Looking back at the 1957 All-Star Game

Amid ballot controversy, former Padres Minor Leaguer Minoso delivered spectacular performance

Looking back at the 1957 All-Star Game

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

When the starting lineups for the 1956 All-Star Game were announced, questions were raised about how the voting was conducted.

Five members of the Cincinnati Reds were voted in, raising some eyebrows. 

But rumors of ballot stuffing turned into controversy in 1957, when Reds fans clearly rigged the election of starters for the National League All-Star team -- jamming the ballot boxes with pre-marked ballots published in the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper. Cincinnati bars also joined the campaign to get Reds voted into the starting lineup.

An investigation showed that more than half the NL ballots cast came from Cincinnati, resulting in seven Reds being voted into the starting lineup. The only non-Cincinnati player to win a starting spot among the NL position players was St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Stan Musial, who narrowly got the nod over the Reds' George Crowe.

Commissioner Ford Frick stepped in at the eleventh hour and removed Reds outfielders Gus Bell and Wally Post He also decided to strip fans of their right to vote for the All-Star Game starters -- a perk that wasn't returned to the fans until 1970.

Still, five Reds were again in the starting lineup -- catcher Ed Bailey, second baseman Johnny Temple, shortstop Roy McMillan (over Ernie Banks of the Cubs), third baseman Don Hoak (over Eddie Mathews of Milwaukee) and left fielder Frank Robinson.

When the dust settled in a wild ninth inning before 30,693 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, the American League won 6-5 -- after having lost six of the seven previous All-Star Games. 

AL starter Jim Bunning opened the game with three perfect innings, and the AL scored twice in the second off NL starter Curt Simmons of the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Yankees center fielder Mickey Mantle opened that inning with an infield single and moved to second on a walk drawn by Boston Red Sox left fielder Ted Williams. Indians first baseman Vic Wertz then singled to left, driving home Mantle. Lew Burdette replaced Simmons and gave up a two-out, bases-loaded walk to Detroit shortstop Harvey Kuenn -- who was one of only three hitters to reach base over four innings against the Braves' right-hander.

The AL made it 3-0 in the top of the sixth on the efforts of two Yankees. First baseman Bill Skowron doubled with one out off the Phillies' Jack Sanford and scored on a single by Yogi Berra.

The NL then cut its deficit to one run in the bottom of the seventh when Mays and Bailey hit back-to-back, one-out singles and scored on pinch-hitter Bell's double down the left-field foul line off Early Wynn of the Indians.

The AL was ahead 3-2 going into the ninth -- an inning during which both teams scored three times with left fielder Minnie Minoso of the Chicago White Sox starring for the AL with his bat, arm and glove.

The top of the ninth had an unusual start, as AL pitcher Billy Pierce led off and reached first on an infield single against the Dodgers' Clem Labine. Yankees shortstop Gil McDougald then hit a potential double-play grounder that Milwaukee Braves second baseman Red Schoendienst fumbled for an error to put runners on first and second.

White Sox second baseman Nellie Fox moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt in front of a two-run single by Detroit Tigers right fielder Al Kaline. Minoso doubled home Kaline to raise the AL lead to 6-2.

Minoso, a former Padres Minor Leaguer, then secured the win with his defense.

Musial opened the bottom of the ninth by drawing a lead-off walk from Pierce. Mays tripled home Musial, then scored on a subsequent wild pitch by Pierce before pinch-hitter Hank Foiles of the Pirates singled. Bell then drew a walk before Don Mossi of the Indians replaced Pierce.

With one out, Banks singled to left, scoring Foiles. But Bell was thrown out by Minoso trying to advance the tying run to third for the second out. With Banks at second, reliever Bob Grim came in to face pinch-hitter Gil Hodges of the Dodgers.

Hodges hit a line drive to left center that Minoso ran down with a spectacular catch to end the game.

Kaline and Skowron had two hits apiece for the AL. Mays had two hits, scored two runs and had a RBI for the NL.