson Regional Matchup2. Robinson, Campanella, Newcombe and Doby break All-Star Game color line
When: July 12, 1949
Where: Ebbets Field, Brooklyn
What Happened?: Two seasons before, Robinson became the majors' first black player in the modern era. It was appropriate, then, that Robinson — along with teammates Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe and Cleveland's Larry Doby — would represent their teams on the Dodgers' home field. Campanella, Newcombe and Doby were reserves, but Robinson was a starter, voted in by a presumably white electorate. The celebration of "America's Pastime," the All-Star Game, had become much more inclusive. The AL won, 11-7, with Joe DiMaggio having a big day coming off the bench. Robinson did his part by scoring three runs.
-- Vs. --7. Maury Wills wins the first MVP award in ASG history
When: July 10, 1962
Where: D.C. Stadium, Washington?
What Happened?: JFK attends — he was only the second president to do so — and he throws out the first pitch. Also, for the first time in the game's history, we have a All-Star MVP. Dodgers infielder Maury Willis won it with his legs, too, signifying the start to the stolen base's golden era in baseball. He entered the game in the sixth as a pinch-runner for Stan Musial, stole second base and scored on a single by Dick Groat. In the eighth, Wills singled to lead off and coying took third — when the ball came in to a cutoff man — on Jim Davenport's short single to left field. Willis then scored on Felipe Alou's sac fly. Wills took the inaugural Arch Ward Trophy (now named for Ted Williams) before also winning the NL MVP in '62. Tom Seaver would say 25 years later, "Lou Brock, along with Maury Wills, are probably the two players most responsible for the biggest change in the game over the last 15 years."
UPDATE: Jackie and Co. win convincingly with 86 percent of the vote.
Gene Budig Regional Matchup3. Arch Ward invents the All-Star Game
When: April, 1933
Where: Chicago, Ill.
What Happened: Somebody, probably more than one somebody, thought of having an All-Star Game for baseball before Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward. Somebody probably would have thought of it if Ward hadn't. But Ward did it. He got it done. He made it happen. He invented it. Every great moment, from Babe Ruth's homer in '33, to you-name-it, owes something to Arch Ward's ingenuity.
How did it come about? Well, as Chicago's "Century of Progress" World's Fair readied itself for the summer of '33, mayor Edward Kelly pined for a sporting event to adjoin the fair. Kelly's wishes were passed to Col. Robert R. McCormick, publisher of the Tribune, and then to Ward. Ward went to AL President Will Harridge (bypassing Kenesaw Landis, baseball's irascible commish) who then went to the owners — many of whom, for their own stubborn, short-sided and incomprehensible reasons, were aghast and against the idea. At first. After sensibilities prevailed, Ward picked the managers, fans voted on the starters (tabulated by the Trib) and voila, here we are 75 years into a great American institution.
-- Vs. --6. Tim Raines' triple breaks up scoreless game in 13th
When: July 14, 1987
Where: Oakland Alameda Coliseum
What happened?: Home runs and ERA's were jumping all over the league. Bash Brothers. The Straw. The Hawk. Hitting, hitting, hitting. Everyone was hitting. Until they got to Oakland, where pitching, pitching, pitching dominated for both sides — starting with the AL's Bret Saberhagen and the NL's Mike Scott — for 12 innings, the longest any game has gone scoreless. Tim Raines, a reserve on the NL squad who was having possibly his best season, went 3-for-3 (his league had eight hits) along with a stolen base. Raines' triple, which pushed across Ozzie Virgil and Hubie Brooks, came against hometown guy Jay Howell. Sid Fernandez picked up the save, and the NL won its 22nd game in 25 attempts.
UPDATE: Arch Ward legs out a close 52-48 percent victory.
- Maury Wills
- Roy Campanella