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St. Louis flooded with All-Star memories

St. Louis flooded with All-Star memories

ST. LOUIS -- The 1966 All-Star Game, the last one to be held in St. Louis, at what was then a brand-new Busch Stadium, was a 2-1 pitchers duel that featured 12 future Hall of Famers. But the thing most talked about from the game was the heat.

Temperatures soared well above 100 degrees for the mid-afternoon game, which was won by the National League on a walk-off single by Maury Wills that scored Tim McCarver from second in the bottom of the 10th.

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The All-Star Game returns to St. Louis on July 14, once again drawn by a new Busch Stadium, one that opened in 2006. And since it will be a night game, it's unlikely that we'll have a repeat of the heat that was seared into memory in 1966. "I don't remember who it was that knocked in the winning run," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre, the starting catcher for the NL in 1966. "I was in the clubhouse at the time because it was so hot.

"It was about 110 or 115 degrees that day. It was really hot. It was one of the hottest days I could remember. I caught seven or eight innings. I remember, even swinging and missing you lost your breath."

An announced crowd of 49,936 saw the game's beginning, but far fewer saw the 10th inning hit that ended it.

"The place was jammed," said Ron Santo, who played the whole game at third base. "But in the third inning, on the third-base side, the box seats were empty because of the heat.

"It was over 100 degrees, but on the field it was 130 degrees. It was unbelievable."

In addition to the 12 future Hall of Famers who were on the NL and AL rosters, two more -- Bob Gibson and Joe Morgan -- were injured and couldn't participate. It was one of the greatest collections of talent on the same field in the game's history.

Sandy Koufax started on the hill for NL squad, which featured a top four in the batting order of Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron and Willie McCovey.

Denny McLain started for the American League and tossed three perfect innings as the AL went up 1-0 when Brooks Robinson scored from third on a wild pitch by Koufax in the second inning. The NL tied it in the fourth when Santo singled home Mays off of the second AL pitcher, Jim Kaat.

In the sixth, the umpires rotated and a new umpire took over behind the plate because the heat was becoming unbearable for all.

After Robinson scored in the second, Koufax, Jim Bunning, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry combined to blank the American League for the next eight innings before the NL's walk-off win in the bottom of the 10th.

The game featured several defensive gems, two by Robinson, who robbed Santo of a pair of hits, first on a liner in the second and then on a grounder in the sixth.

"I remember the heat," said Santo, who also remembered drinking a Coke in between innings because it was so hot that he needed the sugar for his diabetes. "I remember Brooks Robinson made two great plays on balls I hit down the line. That's why he's the best. That was quite a team."

Below is a look at the other three All-Star Games in St. Louis, all played at the Sportsman's Park, home to both the Browns and Cardinals from 1920 until 1953, when the Browns departed for Baltimore and became the Orioles. It remained the home of the Cardinals until Busch Stadium opened in 1966.

July 9, 1957 -- AL 6, NL 5

Cincinnati Reds fans stuffed the ballot boxes and got Reds starters elected at seven of the eight positions that were up for vote. Cardinals first baseman Stan Musial was the only non-Reds player elected to start for the National League, but Commissioner Ford Frick removed two Reds from the starting lineup and inserted Mays and Aaron in their spots.

Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams scored the first two runs for the AL in the second inning to put them ahead, and a single in the sixth by St. Louis native Yogi Berra made it 3-0. The NL came back with two in the seventh on a double by Gus Bell, but the AL added three in the top of the ninth to make it 6-2.

The NL rallied with three of its own in the bottom of the ninth and had the winning run in scoring position, but the AL's Minnie Minoso robbed Gil Hodges of a game-winning hit with a running catch to end the game.

July 13, 1948 -- AL 5, NL 2

The Cardinals' Stan Musial homered in the top of the first inning to give the NL a quick 2-0 lead. Playing in his home ballpark, Musial was a member of the visiting NL squad because the St. Louis Browns served as hosts for the game, which meant the AL was designated as the home team.

Musial's blast was the only offense that the National League could muster despite putting together more hits (eight) than the American League (six). The AL broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth with three runs, with the eventual game-winner coming on a two-run single by Yankees pitcher Vic Raschi.

In addition to his winning hit, Raschi worked three scoreless innings in relief to earn the win for the AL squad, which was missing Joe DiMaggio, Williams and George Kell to injuries. DiMaggio pinch-hit in the fifth and drove in the fifth AL run with a sacrifice fly.

July 9, 1940 -- NL 4, AL 0

Playing in the only All-Star game of his career, the Boston Braves' Max West made it a game to remember. Facing an AL lineup that featured Williams, DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg and Jimmie Foxx, the NL outfielder stole the headlines by launching a three-run home run in the first inning off of AL starter Red Ruffing to make it 3-0.

Then in the top of the second, West injured himself as he crashed into the outfield wall while attempting to catch a double off the bat of Luke Appling and had to be helped from the field.

But his three-run shot was more than enough offense for the NL pitching staff. Five pitchers, including starter Paul Derringer, who was playing in his only All-Star Game as well, combined to toss a three-hit shutout against the vaunted AL lineup.

B.J. Rains 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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