Mays led NL to victory in '63 All-Star Game

Win was first of 8 straight, 19 of 20 games for National League

Mays led NL to victory in '63 All-Star Game

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

After four years of "doubleheaders," Major League Baseball returned the All-Star Game to the single-game, Midsummer Classic format in 1963.

Paced by Most Valuable Player Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants, the National League scored a 5-3 victory before 44,160 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium to begin one of the most dominant runs in All-Star Game history.

The 1963 victory was the first of eight straight for the National League, which would win 19 of the next 20 All-Star Games.

Bidding farewell to the All-Star Game was Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals. Musial lined out as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning in his 24th and final All-Star Game. He hit .317 (20-for-63) in All-Star Games with a record six home runs.

The teams exchanged runs in the second and third innings in 1963 before the National League prevailed, despite being out-hit, 11-6, by the American League.

Mays went only 1-for-3 with a walk in the game. He also stole two bases, scored two runs, drove in two runs and made a diving catch of a line drive by Yankees first baseman Joe Pepitone in the eighth. Mays had a hand in each of the first four National League runs.

Mays gave the National League a quick 1-0 lead in the second. He drew a leadoff walk from American League starter Ken McBride of the Los Angeles Angels, stole second and scored on a one-out single by shortstop Dick Groat of the St. Louis Cardinals.

McBride got the run back in the bottom of the inning when he hit for himself and singled off National League starter Jim O'Toole of Cincinnati to drive home Angels teammate Leon Wagner, who had opened the inning with a single.

The National League scored twice in the top of the third. Left fielder Tommy Davis of the Dodgers opened the inning with a single off McBride but was forced out at second on a groundout by right fielder Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves. Aaron advanced to second on a groundout and scored on Mays' single to center.

Mays then stole his second base in as many innings and scored on a single to center by San Francisco catcher Ed Bailey.

The American League again tied the game in the bottom of the third. Angels' center fielder Albie Pearson opened the inning with a double to left-center off National League reliever Larry Jackson of the Cubs. Boston's Frank Malzone drove home Pearson with a single to center, moved to second on a groundout and scored the tying run on a two-out single to center by catcher Earl Battey of the Minnesota Twins.

The National League snapped the tie in the fifth, the decisive run being unearned. Davis drew a leadoff walk from Detroit's Jim Bunning. He reached third when Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson, who had just entered the game, dropped a throw from third baseman Malzone on a potential inning-ending double-play grounder and scored the go-ahead run on a groundout to first by Mays.

The National League added an insurance run in top of the eighth off Boston reliever Dick Radatz. Cardinals' first baseman Bill White drew a walk to open the inning and stole second as Mays struck out. Cubs third baseman Ron Santo drove home White with a single to center.

After getting eight hits in the first four innings against O'Toole and Jackson, American League hitters would be held scoreless on three hits over the final five innings by Ray Culp of the Phillies, Hal Woodeshick of Houston and Don Drysdale of the Dodgers. Woodeschick and Drysdale each worked two innings.

Pearson, Wagner and Baltimore third baseman Brooks Robinson all had two hits for the American League. No one had two hits for the National League.