Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for the San Diego Union Tribune, is an employee of the Padres.
Although Interleague Play in the Major Leagues officially began in 1997, there were eight simultaneous "inter-league" games scheduled on July 10, 1945, in lieu of the cancelled All-Star Game.
Yes, for the only time in the history of the event that began in 1933, there was no All-Star Game in '45.
In February of 1945, with World War II still raging in Europe and the Pacific, the U.S. Office of Defense Transportation gave the Major Leagues the approval to play the season, providing all teams reduced their travel by 25 percent from '44.
When it was determined the All-Star Game scheduled for Fenway Park in Boston would require players to travel an estimated 500,000 miles, club owners officially scrubbed the All-Star Game on April 24, 1945 -- the same day that Happy Chandler was elected the new Commissioner -- to help baseball meet the mandated travel reductions.
The end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945, led some baseball executives to believe the All-Star Game might be played. But baseball decided not to ask the Department of Defense for a late approval and decided to go ahead with the plan for eight simultaneous, Interleague games to be played in eight cities in place of the All-Star Games.
Five games were played in two-team cities. The New York Yankees and Giants played at the Polo Grounds. The St. Louis Cardinals and Browns played at Sportsman's Park. The Boston Red Sox and Braves played at Fenway Park. The Philadelphia Phillies and Athletics met at Shibe Park. And the Chicago Cubs and White Sox met at Comiskey Park.
In addition, the Cincinnati Reds travelled to Cleveland to play the Indians and the Brooklyn Dodgers played the Senators in Washington, D.C. The scheduled game between the Detroit Tigers and Pirates in Pittsburgh was canceled.
Because there was not an All-Star Game, there was no selection of National and American league All-Star teams. After the season, The Associated Press polled Major League managers to pick All-Star teams. Ten of the 50 players named had never appeared in a previous All-Star Game and would never play in a future All-Star Game.