During that time, Chicago was celebrating its Century of Progress Exposition which opened on May 27 and was originally intended to commemorate Chicago’s past, but came to symbolize hope for Chicago’s and America’s future in the midst of the Great Depression. This was baseball’s contribution to the event and it was called “the game of the century.”
Arch Ward was the sports editor for the Chicago Tribune and one of the most important sports journalists at the time, but he was also in many ways a promoter as well. Ward, was the initiator and champion of the All-Star Game arguing that, “baseball needed to show that it was not in a state of decadence.” There had been numerous All-Star exhibition games in the past, but this was the first that officially sanctioned by the two leagues. He tied the baseball all-star game to the Century of Progress Expo with funds raised at the game going into the baseball pension fund.
The AL won that first game, 4-2. The AL team was managed by Connie Mack, the NL by John McGraw. Mack was 70 and had been in the AL for 33 years. He was assisted by Eddie Collins, who had been his head coach with the A’s and was then a Red Sox VP, and Arthur Fletcher, head coach of the Yankees. McGraw who had retired the year before ( a la Tony LaRussa?) was assisted by Dodger manager Max Carey and Bravees manager Bill McKechnie.
The NL first sacker Bill Terry, was the player-manager of the Giants at the time, while Senators manager Joe Cronin was at short for the AL. Each squad consisted of 18 players chosen by the fans and managers.
Here is the box score for that first game, highlighted by Babe Ruth‘s two-run homer:
|Pepper Martin 3B||4||0||0||1||0||1|
|Frankie Frisch 2B||4||1||2||1||0||0|
|Chuck Klein RF||4||0||1||0||0||0|
|Paul Waner RF||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Chick Hafey LF||4||0||1||0||0||0|
|Bill Terry 1B||4||0||2||0||0||0|
|Wally Berger CF||4||0||0||0||0||0|
|Dick Bartell SS||2||0||0||0||0||1|
|Pie Traynor PH||1||0||1||0||0||0|
|Carl Hubbell P||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Tony Cuccinello PH||1||0||0||0||0||1|
|Jimmie Wilson C||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Lefty O’Doul PH||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Gabby Hartnett C||1||0||0||0||0||1|
|Bill Hallahan P||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Lon Warneke P||1||1||1||0||0||0|
|Woody English PH-SS||1||0||0||0||0||0|
2B: P Traynor (1, off L Grove). 3B: L Warneke (1, off G Crowder). HR: F Frisch (1, off G Crowder; 6th inn, 0 on, 2 outs to Deep RF). TB: F Frisch 5; L Warneke 3; P Traynor 2; B Terry 2; C Klein; C Hafey. GIDP: W Berger (1). RBI: P Martin (1); F Frisch (1). 2-out RBI: F Frisch. Team LOB: 5. With RISP: 0 for 5. Fielding DP: 1. D Bartell-F Frisch-B Terry.
|Ben Chapman LF-RF||5||0||1||0||0||1|
|Charlie Gehringer 2B||3||1||0||0||2||0|
|Babe Ruth RF||4||1||2||2||0||2|
|Sam West CF||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Lou Gehrig 1B||2||0||0||0||2||1|
|Al Simmons CF-LF||4||0||1||0||0||0|
|Jimmy Dykes 3B||3||1||2||0||1||0|
|Joe Cronin SS||3||1||1||0||1||0|
|Rick Ferrell C||3||0||0||0||0||0|
|Lefty Gomez P||1||0||1||1||0||0|
|General Crowder P||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Earl Averill PH||1||0||1||1||0||0|
|Lefty Grove P||1||0||0||0||0||0|
HR: B Ruth (1, off B Hallahan; 3rd inn, 1 on, 0 outs to Deep RF). SH: R Ferrell (1, off L Warneke). TB: B Ruth 5; J Dykes 2; J Cronin; B Chapman; L Gomez; A Simmons; E Averill. GIDP: A Simmons (1). RBI: B Ruth 2 (2); E Averill (1); L Gomez (1). 2-out RBI: L Gomez. Team LOB: 10. With RISP: 2 for 10. Fielding DP: 1. J Dykes-L Gehrig. E: L Gehrig (1). Baserunning SB: C Gehringer (1, 2nd base off B Hallahan/J Wilson).
|Bill Hallahan, L (0-1)||2||2||3||3||5||1||1||13.50||13|
|Lefty Gomez, W (1-0)||3||2||0||0||0||1||0|
|Lefty Grove, S (1)||3||3||0||0||0||3||0|
Umpires: HP – Bill Dinneen, 1B – Bill Klem, 2B – Bill McGowan, 3B – Cy Rigler. Time of Game: 2:05. Attendance: 47,595.
Hal Schumacher was the only National Leaguer not used, while the AL held back Tony Lazzeri, Jimmy Foxx, and Bill Dickey, all three future Hall-of-Famers.
The greatest ovation was given to Carl Hubbell, who had pitched 18 scoreless innings the previous Sunday.
Following the game, both Mack and McGraw hoped that the game would be held annually.
McGraw managed while nattily attired in a brown suit and a white sailor hat.
In the postgame celebration, Ruth was described by the AP as “happy as a schoolboy over his feat and his team-mates victory.” “Wasn’t it swell? Didn’t we win?” he asked with a wide grin on his face.”
The game was broadcast over the Columbia (Pat Flanagan and Johnny O’Hara announcers) and NBC (Graham McNamee and Hal Totten announcers) radio networks. The receipts from the game, $51,000 was contributed to the fund that supported retired ballplayers.
The following year, the All-Star Game was played in the National League’s Polo Grounds, with a roster limit expanded to 20 players, with each league providing two umpires, with a National League ball used for the first four and a half innings and the American League ball for the remainder of the game although in this case it simply meant changing labels as 1934 was the first time that both leagues used the same ball.
At the game, a memorial to the late John McGraw was unveiled as the game was coincidentally held on the anniversary of the day that McGraw signed his first contract with the Giants, July 10, 1902. This second All-Star game was managed by Bill Terry and Joe Cronin as Carl Hubbell faced off against Lefty Gomez.
The AL also won this contest but only after Hubbell struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Al Simmons, Joe Cronin and Lefty Gomez, all future HOFers in the first two innings.