Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: All-Star Game like blast from past

MLB Notebook: All-Star Game like blast from past

MLB Notebook: All-Star Game like blast from past
A Giants center fielder stealing the show. A future Hall of Famer making his final All-Star appearance and singling as a pinch-hitter. The National League coming away with a shutout victory.

All of these storylines -- so much a part of the 83rd All-Star Game in Kansas City -- were also part of the show more than a half-century ago, when the two leagues met at Yankee Stadium on July 13, 1960, in the second All-Star Game played that year.

Willie Mays batted leadoff for the Senior Circuit that day, and, as was his wont, emerged as the headline attraction. Mays collected three hits in four at-bats: a single in the first, a homer in the third and another single in the eighth. He also stole a base -- becoming the first player in the history of the Midsummer Classic to collect a homer and a steal in a game -- and collected five putouts, helping the NL to a 6-0 victory and its first shutout since 1940.

Perhaps the most meaningful moment for the losing team came in the bottom of the seventh inning, when Ted Williams -- two and a half months away from homering in his last Major League at-bat -- made the final All-Star appearance of his iconic career and singled to right against right-hander Larry Jackson.

Substitute "Melky" for "Mays," add a couple of runs to the NL's tally, insert Chipper Jones for Williams and, magically, 1960 doesn't look all that different from 2012.

All-Star blowout
In Wednesday's 83rd Midsummer Classic, the NL defeated the AL, 8-0. With the outcome, the all-time record has the Senior Circuit ahead, 43-38-2. The NL has won three straight contests.

The NL, using four hits and two walks, scored five runs in the top of the first inning -- the most first-inning runs for a team since the AL tallied six in the top of the first in 2004. The big blow came on a three-run triple from Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval. It was the first bases-loaded triple in All-Star history. Sandoval was the first Giants player with a triple in a Midsummer Classic since Mays in 1960.

The 8-0 victory represented the largest margin in a shutout since the AL blanked the NL, 12-0, in 1946. In that contest, Williams went 4-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs and Bob Feller picked up the win, throwing three scoreless innings on two hits with three strikeouts. Before Wednesday, the most recent time the NL team threw a shutout was in '96.

More Giant performances
The Giants' Melky Cabrera won the game's Most Valuable Player Award. Cabrera, who finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, two RBIs, a single and a homer, was the first San Francisco player to pick up All-Star MVP honors since Bobby Bonds in 1973. Other Giants to win the award (which has been given out since '62): Mays ('63 and '68), Juan Marichal ('65) and Willie McCovey ('69).

NL starter Matt Cain allowed one hit and fanned one in two scoreless innings. He was the seventh Giants pitcher to make a start. The others: Carl Hubbell (1934), Marichal ('65, '67), Vida Blue ('78), Rick Reuschel ('89), Jason Schmidt (2003) and Tim Lincecum ('09).

Cain was awarded the win, making him the first NL starter to record a victory since John Smoltz in 1996. Justin Verlander took the loss, making him the first AL starter since Charles Nagy in '96 to do so. With the victory, Cain also became the first Giants All-Star starter to record a decision.

Young stars
At the age of 19 years and 268 days, Bryce Harper became the second-youngest player to appear in an All-Star Game, and the youngest position player. At the age of 20 years and 338 days, Mike Trout became the 13th youngest. In the top of the fifth, Harper walked in his first plate appearance. In the bottom of the sixth, Trout singled in his first time to the plate.

Youngest Players to Appear in an All-Star Game
Player Age Year Position(s)
Dwight Gooden 19.237 1984 P
Bryce Harper 19.268 2012 PH/LF
Butch Wynegar 20.121 1976 PH
Jerry Walker 20.172 1959 P
Al Kaline 20.205 1955 RF
Johnny Bench 20.215 1968 C
Ivan Rodriguez 20.230 1992 C
Ken Griffey, Jr. 20.231 1990 CF
Bob Feller 20.250 1939 P
Fernando Valenzuela 20.281 1981 P
Frank Robinson 20.314 1956 LF
Claudell Washington 20.318 1975 PR/CF/LF
Mike Trout 20.338 2012 LF
Trout went 1-for-1 with a stolen base and a walk. He was the youngest player since Claudell Washington in 1975 (20 years, 318 days) to collect a hit in an All-Star Game, and the third youngest overall. Al Kaline was 20 years and 205 days old in '55 when he went 1-for-4. Trout was the first player since 2008 to have a hit and a steal in his All-Star debut. In 2008, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and J.D. Drew each did it.

Chipper's farewell
Jones went 1-for-1 with a single. In seven career All-Star Games played, Jones was 6-for-14 (.429) with a home run and an RBI.

At 40 years and 77 days old, Jones tied Mickey Vernon (1958) as the ninth-oldest All-Star to collect a hit. Carlton Fisk, who went 1-for-2 at 43 years and 195 days old in the '91 game, was the oldest. Jones was the oldest All-Star with a hit since Cal Ripken, Jr. was 40 years and 320 days old in 2001.

Here and there
• Ryan Braun became the first All-Star with a double and a triple since George Brett in 1983, and the first NL player to do it since Mike Schmidt in '79. Before Schmidt, the only other two players to do it were the AL's Earl Averill in '34 and the NL's Mays in '60.

• Thirteen different pitchers threw a scoreless inning in Wednesday's contest; only the 2008 Midsummer Classic had more (15), with the 1990 game also having 13.

• Derek Jeter went 1-for-2. Jeter now has 11 career All-Star hits, tying him with Steve Garvey, Ken Griffey Jr. and Ivan Rodriguez for the 11th most in Midsummer Classic history. Mays, with 23, holds the record.

• Justin Verlander (one innings, four hits, five runs, two K's, two walks) was the AL's starter. Verlander was the seventh Tigers pitcher to start a Midsummer Classic. The others: Hal Newhouser (1947), Jim Bunning ('57, '61, '62), Denny McLain ('66), Mark Fidrych ('76), Jack Morris ('81, '85) and Kenny Rogers (2006).

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.