Today the 2012 All Star break comes to an end as the Red Sox are right up the road from me in Tampa to begin the second half of Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary season.
As they begin the second half of this historic campaign, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the Ghosts of Red Sox All Stars Past.
The very first Red Sox player to wear a Red Sox uniform in an All Star game was , drum roll please……
Ferrell was the starting catcher on the 1933 American League squad and he batted eighth in a line up that had a couple of guys named Ruth and Gehrig in the third and fourth spots. Coach Eddie Collins was also a member of the team.
The 1933 American League All Stars won that first game, 4-2.
Ferrell went 0-3 with a sacrifice bunt in the inaugural All Star event. When was the last time you saw a sacrifice bunt in an All Star game?
Joe Cronin made nine American League All Star teams as a player and in 1983 he was named the honorary captain of the American League squad.
The first Red Sox player to drive in a run in an All Star game was Joe Cronin. He was the starting shortstop of the 1935 team and he did it without getting a base hit. He hit a sacrifice fly to center field to give the AL a 3-0 lead in a game they won 4-1.
The first Red Sox player to get a base hit in an All Star game was none other than, Jimmie Foxx. It came in the 1936 game at Braves Field in Boston when he pinched hit for Mike Higgins in the sixth inning of the game.
Foxx made six All Star teams while playing for the Red Sox, starting the game in 1938 and ’40’.
In an ironic twist, the man who slugged 534 career home runs, notched the Red Sox first ever All Star hit with an infield single to shortstop.
The first home run hit by a Red Sox player in an All Star game came in 1941. That year may ring a bell with you, some guy hit .406 that year and I’ve heard that it’s the last time a player hit .400 in a season. Well, that very same dude cracked the Red Sox first All Star homer and in that very same year.
Ted’s last All Star home run came in Washington in 1956 off of Warren Spahn.
And I don’t think it will come as any surprise that he did it in pretty dramatic fashion. You see it was the bottom of the ninth inning at the Tigers home in Briggs Stadium. The American League came to bat trailing 5-3. Ted was the clean up hitter that day with some guy named DiMaggio batting in front of him. Now I understand that he had a pretty decent season in 1941 as well, but I digress. Ken Keltner, led off the ninth with a pinch hit single and he was followed by another single by Yankee second baseman Joe Gordon. This brought up Washington Senators third sacker Cecil Travis who walked. The bases were jammed and Joe D strolled to the plate. He hit a ground ball to short which got Travis forced at second but scored Keltner. It was now 5-4, men on first and third and Ted Williams stepped in.
The pitcher was Chicago Cubs right hander Claude Passeau. He delivered a pitch to Williams who proceeded to hit one of the longest home runs anyone had ever seen at Briggs Stadium, hitting the roof top right field facade and giving the AL a 7-5 win.
Ted Williams, played in 18 All Star games and hit four All Star home runs, more than any other Red Sox player.
Some other Red Sox All Star items worthy of note:
The record for most hits in an All Star game is four. Three people have done it and two of them are Red Sox. Ted Williams had two singles and two home runs in the 1946 All Star game at Fenway Park in a 12-0 AL win. Carl Yastrzemski had three singles and a double in a 5-4, 12 inning loss in the 1970 game.
Yaz was voted the 1970 All Star game MVP, the first Red Sox player to garner the honor and the first player to be named MVP in a loss. He made the All Star team 18 times as a player and in 1989 he was named honorary captain of the squad for his 19th All Star showing.
The All Star game MVP Award was instituted in 1962, two years after Ted Williams retired. Since that time, there have been four Red Sox players who have won the award. The first was the aforementioned Yaz. The second was Roger Clemens in 1986.
Roger Clemens started the 1986 All Star game in the Astrodome in Houston. He pitched three innings facing nine batters and getting them all out. He struck out two, left the game leading 2-0 and was the winning pitcher in a 3-2 win. He was the game MVP.
In 1999 Pedro dazzled the nation with a blistering performance at the Fenway Park All Star game.
Pedro started the game, pitched two innings, faced six batters and struck out five of them on his way to the All Star MVP Award.
The fourth, and last, Red Sox player to win the All Star MVP award was right fielder JD Drew.
JD Drew went 2-4 in the 2008 All Star game, including a game tying two run homer in the seventh inning. The AL won the game in 15 innings at Yankee Stadium (the real one).
David Ortiz was the only Red Sox representative in Tuesday nights All Star game. He went 1-2 in an 8-0 shellacking by the National League. Tonight he leads his team into the second half of what has been a shaky season thus far. Let the games begin…..Again…..I think!
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, the first day of the rest of the year.