Williams, Feller led AL to 12-0 rout in 1946 All-Star Game

Ted's second HR was legendary blast off Sewell's 'eephus' pitch

Williams, Feller led AL to 12-0 rout in 1946 All-Star Game

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The 1946 All-Star Game at Fenway Park was a time of celebration.

The end of World War II meant that the game's stars had returned from military duty and were on hand for the 13th game in the series after the 1945 edition of the Midsummer Classic scheduled for Fenway Park had been canceled due to war-time travel restrictions.

And two of the biggest names returning from military service -- Ted Williams and Bob Feller -- led the American League to a 12-0 victory before a crowd of 34,906 on July 9.

Cleveland Indians ace Feller, who was the first Major League player to enlist in the military a day after Pearl Harbor, started for the AL and allowed two hits with three strikeouts over three innings. The 27-year-old Feller, who had missed almost all of four seasons while serving in the Navy, was en route to the best season of his career -- a 26-15 record with a 2.18 ERA and 348 strikeouts in 371 1/3 innings.

Detroit's Hal Newhouser followed Feller by allowing a hit with four strikeouts over three innings, and Jack Kramer of the St. Louis Browns finished the game by allowing only one walk with three strikeouts over three hitless innings.

The National League had only five baserunners as the AL won for the ninth time in 13 games.

Meanwhile, San Diego native Williams, of the host Red Sox, had one of the greatest performances in All-Star Game history -- setting or tying five All-Star Game records.

Williams went 4-for-4 with two home runs, five RBIs, four runs scored and a walk. He set records for hits, runs, RBIs and reaching base in an All-Star Game while tying the record with two home runs.

Williams scored the only run the AL needed in the first when he drew a two-out walk and scored on a home run by Yankees right fielder Charlie Keller off NL starter Claude Passeau of the Chicago Cubs.

The first home run by Williams was a fourth-inning drive far over the center-field fence off Kirby Higbe of the Brooklyn Dodgers, but it was Williams' second homer that became part of All-Star Game folklore.

With two on in the bottom of the eighth inning, Williams came to the plate to face Rip Sewell of the Pittsburgh Pirates -- whose forte was the "eephus" pitch, which was lobbed to the plate at a very high angle with a velocity of around 50 mph.

While the "eephus" was not Sewell's only pitch, it was his trademark and used infrequently to get outs.

Facing Sewell for the first time, Williams asked the Pirate to throw him the "eephus" pitch. Sewell obliged, and Williams awkwardly fouled the pitch off. Sewell then challenged Williams with a second "eephus" pitch, and Williams responded by driving it over the wall in right-center for a three-run homer.

It marked the first time that anyone had homered off Sewell's famed "eephus" pitch.

Years later, Williams admitted that when Sewell threw the pitch, he had lunged forward out of the batter's box and hit the ball before it fell across the plate at an extreme angle.

St. Louis Browns shortstop Vern Stephens also had two hits and two RBIs for the AL.