Sauer's HR gave NL 3rd straight win in '52 ASG

Game was shortened to five innings because of rain

Sauer's HR gave NL 3rd straight win in '52 ASG

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

With a helping hand from Mother Nature, the National League scored a third straight All-Star Game victory in the 1952 Midsummer Classic at Shibe Park in Philadelphia.

For the first time in All-Star Game history, the event on July 8, 1952, was shortened to five innings due to rain with the NL leading, 3-2.

The NL opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman Jackie Robinson hit a one-out home run to left off American League starting pitcher Vic Raschi of the New York Yankees.

The game remained 1-0 until the top of the fourth, when the AL scored two runs off Bob Rush of the Chicago Cubs.

Pinch-hitter Minnie Minoso of the Chicago White Sox -- who in 1950 had hit .339 with 20 homers and 115 RBIs for the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League -- opened the fourth with a double ahead of a walk drawn by Cleveland Indians third baseman Al Rosen.

With one out, Chicago White Sox first baseman Eddie Robinson singled to right, driving in Minoso with the tying run. Rosen moved to third and scored on an infield single to the right side by Cleveland second baseman Bobby Avila.

With the skies threatening, the NL regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a decisive two-run homer by Chicago Cubs left fielder Hank Sauer off Indians right-hander Bob Lemon.

Sauer's homer onto the roof in left-center came on the first pitch after Lemon hit Cardinals center fielder Stan Musial with a pitch with one out.

The homers by Robinson and Sauer represented two of the three hits the NL had in the game. The AL had five hits.

Phillies left-hander Curt Simmons had the honor of starting the game for the NL in his home park and held the AL scoreless on one hit and one walk with three strikeouts over three innings. Although he allowed two runs on four hits in two innings, Rush was credited with the win.

But the game's top pitching achievement was turned in by a 5-foot-6, 140-pound left-hander of the Philadelphia Athletics. Bobby Shantz entered the game in the bottom of the fifth for the AL and struck out the only three hitters he faced -- first baseman Whitey Lockman of the New York Giants, Robinson and Musial.

The rain not only ended the AL's hopes of winning the game, it stopped Shantz's hopes of tying Carl Hubbell's record of five straight strikeouts in an All-Star Game. Shantz finished the 1952 season with a 24-7 record and a 2.48 ERA to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award.