The Midsummer Classic is a sparkling oasis found halfway through the
grueling 162-game schedule for the majority of Major League Baseball
players, but for a handful of Red Sox this year, it will be just
another day to show off their skills to the world.
This year, six Sox studs were plucked to represent than American League (although Dustin Pedroia has opted out to stay home with his pregnant wife).
In 2008, Boston sent seven players — including manager Terry Francona
— to the All-Star Game behind the enemy lines of Yankee Stadium. Thanks
to the consistent success of the franchise and its immense and
enthralled fan base, the Sox have had the privilege of sending many
representatives to the annual showcase.
Despite going 86 years without a World Series championship, Sox
players always have done a fine job in the annual All-Star Game, dating
back to the Splendid Splinter himself, Ted Williams. In 2002, the year of his death, the MVP of the annual showcase was renamed the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award.
Williams made 18 All-Star Game appearances, and thanks to a 1-for-1
day at the plate in his final All-Star Game in 1960, he was able to
bring his career All-Star batting average up above .300 (to .304) with
four homers, 12 RBIs, 10 runs, a .652 slugging percentage and a 1.091
OPS. In the wake of Ted’s stunning performance on the diamond’s biggest
stage, Boston players have captured the game’s MVP award four times.
Here is a top 10 list of the best All-Star Game performances by members of the Red Sox:
10. Bobby Doerr, July 13, 1943
Not only was Doerr one of just two AL All-Stars to notch
multiple hits in this showdown, his three-run blast to deep left field
in the second inning off Mort Cooper gave the home team the early 3-1 advantage en route to their 5-3 win at Shibe Park in Philadelphia.
9. Jim Rice, July 6, 1983
In the American League’s 13-3 romp over the NL at Comiskey Park in
Chicago, Red Sox left fielder and future Hall of Fame inductee Jim Rice
went 2-for-4 with a solo blast to finish the night with a 1.250
8. J.D. Drew, July 15, 2008
The Red Sox right fielder made every Sox fan smile from ear to
ear with a heroic effort in front of the rival team’s fans at the old
Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Drew’s two-run blast off Cincinnati’s Edinson Volquez
with two outs in the seventh came in his first at-bat of the game and
finally got the AL on the board. Eight innings later, the home team
walked away with a 4-3 win in 15 innings. Drew also smacked a single up
the middle, walked, stole a base and reached on an error en route to
earning the Most Valuable Player Award – the fourth honor in club
history since the award’s inception in 1962.
7. Josh Beckett, July 10, 2007
The Red Sox ace picked up the win in the AL’s 5-4 victory in 2007 by
tossing two innings of one-hit ball. After giving up a leadoff double
to Jose Reyes, Beckett settled down and retired the next six in a row, including strikeouts of Ken Griffey Jr. and Russell Martin.
Although it seemed insignificant at the time, Beckett’s win secured
home-field advantage for the American League that October in the World
Series, when the Red Sox captured their second title in four seasons.
6. Roger Clemens, July 15, 1986
The Rocket got the starting nod in just his third major league
season, and the 23-year-old responded by retiring all nine batters he
faced through the first three innings. Clemens only struck out two
batters (Ryne Sandberg and Darryl Strawberry), but the eventual 1986 Cy Young Award winner also retired Tony Gwynn, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Mike Schmidt, Dale Murphy, Ozzie Smith and Kevin Bass in order. It would be the first and only win of Clemens’ All-Star career.
5. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, July 13, 2004
Manny ripped a two-run shot off Astros hometown hero Roger
Clemens in the top of the first inning at Minute Maid Park to give the
AL an early lead. Then, in the sixth inning, Ortiz spanked a two-run
shot as the visitors went on to win 9-4. This victory also proved to be
very helpful for the Red Sox, who enjoyed home-field advantage in the
World Series later that year, the first time the Sox were crowned
champs in 86 years.
4. Carl Yastrzemski, July 14, 1970
Many fans remember this annual classic at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati as the game in which the Reds’ Pete Rose barreled over Indians catcher Ray Fosse
to score the game-winning run in the 12th inning of the NL’s 5-4
victory. What many tend to overlook is that Yastrzemski went 4-for-6
with a double, an RBI and a run scored. The four hits tied an All-Star
record held by Joe Medwick (1937) and Ted Williams (1946). Not surprisingly, Yaz was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
3. Pedro Martinez, July 13, 1999
In front of his home crowd at Fenway, Pedro struck out Barry Larkin, Larry Walker and Sammy Sosa consecutively in the first inning before also getting slugger Mark McGwire on strikes to lead off the second. Ivan Rodriguez
then broke the K streak by getting on via an error, devastating the Red
Sox faithful. Had Pedro struck out Pudge, he would have tied Carl Hubbell’s 1934 mark in which he struck out, in succession, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin. With the next batter, Jeff Bagwell,
down to two strikes with one out, Pudge took off for second on a steal
attempt but was gunned down moments after Bagwell struck out for the
strike-‘em-out, throw-‘em-out double play to end the frame. For his
two-inning, five-strikeout, no-hit performance at his home ballpark,
Martinez took home the All-Star MVP Award.
2. Ted Williams, July 8, 1941
In just his third season in the bigs, Teddy Ballgame was
already a two-time All-Star. But after going hitless in two at-bats in
his first Midsummer Classic in 1940, Williams made his presence felt in
the 1941 game held at Briggs Stadium in Detroit. Entering the contest,
Williams was hitting .405 and was in the midst of his epic personal
battle for ruler of the AL throne with New York’s Joe DiMaggio,
who was hitting third, just in front of the Boston left fielder in the
AL lineup. After a back-and-forth thriller through the first eight
innings, Williams produced one of the most memorable moments in
All-Star Game history. Stepping into the box with two outs and two on
in the bottom of the ninth with the AL trailing 5-4, Ted smacked a
game-winning, three-run homer off Claude Passeau to
give the AL a 7-5 win. Ted finished that contest 2-for-4 with four RBIs
(all of which came with two outs), a double, a walk and six total
bases. It was his first of four career All-Star homers and his first of
three multiple-hit All-Star Games.
1. Ted Williams, July 9, 1946
The Midsummer Classic was even more special in 1946, as it was
played at Fenway Park following a one-year hiatus due to World War II.
Williams, in his first season back after flying for the Marine Corps,
showed the country that the war didn’t damage his sweet swing one bit.
The Splendid Splinter went 4-for-4 with two homers, five RBIs and 10
total bases and managed to set or tie five All-Star Game records
including most hits, most runs scored and most home runs. Williams also
provided the most exhilarating — and perhaps memorable — moment in
All-Star Game history when he teed off on one of Rip Sewell’s famed “eephus” pitches, driving it into the right-field bullpen for his second home run of the day.
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