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One more for the books

One more for the books

NEW YORK -- If history truly repeats itself, then the American League All-Stars may be in trouble when Yankee Stadium hosts the 79th Midsummer Classic in 2008, because the Junior Circuit has lost two of the three previous All-Star Games played in The House That Ruth Built.

Then again, if modern history repeats itself, the AL All-Star squad will walk away victorious, as it has since the 1997 game (with the exception of the 7-7 tie in 2002 at Miller Park in Milwaukee).

Despite what happens in '08, one thing is for sure when it comes to All-Star Games played in the ballpark at 161st Street and River Avenue: future legends will be on display.

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Yankee Stadium played host to its first Midsummer Classic in 1939. Ten Yankees players -- six of which were selected as starters -- joined their skipper and AL manager, Joe McCarthy, for a 3-1 victory over the National League in seventh All-Star Game played.

Yankees pitcher Red Ruffing started the game, and Joe DiMaggio connected for a home run in front of the 62,892 in attendance. Outfielder George Selkirk, third baseman Red Rolfe, pitchers Johnny Murphy and Lefty Gomez, second baseman Joe Gordon, first baseman Lou Gehrig, shortstop Frankie Crosetti and catcher Bill Dickey also suited up for the Bombers.

Officially, it was the second All-Star Game played in New York, because five years earlier, the Polo Grounds hosted the annual event in the Big Apple. The main reason Yankee Stadium welcomed the best players around the country to the Bronx in 1939 was because the World's Fair was being held at Flushing Meadows in Queens that very same year.

Now, fast forward to 1960, when catchers Yogi Berra and Elston Howard, pitchers Whitey Ford and Jim Coates, outfielders Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and first baseman Bill Skowron were honored with All-Star nominations for the Yankees.

The game occurred during the 1959-62 era, when the Midsummer Classic was played in a two-game format. After the AL dropped the first game, 5-3, on July 11 at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, the All-Star squads headed to New York for the second game.

Willie Mays came into the Bronx fresh off a performance in All-Star Game No. 28 in which he was a home run short of the cycle. The results didn't get any better for the AL team in All-Star Game No. 29, as Ford and the Junior Circuit lost, 6-0, at Yankee Stadium on July 13.

Mays finished the two games 6-for-8 at the plate. He even blasted a home run in Game 2, along with teammates Eddie Mathews, Stan Musial and Ken Boyer. Vern Law was the winning pitcher. That game also marked the 18th and final time that Ted Williams would play among the elite players in the Midsummer Classic.

Nearly 20 years later, a new slate of Yankees would take the field in the most recent All-Star Game played at Yankee Stadium in 1977, which came after the stadium's renovation.

Headed by manager Billy Martin, the Yankees were represented by outfielder Reggie Jackson, catcher Thurman Munson, third baseman Graig Nettles, second baseman Willie Randolph and pitcher Sparky Lyle in the 48th All-Star Game.

DiMaggio and Mays attended the game as honorary captains, much to the delight of the 56,683 in attendance. Once again, the NL beat the AL, 7-5, behind the pitching of the game's MVP, Don Sutton.

Future Hall of Famers in that 1977 game who were on the Senior Circuit roster included Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Sutton, Mike Schmidt, Dave Winfield, Tom Seaver, Bruce Sutter and Steve Carlton. Morgan, Steve Garvey and Greg Luzinski homered for the NL.

Future Hall of Famers who were on the Junior Circuit roster included Rod Carew, George Brett, Carl Yastrzemski, Jackson, Carlton Fisk, Jim Palmer, Dennis Eckersley and Nolan Ryan. George Scott homered for the AL.

Caleb Breakey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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