National League won fourth straight All-Star Game in 1953

Slaughter goes 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored, RBI and great catch

National League won fourth straight All-Star Game in 1953

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

As the 1953 season opened, the Yankees reigned as the best team in baseball as winners of four straight World Series.

But the National League had ended the American League's dominance in the All-Star Game, and the run would continue on July 14, 1953, at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, as the NL scored a 5-1 win to equal the AL's record run of four straight All-Star Game wins (1946-49).

One of the highlights came before the game, as Ted Williams threw out the ceremonial first pitch just four days after being released from duty as a Marine Corps pilot in the Korean War. Williams had been named to the AL team despite his absence for military service, but he did not play.

Although the All-Star Game didn't start naming Most Valuable Players until 1962, St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Enos Slaughter deserved the award in '53. He went 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, two runs scored, an RBI and one of the greatest catches in the history of the Midsummer Classic.

The game was scoreless through the first four innings, as starting pitchers Billy Pierce (AL, Chicago White Sox) and Robin Roberts (NL, Philadelphia Phillies) each allowed one hit.

The NL scored all the runs they needed in the fifth at the expense of Allie Reynolds of the Yankees. The rally started when Reynolds hit Milwaukee Braves third baseman Eddie Mathews with a pitch with one out and walked with two out.

Pinch-hitter Richie Ashburn of the Phillies singled home Mathews to end the scoreless tie, and Brooklyn Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese singled home Slaughter.

Reese made it 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh when he doubled off Cleveland's Mike Garcia with two outs to drive home Slaughter, who had singled and stole second. The NL made it 5-0 in the bottom of the eighth on two-out, RBI singles by Slaughter and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Murry Dickson off Satchel Paige of the St. Louis Browns.

Paige became the oldest player to ever appear in an All-Star Game at the age of 47. A star in the Negro Leagues, Paige had not reached the Major Leagues until the age of 42 -- a year after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier in 1947.

After being blanked over two hitless innings by winning pitcher Warren Spahn of the Braves, followed by two more shutout innings by Curt Simmons of the Phillies, the AL scored its run in the ninth on an RBI single by Chicago White Sox left fielder Minnie Minoso. Former Minor League Padre Minoso had two of the AL's five hits.

Slaughter was not only the NL's offensive leader, he made one of the greatest catches in All-Star Game history. In the top of the sixth, Slaughter tumbled across the right-field foul line after making a diving catch of a line drive hit down the line by Detroit Tigers shortstop Harvey Kuenn.