Great Moments in All-Star Game History: Part 3 (1990-2008)
- Updated: July 15, 2009
Over the last two decades, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game has transformed from being simply a game to being a multi-day extravaganza where the game itself is simply one component. For that reason, the game has at times seemed to be anti-climatic, but has still produced some great memories.
After the National League dominated the competition throughout the 1960s and 1970s, including a stretch of 19 victories in 20 games, the rolls have completely reversed in recent years.
The American League has claimed 17 out of the last 20 meetings and has not lost to the National League since 1996.
In this final installment of the three part series in which we have reminisced about some of the great moments, games and players in All-Star history, we look at the most memorable games of the last two decades.
July 10, 1990 (Wrigley Field, Chicago)
The addition of lights at Wrigley Field allowed for the All-Star Game to be played at the storied venue for the first time since 1962.
The lights came in handy as the game endured 85 minutes worth of rain delays, which made it difficult for either team to develop a rhythm or establish a consistent pitching rotation.
The American League used six pitchers and the National League went through nine hurlers in the contest.
The game was scoreless until a two-run double by Julio Franco gave the AL all the runs they needed in posting a 2-0 victory.
July 12, 1994 (Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh)
In one of the most exciting All-Star Games in recent memory, the lead changed hands five times before the National League pulled out the victory in the 10th inning.
The NL jumped to a 4-1 advantage before the AL stormed back to claim a 7-5 lead entering the bottom of the ninth.
With Lee Smith, with 29 saves prior to the All-Star break, on the mound, the American League seemed poised to claim their fifth straight victory in the series.
However, Fred McGriff blasted a two-run home run to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
In his first All-Star Game, Moises Alou drove home the winning run with a double in the 10th inning to give the NL an 8-7 victory.
Given the excitement of the Midsummer Classic, few could have predicted that just one month later a work stoppage would end the season and deprive fans of the World Series for the first time in 90 years.
July 8, 1997 (Jacobs Field, Cleveland)
Eight American League pitchers allowed the National League only three hits as the Junior Circuit pulled out a 3-1 victory.
Earlier in the inning, Javy Lopez became only the 11th player to hit a home run in his first All-Star Game at bat.
July 7, 1998 (Coors Field, Denver)
It was no surprise that the first All-Star Game played in a stadium known for producing runs would result in the highest scoring game in All-Star history.
A year after his brother earned game MVP honors; Roberto Alomar kept the award in the family as he had three hits, including a home run, to earn the honor.
Alex Rodriguez also homered for the AL and Cal Ripken Jr. drove home two runs.
Barry Bonds hit a home run for the National League and he and his father, Bobby, joined Ken Griffey Jr. and Ken Griffey Sr. as the only father-son combinations to hit home runs in All-Star competition.
July 13, 1999 (Fenway Park, Boston)
The final All-Star Game of the 20th Century is better remembered for the star-studded program prior to the game than actually for the game itself.
Many great Hall of Famers from the history of baseball joined the current All-Stars on the field for a special pre-game ceremony. Red Sox legend Ted Williams received the loudest ovation and was surrounded by current players as he made his way onto the field in a golf cart.
On the field, it was a current Red Sox star that took control of the game. Starting pitcher Pedro Martinez did not allow a hit while registering five strikeouts in two innings on the mound.
The AL scored twice in the first inning as Jim Thome and Cal Ripken Jr. each drove home runs. They also added two runs in the fourth inning to claim the 4-1 victory.
July 10, 2001 (Safeco Field, Seattle)
Few All-Star goodbyes have been as dramatic as the final All-Star appearance of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.
Having previously announced his retirement, Ripken was elected as the starting third baseman. However, when the game started, shortstop Alex Rodriguez encouraged Ripken to switch positions and return to the shortstop spot where he earned 14 of his 19 straight All-Star selections.
In the third inning, Ripken permanently stamped his mark on the game by blasting a solo home run off Chan Ho Park.
July 9, 2002 (Miller Park, Milwaukee)
Over time, the All-Star Game had transformed from being a battle between rival players in the two leagues to an exhibition with the primary mission being to get as many players involved as possible.
That change in philosophy led to a nightmare scenario in 2002 when the game was ultimately declared a tie after 11 innings when both teams ran out of pitchers.
The game opened with excitement as Torii Hunter leaped high above the fence to rob Barry Bonds of what seemed to be a first inning home run. Bonds was not to be denied in the third inning as he blasted a two-run homer.
The NL led 5-2 before the AL rallied with four runs in the top of the seventh to take a 6-5 lead.
However, the advantage would be short-lived as a two-run single by Lance Berkman in the bottom of the inning put the NL back in front.
The final run of the game was scored in the eighth inning when Omar Vizquel tripled home the tying run.
As it turns out, they were relaying to the commissioner that there were no pitchers remaining for either team. Left with no other choice Selig, who ironically had been the owner of the host Milwaukee Brewers before assuming his duties, declared the game a tie.
It was the first time since 1961, when rain ended the game after nine innings that the game ended without a winner.
To make a bad situation even worse, it was decided that no Most Valuable Player Award would be given. That proved particularly embarrassing because the award had recently been renamed to honor the legendary Ted Williams, who had died a week prior to the contest.
Following the tie, several changes were made to increase the competitiveness of the game and ensure that teams would not again run out of players. Additional roster spots were added and, for the first time, the league that won the All-Star Game would receive home-field advantage in the World Series for that season.
July 11, 2006 (PNC Park, Pittsburgh)
The City of Pittsburgh hosted the All-Star Game for the fifth time with new PNC Park serving as a picturesque venue for the Midsummer Classic.
The National League took a 2-1 lead following single runs in the second and third innings. Neither squad could muster another run as the game headed to the ninth inning.
With closer Trevor Hoffman on the mound, the NL appeared poised to break their nine game losing streak to the AL.
The AL then turned to its own super-closer Mariano Rivera and he was able to seal the deal for the American League.
July 15, 2008 (Yankee Stadium, New York City)
In the final All-Star Game to be played at the original Yankee Stadium, the American League continued their dominance of the National League by claiming a one-run victory for the third straight year.
Unlike when the two teams ran out of pitchers after just 11 innings in 2002, both squads were able to make it through 15 innings without repeating that disastrous outcome.
The NL took the early lead with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
The AL tied the score in the seventh on a two-run home run by J.D. Drew.
After each squad scored once in the eighth inning, the game remained tied 3-3 through the 14th inning.
In the bottom of the 15th inning, a sacrifice fly by Michael Young scored Justin Morneau with the deciding run.
Even though the American League has won the last 11 meetings, the National League still holds an overall advantage of 40-37-2 entering the 80th installment of the series at the new Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
It has been a series filled with great performances, dramatic finishes and unexpected moments and there is little doubt that more special memories will be created this year and on into the future.