Shining stars

STEPHEN RIPLEY

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

A s all-star games go, Major League Baseball's midsummer classic is undoubtedly the best.

First of all, the outcome of the game has some meaning, now that the winning league gets home-field advantage in the World Series.

Second, the all-stars actually play defence, unlike their counterparts in basketball and hockey. Sure, a lot of runs can be scored, but that's not because the pitchers are up there tossing softballs.

Most important, though, is the history. The game has been around, in basically the same format, for 75 years. And after all those years and all those players, there's no shortage of special moments etched in our collective memory.

10. 1989: Bo goes ballistic

With his two-sport-star status and "Bo Knows" Nike commercials, a ton of hype surrounded Kansas City Royals outfielder Bo Jackson going into the 1989 all-star game in Anaheim. But Bo lived up to his billing, crushing a 448-foot homer to straight-away centre field and flashing world-class speed in the outfield and on the basepaths en route to a 5-3 American League win.

9. 1987: Rock reigns

Despite being one of baseball's best players for half a decade, Expos left-fielder Tim Raines was virtually unknown outside of Canada. That all changed on July 14, 1987, when Raines earned MVP honours by going 3-for-3 and hitting a triple in the 12th inning to drive in the only runs of an epic pitcher's duel at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

8. 1971: Reg-gie, Reg-gie!

Thirteen years before Robert Redford would star in The Natural, Oakland's Reggie Jackson did his best impression of mythical slugger Roy Hobbs. With the American League behind 3-0 -- and seemingly well on its way to a ninth-straight loss -- Jackson jump-started the comeback with a monstrous, 520-foot blast off Pittsburgh's Dock Ellis. Like Hobbs' climactic homer in The Natural, Jackson's ball slammed into a bank of lights on the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium, showering the field with debris. The AL went on to win 6-4.

7. 1949: Colour barrier broken

Although he made history as the majors' first black player two years earlier, some might argue Jackie Robinson wasn't fully accepted until the fans voted him into the 1949 all-star game at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Robinson, who scored three runs in the 11-7 American League triumph, was joined on the field by fellow racial pioneers Don Newcombe, Roy Campanella and Larry Doby.

6. 1933: Ruth rules

Major League Baseball's first all-star game was played at Chicago's Comiskey Park to celebrate the city's exposition, but George Herman Ruth stole the show. Only two years before his retirement and fatter than Elvis, the Babe nevertheless made a great catch in the outfield and crushed a two-run home run to give the American League its margin of victory.

5. 1957: Frickin' Reds

Something was rotten in the state of Ohio in 1957 when fans elected Cincinnati Reds to fill seven of the eight National League all-star spots. An investigation revealed more than half the votes came from Cincinnati and many of those were from readers of the Cincinnati Enquirer, which had printed pre-marked ballots in the paper and encouraged fans to send them in. Commissioner Ford Frick reacted by taking two Reds off the All-Star roster and taking away the fans' voting rights.

4. 2002: Torii and the tie

The 2002 game at Milwaukee's Miller Park was memorable for two reasons. First was the amazing grab by Minnesota centre-fielder Torii Hunter in the third inning, as he reached over the fence and robbed Barry Bonds of a home run. Hunter's grab cost the National League a run, eventually leading to the other memorable (or infamous) moment, when the game ended in a 7-7 tie after both teams ran out of pitchers in the 11th inning.

3. 1993: Big Unit Ks Kruk

If he wasn't already the most feared pitcher in the game, Seattle's 6-foot-10 fireballer Randy Johnson cemented his reputation in the third inning at Camden Yards. Already a little reluctant to hit against the left-handed giant, Philadelphia's John Kruk was downright petrified after Johnson sailed a 98-mph fastball over his head. For the rest of the at-bat, Kruk practically had one foot in the dugout and both eyes closed, as he flailed meekly at three pitches and ran back to a safe spot on the bench.

2. 1946: Splinter Rips Sewell

In a homecoming of sorts after losing three seasons to the Second World War, Red Sox slugger Ted Williams rose to the occasion at Fenway Park by going 4-for-4 with two homers and five RBI. The Splendid Splinter's second homer came off Pittsburgh's Rip Sewell, whose specialty was the high-arcing "eephus" pitch. When Sewell threw the pitch he would later describe as "the Super Dooper Blooper," Williams brought the Fenway faithful to their feet by clubbing it into the right-field bullpen.

1. 1970: Rose rocks Fosse

In the bottom of the 12th inning at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, Chicago Cubs outfielder Jim Hickman singled up the middle, sending local hero Pete Rose on a collision course with Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse. The fact that it was only an all-star game didn't slow down the man known as Charlie Hustle, as Rose barrelled into Fosse to score the winning run. The force of the collision broke Fosse's collarbone and he was never the same player again.


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