This Tuesday night the stars of Major League Baseball will gather in Denver's Coors Field for the sport's traditional match-up of the American League's best versus the National League's best.
The All-Star Game's history dates back to Chicago in 1933 where a journalist convinced the league owners to sanction a game between stars from both leagues to be played during the city's Century of Progress Exposition. In that first game the American League defeated the National League 4-2 thanks to a two-run home run and a brilliant defensive play in right field by 38-year-old Babe Ruth.
The AL won the first three games and owned the midsummer classic through 1949, winning 12 of 16. The NL would fight back, however, drawing the series even (17-17-1) in 1964. The NL would see unmatched success from that point on, dominating the AL through the 1985 game. It lost just two games in that 21-year span and increased its series lead to a commanding 36-19.
Lately the American League has put up a better fight, winning eight of the last 12 games including a six-game streak from 1988-93.
In the 1997 All-Star Game, Cleveland catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. broke a 1-1 tie by belting a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh, lifting the American League to a 3-1 victory.
One of baseball's most prestigious awards is the All-Star Game's Most Valuable Player Award. Established in 1962, the award recognizes the game's most outstanding performer. Only Gary Carter, Steve Garvey and Willie Mays have won the award twice.
The Information Please staff has followed the first half of the 1998 season closely and offers its choices for best performances through July 5. See if you agree:
|American League||National League|
|MVP||Juan Gonzalez, Texas||Mark McGwire, St. Louis|
|Best Pitcher||Pedro Martinez, Boston||Greg Maddux, Atlanta|
|Best Rookie||Rolando Arrojo, Tampa Bay||Kerry Wood, Chicago|
|Best Manager||Terry Collins, Anaheim||Bruce Bochy, San Diego|
|Best Team||New York Yankees||Atlanta Braves|
—John Gettings is Assistant Editor, Sports, at Information Please.