Reliving the 1952 All-Star Game at Shibe Park

Reliving the 1952 All-Star Game at Shibe Park

Reliving the 1952 All-Star Game at Shibe Park
Sixty years ago, the 19th annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played in Philadelphia on July 8, with the Phillies hosting the event at Shibe Park.

The National League won, 3-2, in a game halted by rain after five innings. It is the only All-Star Game to be shorted by rain.

Today, news conferences are held to announce the starting pitchers and lineups. Through satellite television and the Internet, the entire world knows and knows quickly. It was a lot different 60 years ago.

"For some reason, I was late getting to the ballpark," recalled Curt Simmons, now 83. "The NL manager was Leo Durocher [Giants] and he was having a team meeting. I walked in the clubhouse and he said, 'Curt, we're going over the hitters. Robbie [Robin Roberts] started two days ago, so you're going to start.'"

As simple as that. Because of rain, there were no pregame festivities and the start was delayed 20 minutes.

"It didn't rain while I was pitching," said Simmons.

He worked three scoreless innings, allowed one hit, one walk and struck out three.

Jackie Robinson (Dodgers) homered in the first inning to give the NL a lead, but the American League came back with two in the top of the fourth. Hank Sauer (Cubs) unloaded a two-run blast over the left-field roof in the NL's at-bat in the fourth, a blast that proved to be the game winner.

The AL was managed by the Yankees' Casey Stengel.

Another Philadelphia favorite, Bobby Shantz, took the mound for the AL in the fifth inning. The diminutive A's left-hander, who would go on to win the league's MVP Award that season, delighted the crowd of 32,785 by striking out Whitey Lockman (Giants), Robinson and Stan Musial (Cardinals). Rain deprived Shantz of a chance to match or break the ASG record of consecutive strikeouts, five, set by Carl Hubbell in the 1934 game.

"Casey never said anything before the game about me pitching. I had no idea," recalled the 86-year-old Shantz. "I guess he put me in because we were in Philadelphia. I remember striking out the side and getting a huge ovation, which was nice. After the game, I learned [Carl] Hubbell had the record, but I didn't have any idea how many he struck out."

Bob Rush (Cubs) won the game after he threw two pitches to outfielder Minnie Minoso (White Sox) in the top of the sixth when home-plate umpire Bill Summers halted play. Following a 56-minute wait, the game was called.

The Phillies had two other players on the team: shortstop Granny Hamner, who started and batted eighth (0-for-1), and Roberts, who didn't pitch. Joining Shantz in representing the A's were first baseman Ferris Fain and shortstop Eddie Joost. Neither got into the game.

Philadelphia has been the scene of three other All-Star Games: 1943 at Shibe Park, the first game to be played at night; and 1976 and '96 at Veterans Stadium.